Famous Gamblers in the History of Gambling in Canada

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

A Brief History

On February 23, 1998, The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario was established in the Canadian province of Ontario to regulate the alcohol, gaming, and horse racing sectors in Ontario.  Gambling is one of the oldest activities in Canada. According to history, Canadians learned the art of gambling from settlers and it is believed that the earliest gamblers in Canada used sticks to gamble. Playing cards were introduced in 1497 when John Cabot arrived at Canadian shores.  As a result, Canadians learned how to play a variety of card games including poker and blackjack.  Poker grew popularity in the neighboring United States during the Wild West days and migrated to Canada.  By the 1800s, the government had already started to regulate gambling and people were already betting on horseraces before casinos emerged. The first casino in Canada started in 1989 in Winnipeg. Later on, more casinos were built in Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.

Today, Canadians are free to participate in gambling activities; however, both gamblers and casino operators have to adhere to the country’s gambling laws. One notable development is the increasing number of international online casinos that allow players to play pokies games, blackjack, poker, baccarat, and other online casino games. There are also sports betting sites for Canadians. Generally, the Canadian gambling industry has grown over the years and many Canadians engage in online gambling every day. In this article, we will look at some of the most famous Canadians gamblers in the history of gambling in Canada.

Digging Deeper

David Baazov

David Baazov deserves to be on top of the list because he played an important role in making Canada a famous gambling destination. The famous gambler was born in 1980 and grew up in Montreal. As a gambler, David made his money using business-style strategies. He is famous for developing a computerized poker table at a young age. The best thing about his invention is that it allowed gamblers to play poker without a traditional dealer.  The programmed table has become popular even among New Zealand poker players, and it was only the beginning.

What is more, David’s invention led to the inception of The Star Group Company which was initially known as Amaya before changing the name in 2017. The Start Group is currently one of the best companies for online gamers. The company managed to acquire the online gaming sites PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. Due to his efforts and success in the gambling industry, people called him the King of Online Gaming. Overall, David Baazov deserves to be on our list of famous Canadian gamblers as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the industry.

Evelyn Ng

Evelyn Ng at the 2005 World Series of Poker.  Photograph by flipchip / LasVegasVegas.com.

Evelyn Ng has been a great source of inspiration for Canadian gamblers, because she is a successful gambler in both land-based and online casinos. The famous professional poker player was born in 1975 in Toronto, Canada. Her interest in games started at the age of 14 as a pool player. At the age of 17, Evelyn was already a dealer for poker and blackjack. She then learned how to play poker and even played against aggressive opponents. Evelyn got her first breakthrough in 2003 when she played at WPT ladies’ Night and finished second.

Her prowess in the game of poker helped her get a sponsorship deal from PokerStars and Bodog gaming. Since 2010, she has won more than $375,000. In the course of her career as a professional poker player, Evelyn has defeated many American poker players including Annie Duke Kathy Liebert, and Jennifer Harman. She has also participated in the WSOP Main Event and appeared on TV poker gambling shows. Without a doubt, Evelyn is one of the best female gamblers in Canada.

Michael McDonald

Mike McDonald in 2015.  Photograph by World Poker Tour.

Michael McDonald was born in 1989 and is among the top gamblers in the Canadian online gambling industry. He was the 3rd Canadian player to win more than $10,000,000. Reports also claim that the famous player has won $300,000 playing online games before he reached the legal gambling age in Canada. In addition to being one of the leading online gamblers in Canada and the world at large, McDonald is also one of the best players in live poker tournaments.

Jaime Staples

Both McDonald and Staples represent the new generation of gamblers who have benefited from the online gambling industry in Canada. Staples was born in 1991, which makes him the youngest Canadian gambler on our list of famous gamblers. He has inspired many online gamblers, especially the new generation of people who are more interested in online casino games. According to reports, Staples started playing low-stakes poker games and other casino games before he became a professional gambler. It is said that he has won more than $1,000,000 through online gambling. Staples has also attracted many followers on social media platforms, which means he has the power to influence young players who are interested in online gambling and gaming.

Overall, Canada has produced many successful gamblers and is one of the best gambling destinations for both land and online casino players. The gambling industry is still growing because of the increasing number of online casino sites. You can read this article to learn more about the history of gambling in Canada.

Question for students (and subscribers): Have you ever gambled in Canada?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

If you liked this article and would like to receive notification of new articles, please feel welcome to subscribe to History and Headlines by liking us on Facebook and becoming one of our patrons!

Your readership is much appreciated!

Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Morton, Suzanne.  At Odds: Gambling and Canadians, 1919-1969.  University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division, 2015.

The featured image in this article, a photograph by Taxiarchos228 of Fallsview Casino as seen from above, is free; you can redistribute it and/or modify it according to terms of the Free Art License. You will find a specimen of this license on the Copyleft Attitude site as well as on other sites.


About Author

Abdul Alhazred

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad." "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland