Top 5 Gambling Destinations in Canada
You’ll find some of the world’s most distinguished casinos in Canada, many offering extras like award winning restaurants, spas, entertainment, and shopping. Canada’s land-based casinos have taken a bit of a hit during the pandemic, with many still yet to reopen or return to normal operations.
While Canada’s gaming industry may have taken a hit when it comes to physical casinos and race tracks, its online gaming has taken off thanks to mobile platforms people can utilize from the comfort and safety of their own homes. There’s no doubt Canada’s top casinos will be back better than ever so we thought we’d take a look at some of the top gambling destinations in the Great White North you should check out once restrictions are eased.
Overview of Gambling in Canada
Canada has long experienced gambling both by its indigenous peoples and some of the first European explorers that set foot on its soil. Some researchers say forms of gambling in Canada date back as far as 6000 BC and one such ancient game is slahal which was a gambling game played by the native inhabitants of Canada’s Pacific Northwest Coast region that involved using the bones of animals. The Italian explorer John Cabot would later bring card games to the continent when he made landfall in the 15th century.
Towards the end of the 19th century, all forms of gambling were banned. This blanket ban would only end up lasting about a decade before things like bingo and raffles were once again allowed for charitable causes. As the years went on, laws were amended to allow lotteries to be organized by federal and provincial governments in order to fund various government projects. As Canada neared the end of the 20th century, we saw the various provinces given more gambling rights and the country’s first casino opened in 1989 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Today, almost every Canadian province offer luxurious land-based casinos filled with slot machines and table games, government approved sports betting outlets, and lotteries. Nearly one third of Canadian residents are said to engage in some form of gambling every year. However, more and more gambling is moving to online casinos which can be accessed from smartphones or computers at home.
A number of Canadian provinces operate their own online casinos and although this type of gambling is considered to be a “legal grey area”, it hasn’t yet been made illegal. You can learn more here about the best online casino sites in Canada and get a better understanding of the latest up-to-date information on online gambling. Online casinos allow those that may not live near a Canadian casino the ability to still enjoy a bit of gambling with user-friendly platforms and generous welcome packages simply for signing up to play.
Canada’s indigenous peoples of the First Nations, such as the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory of Quebec, have been able to construct some of the nation’s finest casinos and the gaming profits they receive from the casinos have allowed them to buy back some of their ancestral lands.
Here are Our Picks for the Top Gambling Destinations in Canada
Casino de Montreal – Montreal, Quebec
Located on Notre Dame Island, the Casino de Montreal is Canada’s largest with over 526,000 square feet of gaming floor. Normally open 24/7, the casino is made up of three interconnected buildings and features thousands of slots and well over 100 gaming tables.
There are four restaurants to enjoy including the gourmet buffet Pavillon 67, Ajia which serves up great Thai and Korean cuisine, L’Instant and its delicious burgers and sandwiches, and the fine artistic cuisine of the classy L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. There are also several fun and entertaining bars including the Poker Bar which features live sports on its big screens as well as major poker tournament viewing.
You can also catch a bit of cabaret at The Cabaret du Casino which is equipped with 3D sound installations. The casino also regularly hosts free music performances and comedy shows as well as throwing a killer New Year’s party.
However, one of the casino’s most unique features is The Zone which features 80 multi-game electronic terminals offering up roulette, slot machine games, blackjack, and baccarat. The group-game experience is led by game hosts and helps teach newbie gamblers the basics of various table games. The bets in The Zone are some of the lowest in the casino, making it a great place to start out and enjoy an extended gambling experience.
Montreal Casino: Photo Courtesy of Hedy miguel at Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
River Cree Resort and Casino – Edmonton, Alberta
River Cree Resort and Casino, the first native-owned casino in Alberta, offers up one of the province’s largest casinos. Enjoy over 1,300 slot machines and a smoke-free main casino floor that features blackjack, roulette, three card poker, craps, and ultimate Texas hold’em. They also offer a separate smoke-friendly casino called Embers which delivers a state of the art air ventilation system.
Considered to be the best casino in the Greater Edmonton Area, River Cree also has a range of great restaurants whether you’re in the mood for authentic Italian at Italia, delicious prime rib at Tap 25 Sports Bar, or authentic Cantonese cuisine at Cha Xpress. The resort also hosts a number of concerts and events throughout the year and its full-service hotel provides both guest rooms and luxury suites. Guests can also take advantage of the casino’s free shuttle to West Edmonton Mall which is the largest place to shop in North America.
River Cree Casino: Photo Courtesy of 117Avenue at Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 4.0
Fallsview Casino Resort – Niagara Falls, Ontario
Ontario’s billion dollar Fallsview Casino Resort could not ask for a more scenic location. Perched atop a cliff overlooking the stunning Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls, the casino is one of the most recognized buildings along the Niagara skyline. The world-class casino offers up 200,000 square feet of gaming space featuring 3,000 slot machines that range from 1¢ to $100 plays as well as 130 tables of popular table games.
The resorts luxurious guest rooms and suites provide incredible views of the falls below and The Spa presents the opportunity to relax in a steam room, Jacuzzi, sauna, or indoor pool. There’s also an exceptional fitness room to check out.
There’s plenty of great shopping to be had at The Galleria Shops & Dining, and the dining options are plentiful. Enjoy a fine dining experience as you indulge in authentic Italian at the casino’s CAA/AAA Four Diamond restaurant Ponte Vecchio which takes its name from the famous bridge in Florence. Alternatively, you can sink your teeth into a juicy steak at the 21 Club Steak and Seafood Restaurant which is also a CAA/AAA Four Diamond award winner.
Be entertained by some of music’s finest acts at the casino’s 1,500-seat Avalon Theatre or its 5,000-seat Entertainment Centre. There are also more than 100 wineries to check out in the nearby region along with exceptional golf courses.
Fallsview Casino: Photo Courtesy of Idawriter at Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 3.0
Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino – Windsor, Ontario
Located just across the river from Detroit, Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino has long been an enticing place for U.S. residents to gamble. The majority of U.S. states enforce a 21+ age limit, whereas Ontario allows players as young as 19 to gamble. It is also currently made even more attractive to stay, eat, and enjoy entertainment thanks to a favorable currency exchange rate which helps stretch Americans’ dollars. The casino offers complimentary Wi-Fi on the gaming floor and features a so-called Total Touch system which allows players the ability to order drinks, redeem free play, and view their account balances.
There are eight restaurants to choose from as well as a number of great bars and lounges. The signature restaurant is Neros Steakhouse, however, the Market Buffet and Legends Sports Bar are just as popular.
The 5,000-seat Colosseum Theatre attracts world-famous musicians and comedians and you’ll also want to check out the ARIIUS Nightclub and The Spa by Windsor Arms. The hotel is the only AAA Four Diamond awarded in downtown Windsor and overlooks the beautiful trails that run alongside the Detroit River.
Caesars Windsor Casino: Photo Courtesy of Mike Russell at Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 3.0
Casino Rama – Orillia, Ontario
Known for hosting exclusive world-class sporting and entertainment events, Ontario’s Casino Rama Resort is located just 90 minutes from Toronto. The casino offers up more than 2,000 slots and a wide assortment of gaming tables. Casino Rama is the largest First Nations casino in Canada, run in partnership with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
The 5,000-seat Entertainment Centre hosts big name musicians and The Gathering Place offers a range of retail shops selling clothing, art, jewelry, and more. When it comes to dining, there are a number of unique restaurants to choose from including St. Germain’s which serves up AAA Alberta beef in the form of delicious rib-eyes, tenderloins, porterhouse steaks. Meanwhile, The Willow serves up authentic Cantonese and Canadian-Chinese favorites. There is also a noodle bar and burger bar to grab a quick bite.
The full-service hotel allows all registered guests to enjoy their indoor saltwater pool, Eucalyptus steam room, sauna, hot tub and adult-only fitness facilities. There is also a rooftop patio to catch the sunset. Don’t miss the onsite Balance in Life Spa, which features a wide range of spa treatments.
Casino Rama: Photo Courtesy of P199 at wikimedia commons/ CC BY-SA 3.0