Canada is a sports-crazy country, and with the advent of legal online sports betting, fans can now place bets on their favorite teams and athletes from the comfort of their own homes. Each province is able to regulate sports betting within its borders, and most provinces have some form of sports betting available via provincial lotteries.
The growth of the Canadian sports betting industry is just beginning, however. On April 4, Ontario became the first province to host a competitive sports betting market, with a variety of sportsbooks live including the legacy lottery site Proline as well as TheScore Bet, PointsBet, BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars and BetRivers. More are anticipated to launch soon if they haven’t done so already.
Ontario isn’t the only province expanding either. Alberta also indicated its intent to allow multiple betting providers by releasing an RFP for two retail sportsbooks. The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority announced that it expects online sports betting to debut in summer 2022.
With so many moving pieces in Canadian sports betting, it’s important to keep up with the evolving situation. Read on for the latest information and news about sports betting in Canada.
Is sports betting legal in Canada?
Since the amendment to the Criminal Code in August 2021, Canadians have been able to bet on singlegame sports events. This means that you can now bet on sports events as they happen, just like you would in Las Vegas or other US states.
The amendment to the Criminal Code was significant, as it allowed provinces to decide individually whether they wanted to allow sports wagering and in what forms. This means that different provinces have different laws around sports betting.
Ontario was the first province to open its sports betting market to the public on April 4, 2019. Other provinces, such as Quebec and British Columbia, have since followed suit.
So far, the response to sports betting in Canada has been positive. Many people view it as a way to add excitement to sporting events, and as a way to make some money on the side.
However, it is important to remember that sports betting is not legal in all provinces. Be sure to check the laws in your province before placing any bets.
What’s next for sports betting in Canada?
Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, is now the test case for a competitive sports betting market in the country. Other provinces, like British Columbia and Alberta, are expected to soon follow suit with their own sports betting offerings.
Saskatchewan authorities have announced that they expect online sports betting to launch soon. This is in line with the nationwide trend of increasing interest in sports betting, as more and more people look to place bets on their favorite teams and players.
Whether or not a particular province decides to open its borders to commercial sportsbook operators depends largely on the individual provinces. For the moment, all eyes are on Ontario as the first province to open its borders to commercial sportsbook operators.
Sportsbooks coming to Canada
There are a number of companies who have either shown interest in or appear likely to offer sports betting in Canada, should a provincial market open up. Here are some of the main sportsbooks that have launched in Canada so far.
All of these apps are available only in Ontario at the moment, but it’s likely that other provinces will open up their own markets in the near future. Sports betting is a rapidly growing industry, and it’s likely that more and more companies will enter the Canadian market in the coming years.
- TheScore: TheScore Media is a Canadian media company best known for its sports information platform, TheScore Bet. The company is one of just a few to already receive conditional licensing in Ontario, and executives from theScore frequently express interest in what they describe as their home turf.
- PointsBet: PointsBet is a company that is based out of Australia, but they have been making a big push into the Canadian market. They have been doing this by building an experienced executive team for their Canadian operation. This team includes a former Rogers Communication executive, and a former president of a daily fantasy sports company.
- BetMGM: BetMGM is a top-tier online sportsbook in the United States, and they are now targeting hockey north of the border. They have deals with The Hockey News and Wayne Gretzky, and most recently they signed Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers. BetMGM is available for play in Ontario as of April 4.
- Caesars: Caesars Windsor is one of the most popular casinos in Canada, so it only makes sense that Caesars would want to offer sports betting at this location. Not only would this give customers in Ontario another great reason to visit Caesars Windsor, but it would also help to promote sports betting throughout the entire country.
- BetRivers: Rush Street has a good reputation in the industry and is well known for its online sportsbook product. The company is licensed and regulated in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, so Canadian players can be assured of a safe and fair experience.
- Bet365 is one of the biggest and most well-known online sportsbooks in the world. The company has been operating in the gray market in Canada for some time now, and has recently been approved by Ontario regulators to seek a license in the legal market there. On April 4th, the app officially migrated to the legal market in Ontario.
- FanDuel: Dale Hooper is the new Canadian general manager for FanDuel. He was formerly the CEO and president of Cannabis Compliance Inc, so he has plenty of experience in Canadian regulatory matters. FanDuel Sportsbook is now live and available in Ontario.
- DraftKings: DraftKings Sportsbook is the giant in the world of DFS and sports betting, and they continue to grow and expand their reach. Recently, they announced new agreements with the NFL that will give them even more access to offer their services in Canada.
Canada sports betting law
In August 2021, Canadian lawmakers repealed a law that prevented provinces from allowing singlegame sports wagering. Within months of the new legal environment, every province had launched some sort of retail sports betting product, with many adding a complimentary online option.
Ontario was the first province to launch a commercially competitive online market. The open season in Ontario began in April 2022, and several apps are set to go live in the coming weeks. BetMGM and Caesars are the first of many available for play inside the provincial borders, from Windsor to Fort Severn.
Previously, only a limited version of sports betting was available from provincial lotteries, such as ProLine in Ontario. The Canadian Gaming Association lobbied for more than a decade to alter the country’s sports betting law. The effort finally gained momentum when the US market began to open in 2018.
What C-218 means for Canadian sports betting
C218 is a short and direct piece of legislation that amends paragraph 2074b of the Criminal Code to make it lawful for the government of a province or a person or entity licensed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council of that province to conduct and manage a lottery scheme in the province that involves betting on a race other than a horse race or fight or on a single sport event or athletic contest.
In other words, each provincial government is able to manage its own sports betting industry should it choose to do so. Almost any sport is viable fodder for wagering, the only exception being horse racing, which is separate and falls under its own set of regulations.
The passage of C218 has broad implications for gambling in Canada, as it opens up the possibility for provinces to establish their own sports betting industries. This could lead to increased revenue for provincial governments, as well as more opportunities for Canadian consumers to bet on sports.
Legal sports betting options by province
There are multiple legal betting options available in Canada, each with its own unique features and benefits. Whatever your betting needs may be, there are sure to be options available in Canada that fit the bill.
- Alberta — Western Canada Lottery Corp. (Play Alberta)
- British Columbia — British Columbia Lottery Corp. (Sports Action)
- Quebec — Loto-Québec (Mise-o-Jeu+)
- Saskatchewan/Nunavut, Yukon and Northwest Territories — Western Canada Lottery Corp. (no online option yet)
- Manitoba — Western Canada Lottery Corp. (Play Now)
- New Brunswick — Atlantic Lottery Corp. (ProLine)
- Newfoundland and Labrador — Atlantic Lottery Corp. (ProLine)
- Nova Scotia — Atlantic Lottery Corp. (ProLine)
- Ontario — Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (ProLine Plus) and a variety of commercial operators
- Prince Edward Island — Atlantic Lottery Corp. (ProLine)
Ontario sports betting
Ontario is primed to be the sports betting leader for Canada given how populous it is. The province has more than 38 of Canadas population and would be the fifthlargest US state in front of Pennsylvania. This would give Ontario a significant advantage in terms of revenue from sports betting.
There are already a number of online sports betting sites available in Ontario, and the province is well-positioned to be the top sports betting destination in Canada. With a population of over 13 million, Ontario is home to a significant number of sports fans who are likely to take advantage of sports betting opportunities.
The province has already seen a significant increase in sports betting revenue in recent years, and this is likely to continue as more and more people become aware of the options available to them. Sports betting is a fun and exciting way to add excitement to sporting events, and Ontario is well-positioned to take advantage of this growing trend.
Toronto, the largest city in Ontario, has four professional teams in American sports leagues that are popular for betting:
- MLB — Toronto Blue Jays
- MLS — Toronto FC
- NBA — Toronto Raptors
- NHL — Toronto Maple Leafs
Canada vs. US sports betting
There are many differences between sports betting in the United States and Canada. The most obvious is that in the U.S. it is completely legal to bet on sports, while in Canada it is not. In the U.S., there are many more options when it comes to betting, including online and in person at sportsbooks. In Canada, the only legal way to bet on sports is through provincial lotteries, which offer limited options.
One big difference between the two countries is the way sports betting is regulated. In the U.S., it is regulated by the individual states, while in Canada it is regulated by the federal government. This means that in the U.S. there are many more options for sports betting, while in Canada it is much more restrictive.
Another big difference is the taxes that are applied to sports betting. In the U.S., there is no federal tax on sports betting, while in Canada there is a federal tax of 10%. This means that in the U.S. you keep more of your winnings, while in Canada you will pay more in taxes.
The final big difference between sports betting in the U.S. and Canada is the way the betting is done. In the U.S., you can bet on any sport, at any time, while in Canada there are restrictions on what sports you can bet on and when you can bet on them.
Overall, the differences between sports betting in the U.S. and Canada are significant. The biggest difference is the legality of sports betting, with the U.S. being much more liberal than Canada. The other major differences are in the way the betting is done and the taxes that are applied.
Most popular sports to wager on in Canada
Talking about popular sports in Canada without mentioning hockey would be pointless, as hockey is the most popular sport in the country. Additionally, there are seven National Hockey League teams based in Canada:
- Calgary Flames
- Edmonton Oilers
- Ottawa Senators
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Vancouver Canucks
- Winnipeg Jets
- Montreal Canadiens
Hockey may be Canada’s national sport, but football is definitely king when it comes to sports betting. The National Football League (NFL) is extremely popular in Canada, and it’s likely to see the most bets across any sport.
The Canadian Football League (CFL) is also popular, but it’s no match for the NFL. According to a January 2020 blog from Mintel, a quarter of Canadians follow the NFL, while only six percent follow the CFL.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the NFL’s popularity in the United States. The NFL is by far the most popular professional sports league in the US, and it’s no different in Canada.
So if you’re looking to place a bet on some football action, the NFL is the place to be.