StatsCAN Plus

What are the chances?

September 2, 2022, 11:00 a.m. (EDT)

The odds of winning the lottery are highly remote. Take Lotto 6/49 as an example. There are almost 14 million different number combinations in every ticket, so the probability of you winning the jackpot are 14 million to 1. The chances of a Canadian buying a lottery ticket, however, are much higher.

In 2018, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly two-thirds (64%) of Canadians aged 15 and older reported gambling at least once in the past year. While most Canadians who gambled did so without harm, close to 2% were at moderate-to-severe risk of gambling-related problems.

Games of pure chance were the most popular forms of gambling in 2018, with 55% of Canadians buying a raffle ticket and 48% playing the lottery in the past year.

Speaking of chance, statistics resembles gambling in one way, in that both deal in probabilities.

While games of chance are exactly that, chance, calculating statistical probabilities is a refined science that requires a lot more than plucking random numbers out of a drum.

Take our gambling data as an example. We did not ask 31.4 million Canadians aged 12 and older to tell us about their gambling habits in 2018. That would take an enormous amount of money and effort and unnecessarily burden millions of Canadian households.

Instead, we asked a representative sample of Canadians living in the provinces if they gambled, how often and which activities—and almost three in five responded. Those 26,648 responses in 2018 were then extrapolated to arrive at a number for the Canadian provinces as a whole, broken down by various characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity, income, and so on.

The best part about our gambling data is that the results rest entirely upon you. Whatever choices you make will contribute to the overall rates of gambling in Canada.

To learn more about gambling, and to find out where you land in the gambling spectrum in Canada, check out:

Gambling in Canada — an infographic featuring key numbers.

The Daily release “Who gambles and who experiences gambling problems in Canada” provides a brief written synopsis of the full report highlighting key data findings.

The Insights on Canadian Society analytical study, “Who gambles and who experiences gambling problems in Canada,” discusses the survey findings in full, including the methodology used to gather and analyze the data, and features analytical text, five data tables and one chart.

Contact information

For more information, contact the Statistical Information Service (toll-free 1-800-263-1136514-283-8300; or Media Relations (