Sports betting in Canada is getting a serious upgrade thanks to legislation passed in August 2021. This legalization enables bettors to place single bets on sports which shakes the sports wagering landscape since, prior to these new laws, bettors were only allowed to place wagers on parlays run by provincial lotteries. This also gives bettors options as most Provinces will allow big-name sportsbooks such as DraftKings, FanDuel and more to enter the Canadian sportsbook market.
Prior to legalization, the large majority of bets were placed on shady offshore betting sites. According to the Canadian Gaming Association, only about 3.4 percent of annual gaming revenue came from legal betting through provincial lotteries. The legalization of single-game sports betting should push bettors back to legal sportsbooks, which will generate revenue for the provinces in Canada.
Where Can I Legally Bet on Sports in Canada?
Canada is made up of 10 provinces, with Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia as the biggest markets for sports betting. There are also the Prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) and the Atlantic provinces (Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick). Canada has three territories: Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories, which are regulated under the same umbrella as the Prairie provinces.
Sports betting in Ontario is currently run through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLGC). In the past, Bettors were only able to place parlay wagers through OLGC’s sports betting branch called ProLine. As of August 27th, they can place single bets online with ProLine+. Ontario has several retail casinos which can become locations for physical sportsbooks, such as Caesars Windsor and Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort.
The province currently allows limited online sports betting, but will be the first province to go live with several prominent sportsbooks likely entering the fray, such as DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, BetRivers, PointsBet and Caesars. The launch date for private operators is April 4, 2022.
Sports betting in Quebec is run through Loto Quebec, which oversees all gaming within the province. Bettors can use the Loto Quebec Mise-O-Jeu app to place bets. As of August 27th, 2021, Quebec residents can now place single-game wagers.
Casino de Montreal will open a retail sportsbook in the near future, where bettors can place wagers in person. Quebec also allows limited online sports betting. We’ll see big-name sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, and many more start to become operational in Quebec in the near future.
Residents of British Columbia can place single-game wagers as of August 27th, 2021. Sports betting is regulated by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC). The province currently allows for limited online sports betting. Bettors can go online to PlayNow Sportsbook, which is operated by the BCLC.
They can also place wagers in person about an hour outside of Vancouver at PlayNow Sportsbook in New Westminster, British Columbia was one of the provinces to get a head start on sports betting, along with Ontario. The province allowed single-game wagers on the same day that they were legalized. We could see more sportsbooks set up shop in the province in the near future.
Sports betting is regulated by the Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC) in the Prairie provinces (Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan), as well as the three territories (Nunavut, Yukon, Northwest Territories). Regulated online sports betting has been launched in Alberta via Play Alberta, which is run by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis.
At first, residents in Saskatchewan could only place parlays at selected retailers offered by the WCLC. However, they have recently launched Sports Select, a platform through WCLC in November 2021, where bettors can place single-game wagers. This came following an agreement with the provincial government and the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA).
It is expected that Saskatchewan bettors can place online wagers in the summer of 2022. Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories residents can also place in-person bets at Sports Select retail locations.
Manitoba offers sports betting online through British Columbia’s PlayNow platform. Bettors can now place single-game wagers there.
Sports betting in the Atlantic Provinces is run by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC). Single-game wagering is now live in New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island. Bettors can place wagers online through ProLine Stadium. Single-game betting became operational in Nova Scotia on February 11, 2022, making them the last province to legalize this bet type.
Legal vs. Offshore Betting Sites
While Canadian bettors wait for more sportsbooks to enter the fray, they should stick to the online sports betting provided by the provincial government rather than resorting to offshore sportsbooks.
Pros of Legal Betting Sites in Canada
- Promotions: Legal online sportsbooks have a wide array of promotional offerings right from the start to help you build your bankroll.
- Trustworthy: You can trust that your funds with a betting site run by the provincial government will be kept safe and secure.
- Support: These websites provide timely and efficient customer support.
- Fair: The legal betting sites in Canada provide fair odds to put you in a better position to succeed.
- Diversity: You can place bets at retail locations and online. There are also several familiar deposit and withdrawal methods that you use every day such as credit cards, PayPal, bank transfers, and more!
Cons of Offshore Betting Accounts
- Shady: Offshore betting accounts can be shady with inefficient customer support and delayed (if ever) withdrawal processing.
- Odds: The odds can be pricier than what you’ll find on other sportsbooks
- Promotions: Offshore sportsbooks don’t offer many useful promotions
- Benefits: Betting on offshore accounts does not generate revenue for your province
Best Sports Betting Sites Coming to Canada
We can expect to see some prominent players in the sports betting industry coming to Canada with the legalization of single sports bets. Some of the notable names are PointsBet, FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, Hard Rock, BetMGM, theScore Bet, and BetRivers.
The sportsbook from the “land down under" has already brought their exciting PointsBetting system to the US and are looking to move North into Canada via an announced partnership with Curling Canada. PointsBet offers the most robust list of promotional offers and of course their PointsBetting which is essentially a spread bet on steroids. Be sure the check them out when they make landfall in your Province.
Many Canadian bettors have already been playing DFS with FanDuel, and the transition to sports betting will be an easy decision once they go live. FanDuel is a top-ranked online sports betting site in the US and for good reason.
Plenty of betting options, a full slate of odds boosts and other promos, and one of the most perfectly designed sportsbook apps on the market. FanDuel has named former Rogers Communications executive Dale Hooper as the general manager of the sportsbook’s Canadian operation.
DraftKings is a member of the Canadian Gaming Association. DraftKings amended its agreement with the NFL to allow for NFL branding and content in Canada. In the US, DraftKings Online Sportsbook is often in a race for the top spot against rival FanDuel and also offers some of the best promos in the business. DraftKings has a large selection of wagering options and betting markets from the most common NHL and MLB to some more niche sports like table tennis and handball.
Caesars is a member of the Canadian Gaming Association. It has a casino in Windsor, Ontario. It will be coming to the province soon. With the 2021 acquisition of William Hill, Caesars Sportsbook shows its dedication to competing with all the big names in the industry and looks to cater to both the casual bettor and high rollers. Caesars has stated that they won’t turn down any action, no matter how big, and have plenty of betting options to back it up.
Hard Rock is a member of the Canadian Gaming Association. It has casinos in Vancouver and Ottawa (opening soon). Their online sportsbook is adequate but has been slowly improving over the years since going live in 2019. Hard Rock will look to leverage their strong customer base in Canada but may struggle to compete with some of the bigger operators.
BetMGM has signed deals with The Hockey News and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. MGM International plans to open a casino in Calgary, Alberta which will surely feature an MGM retail sportsbook.
Established in 2019, BetMGM Sportsbook is one of the top online sportsbooks in the US market, mostly thanks to a strong customer base from retail gaming, plenty of promotions, and a strong new player bonus offer. BetMGM should be a force to be reckoned with in the Canadian market and look for them to be among the first to launch once Canada allows outside sportsbooks.
theScore is originally based out of Toronto and will be starting operations in Canada in the near future. They will likely be counting on being a hometown sportsbook to drive customer engagement, but have had challenges establishing a foothold in the US market.
theScore is an established brand in Canada and will have a chance to become one of the most popular sportsbooks in the country when they open in Ontario in April 2022.
BetRivers Online Sportsbook holds their own in a sea of bigtime online sportsbook, and do so by offering a ton of betting options, great new user promotion and a top-notch VIP program for frequent bettors.
BetRivers is usually among the first to go live in new markets and have already shown interest in doing the same in Canada. BetRivers launched a free-play sportsbook and online casino in Canada to generate interest for when the real-money operations begin in Ontario in April 2022.
Lottery Run Parlay betting in Canada
There has been an established parlay betting system that is regulated by provincial lotteries. Bettors can place wagers on these parlays at retail locations. With the legalization of single-game bets, these provincial lotteries have already started providing online betting opportunities, which include single bets.
An example of this is with ProLine+ in Ontario. It’s likely that we’ll see the future of sports betting in Canada vary from province to province. Some provinces, like Ontario, will have an open market, while others, like Nova Scotia, could just settle on having an expanded version of the current lottery system.
How to Choose the Best Sportsbook in Canada
When looking for the best online sportsbook in Canada, you have to consider the following factors:
- Betting Selection: It’s important that your sportsbook provides you with a comprehensive selection of betting markets and bet types. You want to be able to bet on anything from straight bets to player props.
- Odds: In the short term, a small deviation in the lines or odds may seem to be a small factor, but over time, line shopping among several sportsbooks will help you lock in more profits and minimize losses. Check out our odds comparison tool for all the best lines on every matchup before placing your bets.
- Promotions: Many sportsbooks offer useful promotions that help put users in a better position to succeed. Some of these include odds boosts, which increases your potential payout and parlay insurance, which reimburses you for parlays that lose by one.
- Bonuses: You need to also check to see which welcome bonuses are provided by your sportsbook. First deposit bonuses are when the sportsbook matches your first deposit up to a certain amount. Risk-free bets are when your first bet is reimbursed if it loses, up to a maximum amount. These bonuses help you on your path to success in sports betting.
Promotions and Rewards
There are several useful promotions available at online sportsbooks, such as:
- First Deposit Bonuses: The sportsbook matches your first deposit up to a certain amount, usually between $100 and $1,000. There will be some type of wagering requirements attached, but this is the best way to potentially double your bankroll right from the start.
- Odds Boosts: Selected games are given odds boosts for higher payouts. For example, the Toronto Blue Jays may be boosted from +120 to +140 to beat the New York Yankees.
- Parlay Insurance: You are paid back a certain percentage on your parlay if only one game loses, depending on how many legs are in your parlay. For example, if you win four out of five on your parlay, you will be reimbursed in free bets or site credit.
- Risk-Free Bets: Your first bet is reimbursed in site credit or free bets if it loses. This amount usually varies from $100 to $5,000.
- Free Bets: The sportsbook provides you with free bet credits as a loyalty reward for experienced customers. These are usually only permitted to be used on certain marquee events, like Sunday Night Football.
Betting Options and Features
There are several different betting options to choose from. You’ll find a brief summary of each below:
- Straight Bet: When you bet on a single outcome. In order to win, your desired outcome must be correct.
- Parlays: When you bet on two or more outcomes. You must get each correct in order to win. You win more money depending on how many outcomes are in your parlay.
- Moneyline: Moneylines are the most basic of bets, where you are betting on who is going to win the match. Each game is assigned a moneyline for the favorite (more likely to win) and underdog (less likely to win). If you bet on the favourite, you risk more than your payout. If you bet on the underdog, you win more than you risk.
- Point Spread: Each game is assigned a point spread, which is a projected winning margin. If you bet on the favorite, they must win by more than the assigned margin. If you bet on the underdog, they can win outright or lose by fewer than the winning margin.
- Total: Each game is assigned a total. If you bet on the Over, the combined score must exceed the total. If you bet on the Under, there must be fewer points scored than the assigned total.
- Props: This is when you bet on specific outcomes within a game. It can also involve individual players. An example of this is if you bet on Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors to score more than 20 points.
- Live Bets: Live bets are when you bet on an outcome after the game has already started. The odds are updated in real-time, depending on what is happening in the game.
- Futures: Futures are when you bet on an outcome that will settle in the future, usually by the end of the season. For example, a futures bet on the Toronto Blue Jays could be for them to win the World Series.
Here are some of the most popular payment (both deposit and withdrawal) options with sports betting in Canada:
- Credit/Debit Card: You can use your credit or debit card to deposit funds. Restrictions may apply, depending on your bank.
- InstaDebit: InstaDebit offers secure bank-based payment. You just need to set up an account.
- iDebit: iDebit also provides a secure bank-based payment.
- Apple Pay: A bank-based payment where you can link your credit card or bank account to your Apple ID.
- Paysafecard: Pre-paid online payment method independent of bank account and credit card.
- ecoPayz: An eWallet that can be used to receive and send money worldwide.
- PayPal: Another eWallet that can be used to receive and send money worldwide.
- Wire Transfer: Send a wire transfer to the sportsbook.
Desktop versus Mobile
Desktop sports betting allows you to see the information displayed on a larger screen, rather than within a menu. It’s also easier to research information on your bets while using a desktop. The problem here is that it does not offer the convenience provided by mobile apps.
Mobile apps allow you to place a wager while on the go. Sportsbooks are creating user-friendly apps that make their information easily accessible. Mobile betting is perfect for live betting, which requires you to act quickly before play resumes in a given game.
Both betting methods are preferred over in-person betting, but mobile betting is the way of the future and more than 80% of bets placed in the US market are placed via a mobile app.
Sports You Can Bet On
There are several sports that you can bet on in Canada, including but not limited to:
- Mixed Martial Arts
- Auto Racing
- Horse Racing
- Aussie Rules Football
- College Sports
Are There Any Online Betting Restrictions in Canada
Canadians were required to place parlay bets of at least two or more outcomes. These were conducted at retail locations and run by the provincial lotteries. Once single bets were legalized, they were then permitted in every province and territory, but some got started later than others, like Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.
Bettors in Saskatchewan, Nunavut, Yukon, and Northwest Territories must place in-person wagers. You must be 19 years of age or older to place a bet in Canada.
Future of Sports Betting in Canada
Single bets were legalized in August 2021. This has set the wheels in motion for more sportsbooks to become operational in Canada. We can project sportsbooks like theScoreBet, DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, Hard Rock, and BetMGM to join soon, starting with Ontario because it’s the largest market with the fewest restrictions. They are expected to enter the fray in Ontario on April 4, 2022.
We have seen every province and territory besides Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia allow single bets immediately. The latter two provinces have now allowed single-game bets, with Saskatchewan expected to expand online in the summer of 2022. Lottery-based sportsbooks have gotten a head start because they have already launched online sites for bettors to place wagers, which include single bets.
This can help the lottery-based sportsbooks retain some customers, even when the larger sportsbooks enter the country. The future of sports betting in Canada looks bright. Gone are the days when you had to place parlays at convenience stores. It’s an exciting time to be a sports bettor in Canada!