It should be no surprise to anyone that gaming is big business, nor that the market has become incredibly diverse in recent years.
Globally, its impact is continually assessed and discussed, with hundreds of billions of dollars involved and major economic forces at work. But what kind of contribution does this industry make to Canada specifically and how might this change going forward?
Online gambling growth
Although the legislation surrounding the domestic operation of online gambling sites can be tricky, with differences existing at a provincial level rather than a national one, the explosion in popularity of this pastime amongst Canadian citizens over the past decade has been significant.
With annual revenues exceeding $6 billion, it is safe to see why this industry is becoming increasingly important from an economic perspective. Sites like Casumo casino Canada are paving the way with cutting edge services that are accessible nationally, and although players who win are not liable to income tax on their windfall, the operators themselves do have to comply with taxation laws and adhere to regulations.
If current trends continue, growth of online gambling as a niche of the wider online gaming market is all but guaranteed for the foreseeable future.
E-sports enters the mainstream
Gambling is of course just one part of what the industry offers today, with e-sports being another offshoot that is gaining traction at the moment.
While its global market size of around $1.2 billion makes it smaller from a purely financial perspective, the e-sports craze which is catching on thanks to streaming platforms like Twitch and competitive titles like Fortnite is impossible to ignore for its wider economic and cultural relevance.
At the moment, Canada’s highest earning e-sports star has taken home over $2 million in his career playing Dota 2, while the aforementioned Fortnite has helped to net Canadian player Zayt, real name Williams Aubin, over $1 million in a relatively short timeframe.
It is not just the earnings of high profile players that make a difference; there is a whole ecosystem of sponsorship deals, merchandising and most importantly hardware sales that go into stimulating this particular economic niche.
The more audiences for e-sports grow in Canada, the more advertising money will be ploughed into the industry as businesses seek to engage directly with that all-important 24-35 year old target demographic. With viewers skewing younger by the year and a generation of kids growing up with the concept of watching others play online games professionally, it is easy to imagine that e-sports will be even more economically significant in Canada five or ten years down the line.
Perhaps unsurprisingly there is a likelihood that online gambling and e-sports will be more closely conjoined as time goes by, since the playing of videogames as a competitive, professional career path is very similar to more traditional sports and the trajectory these have taken in the past century.
For as long as there have been competitions between two or more individuals in almost any field, there have been those eager to watch and wager on the outcome.
Where the lines blur even further is in the context of online game scenarios where players can bet on themselves. This is sometimes made possible through integrated feature, but more often achieved through third party platforms that piggyback on popular titles.
Obvious concerns about how online gaming will introduce kids to gambling at an inappropriately young age have been voiced, but that does not change the fact that the proliferation of digital tools for gaming and gambling alike is already making its mark in Canada and boosting the public coffers at the same time.
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