The Canadian gambling scene is relatively young, with over two decades of legal operation. However, gambling has been a staple of Canadian society, especially in the vibrant city of Montreal. The history of gambling in Montreal stretches back to the 18th Century. This heritage earned the city its pioneer status in the Canadian gambling industry.
But how did gambling become part of Montreal’s entertainment fabric? Read on to learn more about the history of gambling in Montreal, including its remarkable milestones.
The Advent of Gambling in Montreal
The debut of gambling in Montreal stems back to the initial days of the city’s establishment. As Montreal became a commercial melting point, gambling became a popular social pastime activity.
The early forms of gambling were typically chance games, like dice and stick gambling. But, the arrival of European settlers in the 18th Century was a game-changer in the Montreal gambling setting. These settlers introduced new gambling markets, including horse racing and card games.
Gambling in Montreal became the go-to leisure activity in the 19th Century. The rise of gambling in the city saw homes and public venues like pubs host casual gambling games. One remarkable gambling venue in Montreal during this period is the Montreal Casino. This establishment operated between 1832 and 1837 as an entertainment hub for enthusiasts to enjoy casino games.
But the gambling scene featured illegal activities like smuggling. The Canadian government approved the first gambling legislation in 1892. Since then, the business has seen some adjustments and limitations.
The Montreal Gambling Scene During the Prohibition Period
The prohibition era at the onset of the 20th Century had massive implications for the Montreal gambling industry. Prohibition laws restricted the production, sale, and consumption of alcoholic drinks in Montreal.
Alcohol consumption was parallel to gambling activities. So, the prohibition-era laws affected the Montreal gambling scene. The laws curtailed the operation of gambling establishments in the city.
But, gambling activities didn’t disappear from the city during prohibition. Although gambling venues faced difficulties, illegal gambling continued to thrive secretly. So, the prohibition era inadvertently contributed to the development of illegal gambling activities in Montreal.
Expansion of Gambling in Montreal in the 20th Century
The repeal of prohibition in the 1920s resulted in a change in attitudes about gambling, which led to its proliferation. Various notable milestones in the Montreal gambling industry earmarked this period,
Here are the remarkable milestones of Gambling in Montreal in the 20th Century:
The Arrival of Lottery Games (1969)
In 1969 the Canadian government introduced legal lottery gaming nationwide. This arrival marked a significant breakthrough in the country’s gambling industry. This legalization brought a new form of gambling in Montreal, attracting more gamers. The formation of the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation made way for fan-favourite lotteries like the 6/49 and Lotto Max.
Rise of Cercles and Illegal Gambling (60s-70s)
Illegal gambling businesses called “cercles” flourished in Montreal during the 1960s and 1970s. These secretive casinos were alternative gateways for gamers seeking entertainment and gambling. The public linked these venues to organized crime. But they played a crucial part in the development of Montreal’s gambling scene at the time.
Government Regulation (1983)
To mitigate the proliferation of illegal gambling establishments, the Quebec government embarked on creating a regulatory framework for gambling in the 80s. This effort bore fruit in 1983 following the establishment of the Quebec Alcohol, Racing, and Gaming Commission.
The fundamental goal of the commission was to develop a transparent and controlled gambling environment. This landscape was vital in safeguarding the interests of gamers and operators. Government regulation offered stability to the Montreal gaming scene, fostering the expansion of regulated gambling enterprises.
Introduction of Slot Machines (1994)
The advent of slot machines in 1994 signified an explosion of gaming opportunities. It provided a new element of thrill to Montreal’s gambling opportunities. Slot machines added a novel level of convenience and instant gratification to gambling. This accessibility established a thriving and eclectic gambling environment for avid players.
Legalization of Online Gambling (2010)
The Montreal gambling scene finally went live in 2010, following the legalization of online casinos on 26th January of the same year. The Société des loteries du Québec regulates online casinos in the city.
Legalizing online gambling opened doors to online casino sites, allowing gamblers in Montreal to enjoy top casino and video games from leading developers in the industry. But with the influx of online casino sites came a challenge; finding the best gambling platforms.
Predatory sites lurk on the edges looking to exploit unsuspecting players with complex jargon around bonuses plus restrictive terms. Others are outright unlicensed. Luckily, there are some trustworthy casino sites as well that are licensed by international gaming authorities.
Contemporary Gambling in Montreal
The contemporary gambling landscape in Montreal continues to thrive, thanks to technological advancements. Notably, online gaming has spearheaded the development of gambling in the city. It offers hassle-free convenience and accessibility to gamers in Montreal. Such developments cement Montreal’s status as a popular gambling destination in Canada.