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A Guide to Professional Gambling in Canada

Posted on: March 7, 2024. Last updated on: July 11, 2024 professional gambling

Discover the world of professional gambling in Canada. We’ll explore different types of gambling like casinos and online platforms. Professional gambling is all about using strategies to win consistently. We’ll also talk about what it means to be a professional gambler and how to become one in Canada.

Historical Perspective

Let’s take a look at how gambling started in Canada. From the early days when settlers played games to today’s diverse options, it’s been quite a journey. People’s thoughts about gambling have changed over time, with some periods of approval and others of criticism.

Important moments in this history include the 1960s when lotteries became legal, allowing new types of games. In 1985, provinces got the power to make gambling rules. These events shaped how gambling looks today in Canada. Understanding this history helps us see how things have changed over the years and the circumstances shaping professional gambling today.

Professional Gambling – What Are the Requirements?

To be considered a professional gambler in Canada, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) looks for individuals who:

  • Treat their gambling activities as a business.
  • Rely on gambling as their primary source of income.
  • Use skill and expert knowledge to secure consistent and long-term profits.

Key traits indicating professional gambling status may include:

  • Demonstrating proof of consistent and long-term profit.
  • Dedicating extensive time to pursuing profits.
  • Traveling frequently for tournaments.
  • Maintaining detailed records of wins, losses, and expenses.
  • Running a gambling operation as a business.
  • Taking classes or consulting with experts to improve skills and strategies.

Tax Implications

Professional gamblers in Canada are subject to taxation on their profits, typically ranging from 15% to 33%. They can also deduct gambling losses and claim business expenses such as entry fees and travel costs.

Challenges of Professional Gambling

If you’re trying to make a living by gambling in Canada, here are some important things to consider:

  • Rules Change: The laws about gambling can be different in each province, so you need to keep up with what’s allowed where you are.
  • Money Matters: Dealing with the money you make from gambling can be tough because banks might not like it and make it hard for you to use your money.
  • What Others Think: Some people might not like the idea of you being a professional gambler, so you should be ready for what others might say about your job choice.
  • Taxes: You have to make sure you’re following the rules about paying taxes on your gambling earnings. It’s smart to get help from someone who knows about money stuff.
  • Money Management: Being good at handling your money is super important when you gamble for a living. You have to be careful about how much you spend and save.

How to Start Gambling Professionally in Canada

Becoming a professional gambler in Canada involves several key steps:

  1. Understand the Risks: Recognize that gambling comes with uncertainties, and turning professional doesn’t ensure consistent profits. Acknowledging and managing risks is crucial.
  2. Develop Skills and Strategies: Concentrate on skill-based games like poker or blackjack. Dedicate time to learn rules, practice, and refine your abilities.
  3. Bankroll Management: Effectively handle your gambling funds by setting and adhering to a budget. Avoid chasing losses and practice disciplined bankroll management.
  4. Legal Considerations: Know the legal gambling age in your province and comply with regulations. Professional gambling should always align with legal frameworks.
  5. Specialize and Focus: Excel in specific games or areas of gambling. Focusing on a niche enhances your chances of success.
  6. Learn from Others: Seek advice from experienced gamblers, engage in forums, and join communities where professionals share insights. Learning from others is instrumental in skill refinement.
  7. Keep Detailed Records: Maintain accurate records of wins, losses, and expenses. This is essential for financial management and tax reporting if pursuing professional gambling as a business.
  8. Consider Professional Advice: Consult financial and legal professionals to understand tax implications and legal aspects of professional gambling in Canada. Personalized guidance is crucial.
  9. Build a Network: Connect with fellow professional gamblers to exchange ideas and experiences. Networking provides valuable support and insights.
  10. Stay Informed: Stay updated on industry trends, game variations, and any changes in gambling laws and regulations in Canada.

Remember, professional gambling demands skill, discipline, and a clear understanding of associated risks. Approach it responsibly within the legal boundaries set by Canadian authorities.

Pros and Cons of Being a Professional Gambler

Here are the main benefits and drawbacks of a gambling career in Canada:


  • Financial Freedom: If you’re good at professional gambling, you can make a lot of money, giving you financial freedom and independence.
  • Freedom to Choose: Professional gamblers often have the freedom to decide when to work and which games to play, giving them more control over their schedules.
  • Being Recognized: Doing well in the gambling world can bring recognition and respect from others, giving a sense of accomplishment within the community.


  • Money Challenges: Sometimes, professional gamblers can lose a lot of money, especially when things get unpredictable or don’t go as planned.
  • Feeling Stressed: The pressure to always do well and handle uncertainties can make professional gamblers feel stressed and emotional.
  • Dealing with Rules: Even if you’re successful, there can be legal issues and rules changing, making it important to always be careful and ready to adjust.

Top 5 Canadian Professional Gamblers

Canadian gambling professionals, particularly in poker, are globally recognized for their skills. They stand out among the best, contributing to a strong Canadian presence in international gambling activities.

Daniel Negreanu

  • What He’s Done: Daniel Negreanu is a famous poker player from Toronto. He’s won six World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets and two World Poker Tour (WPT) titles.
  • How He Does It: Negreanu is known for being really good at poker strategy and understanding what his opponents might do. He’s been successful because he knows a lot about how poker works and can read people well.
  • His Journey: Even though he’s faced challenges, Negreanu has stayed flexible and keeps learning. This has helped him stay successful in professional poker for a long time.

Mike “Timex” McDonald

  • What He’s Done: Mike McDonald, from Waterloo, Ontario, made a name for himself in online poker. He became one of the youngest players to win a European Poker Tour (EPT) title.
  • How He Does It: McDonald’s success comes from being really good at thinking through the game. He uses math and smart decision-making to beat his opponents.
  • His Journey: His story shows how online poker can offer opportunities. It also highlights the importance of being skilled and disciplined with managing money.

Haralabos “Bob” Voulgaris

  • Haralabos Voulgaris is a professional sports bettor known for making big money in NBA betting, thanks to his insights into basketball analytics.
  • Voulgaris is recognized for understanding how players perform and using stats to make smart bets. He relies on data to get an advantage in sports betting.
  • Voulgaris talks about the need to adapt strategies to changes in sports and the difficulties of staying ahead in a constantly changing betting world.

Evelyn Ng

  • Born in 1975 in Toronto, Ng has established herself as a skilled poker player with total live earnings of $377,191 and a notable best live cash amounting to $73,230. Her achievements contribute to her ranking on the All-Time Money List.
  • In addition to her poker career, Ng is a former professional poker player, gamer, and Twitch streamer.
  • Evelyn Ng is a successful poker player because she started playing early, plays aggressively, is versatile and adaptable, and consistently performs well in tournaments. These qualities have earned her respect in the professional poker community.

Guy Laliberté

  • Guy Laliberté is a professional poker player. He’s well-known in the professional gambling world,, where he has shown his skills and achieved success.
  • Laliberté’s career is diverse, covering entrepreneurship, performance arts, and professional gambling.
  • He is widely recognized for co-founding Cirque du Soleil, an acrobatic troupe that has achieved immense success worldwide, further highlighting his many talents and accomplishments.

The Future of Professional Gambling in Canada

Things are looking good for professional gambling in Canada. The industry is growing and getting more exciting with new options like esports, fantasy leagues, and social and cloud gaming. Companies are especially eager to join the Ontario gambling market, making the casino scene more dynamic. Canada has rules that let each province control online gambling and issue licenses for different types of gambling. This flexibility means there’s a diverse range of gambling options, making it interesting for both players and those who make a living from gambling.

Overall, the future seems bright for professional gambling in Canada, with more opportunities, new games, and companies showing interest in the market. It’s a space that’s growing and evolving, which could mean good things for professional gamblers.


How do I qualify as a professional gambler in Canada?

To be a professional gambler in Canada, you need to make most of your money from gambling and treat it like a job. It means consistently trying to make a profit over time.

What happens if I report gambling winnings as a job in Canada?

If you treat gambling like a job in Canada, you need to report your winnings as business income. You can also deduct expenses related to your gambling, but it can be tricky. It’s best to talk to a tax expert for advice.

Which casino games do professional gamblers like?

Professional gamblers often prefer games like poker and blackjack where skill matters. They might also focus on games that match what they’re good at and have strategies to win.

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