Canada Sports Betting

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Ontario sports betting is now live. Canada’s sports betting market is set to grow exponentially in 2022 with the arrival of major US sportsbooks such as BetMGM and Caesars. Ontario is the first province to launch–it launched on April 4, 2022.  

Best Canada Sports Betting Sites Now Live In Ontario!

  1. DraftKings Canada Sportsbook >> More details here in Ontario
  2. BetMGM Canada Sportsbook >> More details here in Ontario
  3. Caesars Canada Sportsbook >> More details here in Ontario
  4. BetRivers Canada Sportsbook >> More details here in Ontario

While all eyes are on the Ontario launch, provincials sportsbooks in Canada established new records for Super Bowl betting. Super Bowl LVI was the first Super Bowl to take place after the passage of Bill C-218, which allowed single-game wagers in Canada. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC), and the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) all took record handles from Super Bowl 56.

In Nova Scotia, ALC’s PRO•LINE set new records for handle, profit, online revenue, and active bettors on Super Bowl Sunday. Nova Scotia became the final province to offer single-game bets just two days before the Super Bowl.

In British Columbia, more than 70,000 bets were placed on BCLC’s PlayNow platform, with a handle of approximately $2.1 million. That mark more than doubled the amount wagered on last year’s Super Bowl featuring Tampa Bay and Kansas City.

Provincial sportsbooks should enjoy their records while they can. Starting with the launch in Ontario on April 4, the Canadian sports betting industry has undergone a seismic shift with major US sportsbooks grabbing a majority of the market share.

BetMGM is operating in Ontario with both its online sportsbook and other iGaming products, like online casino and poker.

But Great Canadian Gaming, the company with the largest share of Ontario’s casino market, issued a report that warned Ontario Premier Doug Ford that the province stands to lose $550 million in annual revenue for a total of $2.8 billion over the next five years with an open gambling market. The report cited lower taxes on sportsbooks and an exodus of bettors moving from playing at casinos to online.

Not everybody agrees, of course.

“When the regulated market opens in Ontario, nothing is going to change in respect to players’ entertainment habits,” said Jeffrey Haas, senior vice-president of DraftKings Inc.

Individual provinces in Canada will need to set up a licensing, legal, and regulatory framework before they can launch. Ontario’s recent launch will likely set the standard for other provinces to follow, and it’s expected to produce the largest share of Canada’s sports betting market. 

Here’s what bettors need to know about the changing Canadian market. 

Canadian Single-Event Sports Betting Legalization

C-218, Canada’s sports betting bill, passed all three readings in the senate and became law last June. This huge development brought single-event sports wagering to Canada, opening up the industry like never before. Due to the booming sports betting industry in the United States, Canadian political parties have been motivated to grow their own sports betting industry. 

Now that sports betting is officially live in Ontario, we can begin to track the changes in the province and what revenue will look like for Canada.

Latest Canada Sports Betting Updates

  • September 1, 2022:

    Ontario, Canada regulators approved Bet99 to become a legalized online gaming operator within the province. Bet99 is well-known because of their partnerships with the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews.

  • August 30, 2022:

    Ontario released their first market report since the province legalized online gaming. Operators took CAD$4.1 billion in wagers throughout the second quarter of 2022. This is most similar to Connecticut’s handle in the United States.

  • May 20, 2022:

    DraftKings launches sportsbook and casino apps in Ontario.

  • April 4, 2022:

    Sports betting is now live in Ontario! BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook are among the first apps to launch.

  • March 9, 2022:

    The NHL and Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. announced a multi-year partnership that marks the NHL’s first sports-betting partnership in Canada. OLG becomes an NHL partner for sports betting on both its Proline+ digital sports platform and the new Proline product at retail lottery outlets across Ontario.

  • February 16, 2022:

    Provincials sportsbooks in Canada established new records for Super Bowl betting. This was the first Super Bowl to take place after the passage of Bill C-218, which allowed single-game wagers in Canada.

  • February 11, 2022:

    Nova Scotia has become the last province in Canada to launch single-game sports betting, two days before Super Bowl 56.

  • February 7, 2022:

    OLG and PROLINE+ announced an agreement with the NFL to become an official retail lottery and sportsbook partner of the league in Ontario and the NFL’s first official sportsbook partner in Canada.

  • January 28, 2022:

    iGaming Ontario announces Ontario is set to launch sports betting by April 4, 2022, making it the first Canadian province to do so.

Canada Online Sports Betting Options 

The sports betting market in Canada exploded in 2022 with the influx of major US sportsbooks such as BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook. Ontario is the first province to launch on April 4, 2022.  

Ontario is expected to produce the largest share of Canada’s sports betting market. It will also be contending some of the biggest US markets in the wake of New York’s January 2022 launch. The news of Ontario’s launch date came as a relief to industry stakeholders in the province. 

Each Canadian province offers a sports betting option through their government lottery organization. They’re limited to different types of single-event and parlay bets. So, Canadians have a limited choice in operators and sports wagers. It’s not a surprise that much of their betting money is floating in offshore betting that’s in a legal gray area. Here are the provinces’ current sports betting options:

ProvinceLottery Organization and/or RegulatorPrimary Sports Betting Offerings
AlbertaAlberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis
Western Canada Lottery Corporation
PlayAlberta - Online - Single-event wagering
Sport Select - Hybrid - Single-event wagering
PRO-Line - Retail - 3-6 line parlays
British ColumbiaBritish Columbia Lottery OrganizationPlayNow Sports - Online - Single-event wagering
Sports Action - Retail - 2-6 line parlays
ManitobaWestern Canada Lottery CorporationPlayNow Sports - Online - Single-event wagering
Sport Select - Hybrid - Single-event wagering
PRO-Line - Retail - 3-6 line parlays
New BrunswickAtlantic Lottery CorporationProline Stadium - Single-event wagering
PRO-LINE - 2-8 line parlays, Single event wagers that include multiple outcomes
Newfoundland and LabradorAtlantic Lottery CorporationProline Stadium - Single-event wagering
PRO-LINE - 2-8 line parlays, Single event wagers that include multiple outcomes
Nova ScotiaAtlantic Lottery CorporationPRO-LINE - 2-8 line parlays, Single event wagers that include multiple outcomes
OntarioOntario Lottery & Gaming Corp. PROLINE+ - Online - Single-event wagering
PRO-Line - Retail - 3-6 line parlays
Prince Edward Island Atlantic Lottery CorporationProline Stadium - Single-event wagering
PRO-LINE - 2-8 line parlays, Single event wagers that include multiple outcomes
QuebecLoto QuebecMise-o-jeu+ - Online - Single-event wagering
Mise-o-jeu - Retail - 2-8 line parlays
Saskatchewan Western Canada Lottery CorporationSport Select - Single-event wagering
PRO-Line - 3-6 line parlays
Northwest TerritoriesWestern Canada Lottery CorporationSport Select - Single-event wagering
PRO-Line - 3-6 line parlays
NunavutWestern Canada Lottery CorporationSport Select - Single-event wagering
PRO-Line - 3-6 line parlays
YukonWestern Canada Lottery CorporationSport Select - Single-event wagering
PRO-Line - 3-6 line parlays

Let’s answer the simple question of “Is sports betting available online in Canada?” It depends on the province. Ontario and Quebec offer online platforms that are completely available on a desktop or laptop devices. Some locations, such as provinces in Atlantic Canada and Saskatchewan, can fill out a betting slip online but must place it at a retail location.

How To Place A Bet In Canada 

In the United States, the first step in placing a bet would be deciding which sportsbook to choose. American sportsbooks use competitive welcome offers to entice first-time bettors. Lottery organizations offer limited bonuses on their sportsbook platforms. They generally don’t match the welcome bonuses or promotions that commercial sportsbooks can provide.

Actually Placing The Bet

Placing a bet is also inconvenient. Bettors start at one of the websites where PRO-Line is offered. Or PRO-LINE for lucky Prince Edward Islanders. Bettors can make their selections online, then email their betslips to themselves. After that, they have to visit a retail location to complete the wager and collect winnings. Adding that retail step should make bettors welcome the overhaul that’s hopefully coming to Canada.  

Sports Betting In A Mature Market 

In the United States, bettors have many sportsbooks to choose from. Some sportsbooks offer competitive odds on favorites, others on underdogs, and others have unpredictable odds trends. The welcome offers add additional considerations for bettors shopping across sportsbooks.

From there, bettors create accounts that link their identities to their sportsbook accounts. That way, bettors can securely deposit their funds and receive their winnings all online. When Canadian sports betting reform becomes a reality starting in April 2022, this is the streamlined betting process Canadians could look forward to.   

Why Bet At Legal Licensed Sportsbooks? 

Sticking to licensed sportsbooks means choosing a safe service with clear and transparent regulations. Canadian sportsbooks are subject to intense scrutiny and stringent license requirements that maximize bettor safety.

Conversely, illegal, unlicensed, and offshore sportsbooks don’t have to conform to Canada’s sports betting regulations. These sportsbooks can let security slip and compromise bettor information.

Canada Sports Betting Revenue 

Limited sports betting options have driven bettors to unregulated sites and offshore sportsbooks. The proof is in Canada’s fancy polymer dollars. One team of gaming lawyers found that Canada’s bettors spent their money as follows: 

  • $10 million per year to illegal sportsbooks. 
  • $4 million per year to offshore sportsbooks. 
  • $500 million per year to legal Canadian sportsbooks. 

Ouch. Canada’s outdated sports betting model is driving billions of dollars away from Canada’s legal gaming market.  

What A Competitive Canada Means For The United States 

Most of our coverage has focused on the strong sports betting industry emerging in the United States. Competition between states like New York and New Jersey has even been entertaining; however, adding a competitive Canadian sports betting industry will attract bettors from northern states that are slow to legalize sports betting. For example, seven states have northern borders contiguous to Canada:

  • Idaho 
  • North Dakota 
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • Vermont
  • Maine

These states still haven’t legalized sports betting, and residents living near the Canadian border will be able to cross over to place sports bets. It won’t work as well with Wisconsin. It’s tucked into Michigan, which has a particularly competitive sports betting industry.

But Canada could draw bettors away from the other five states. Even if those states legalized sports betting and brought it online, Canada could still siphon bettors away. If Canada attracts major sportsbooks first, it can strain northern states’ efforts to create their own competitive sports betting markets. 

Sports Betting Canada Reformed: Pros And Cons 

The drawbacks to Canada’s current sports betting system are clear. However, even a perfectly reformed Canadian sports betting industry wouldn’t be perfect. Here are some pros and cons that bettors should be aware of. 

Pros: Redirected Revenue 

We’ve already seen how much money Canada’s legal sports betting industry loses to unlicensed competitors. Offering sports betting options that Canadians actually want will bring Canadians back into the legal sports betting industry. That renewed interest in Canadian sports betting will become revenue that Canadian businesses will get to enjoy.

That will translate further to income taxes that Canadian businesses pay. It’ll be a revenue boost and offer better sports betting services to Canadians. Combined with the customers it could get from across the border, it could be a win-win for everybody. 

Cons: Cannibalization Can Go Both Ways 

The new sports betting industry will be like a shiny new toy in Canada. It’ll be off to a roaring start and draw some American bettors too; however, some American markets could still attract Canadians. Michigan allows online casinos and already has a thriving sports betting market.

While Canada is getting its sportsbooks online, some southern Canadians will still be drawn to nearby American markets. New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire are the current major American markets near the American border. If Canada gets a slow start to sports betting, part of that reason will likely be competition from these markets. 

Legalization Effort In Canada

C-218, Canada’s sports betting bill, passed all three readings in the senate and became law in June 2021. This seismic shift will eventually bring single-event sports wagering to Canada, opening up the industry like never before. Due to the booming sports betting industry in the United States, Canadian political parties have been motivated to grow their own sports betting industry. Though C-218 has passed, Canada’s provinces still need to pass their own laws and establish rules that will govern sports betting.

Timeline Of Canadian Sports Betting 

  • 1969 – Canada legalizes government-run lotteries and licensed charitable lotteries. These prove profitable and momentum builds for new lucrative gambling ventures. 
  • 1985 – The government can now run video gaming devices. With a monopoly, the government made First Nations peoples operating gambling under government authority. This is also the year parlay bets become the only legal sports wagers. 
  • 2015-2016 – Two sports betting bills fail to pass. Sports betting remains limited to parlay bets. 
  • 2020 – The Liberal party introduced its sports betting bill, C-13. It was similar to C-218, except for its protections of pari-mutuel horse racing. After C-218 added horse racing protections, it made gains in the House and pulled well ahead of C-13. At this point, sports betting will get its long-awaited reform, be delayed a year, or fail again.
  • 2021 – C-218, Canada’s sports betting bill, passed all three readings in the senate and became law in June.
  • January 2022 – iGaming Ontario announces Ontario is set to launch sports betting by April 4, 2022, making it the first Canadian province to do so.
  • April 2022 – Sports betting goes live in Ontario.

Canadian Professional Sports Teams

Canadian sports teams have been eagerly awaiting sports betting reform, too. They can secure partnerships with sportsbooks, giving Canada’s sports teams new partnerships and revenue streams. Here are some of the major teams clamoring for sports betting reform in Canada. 

Canadian Professional Sports Leagues

Canadian pro leagues want new ways to engage fans and secure partnerships. In November 2020, five professional leagues from the United States and Canada signed a letter urging Canada’s federal government to legalize single-event sports betting. Among them were the NHL and the Canadian Football League; however, every professional sports team could benefit from sports betting reform. 

Canada’s seven professional hockey teams will be likely targets for sports betting. There was an unprofitable eighth, but it was sold to Denver to become the Colorado Avalanche in 1995. Since hockey is such a big deal in Canada, bettors will wager a lot of money on professional hockey. They’ll be especially generous during live games. The Montreal/Toronto rivalry is, among other things, profitable. 

Canadian Football is another professional league that bettors will pour betting money into. The Canadian Football League’s commissioner signed the 2020 letter to the Canadian government. However, he also called for safe sports betting options.

Even in the sports betting fervor, league representatives don’t want gaming integrity to be overlooked. A sports betting bill that allowed match-fixing would ruin professional sports in Canada. That takes the fun out of trying to use sports knowledge to get ahead in sports wagers. Professional sports have as much interest in safe gaming as sports betting operators. 

But the professional sports landscape wouldn’t be complete without lacrosse. It’s not as big in the States, but Canadians love it. The National Lacrosse League has nine teams, four of which are Canadian. It’s particularly popular in eastern Canada, but it doesn’t enjoy the same mainstream fanbase as leagues like the NHL. However, sports bettors will put plenty of money on lacrosse anyway. 

What Canadian Sports Will Be In A Reformed Sports Betting Market

Bettors will probably only see professional sports in reformed Canadian sportsbooks. Amateur sports leagues aren’t stable or consistent enough for oddsmakers to set odds for. So, bettors will likely see these professional leagues: 

  • Hockey
  • Canadian Football 
  • Baseball 
  • Basketball 
  • Soccer
  • Rugby 
  • Lacrosse 
  • Motorsport 
  • Cricket

Bettors shouldn’t expect to see Canadian college sports on reformed sportsbooks. Canadian college sports aren’t major events like they are in the United States. While they may be available, bettors shouldn’t count on it. The listed professional leagues are the most likely candidates to see on new Canadian sportsbooks. 

Canada Sports Betting FAQs

How Old Do I Have To Be To Bet Online In Canada? 

In Ontario, you must be 19 as it will be in most other provinces. But in Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec, bettors will probably only have to be 18. These ages are going off of casino gambling ages.

Is It Safe To Use An Online Sportsbook App?

Yes. Licensed, regulated sportsbook apps are designed to maintain betting integrity and protect bettor information. Account security and encryption technology are two of the main safety features that bettors will encounter. 

Who Regulates Online Sportsbook Apps In Canada?

Canadian provinces regulate their own sportsbooks. When sportsbook companies like DraftKings and FanDuel come to Canada, each Canadian province will govern those companies. The provinces will set the ground rules, and any sportsbooks that become licensed under the Canadian government will have to follow them. 

Do I Need To Be A Resident Of Canada To Bet Online?

No; however, bettors will have to be in Canada to place sports wagers. Further, bettors will probably need to be in certain provinces to place wagers. If Canadian sports betting is anything like American sports betting, each province will set its own geofences. However, Canada’s provinces will likely be more similar to each other than American states are. 

Will I Be Able To Bet On My iPhone In Canada?

Yes. It’ll be up to each Canadian province to set online sports betting regulations. In Ontario, bettors can find betting apps on the Apple App Store.

Will DraftKings Be Legal In Canada?

Yes, DraftKings is expected to launch in Ontario first. DraftKings’ CEO has expressed interest in expanding to Canada if Bill C-218 passes. For large sportsbook operators, new large markets are exciting opportunities. They’ll move in quickly and settle in for the long run.

More Resources On Canada Sports Betting 

Here are some important documents to use to track Canadian sports betting reform: 

  • Bill C-218: The Conservative-sponsored sports betting bill with the best chance of passing. 
  • Bill C-13: The Liberal government’s bill that included a provision protecting pari-mutuel horse racing. It stopped pushing the bill when Bill C-218 added the same concession. 
  • How The Parliament Works: A resource that goes into detail about how Canada’s parliament chambers work. It’s useful for bettors who want to know how close the third reading is to the finish line. Hint: it’s close.
  • Lawmaking Flowchart: A quick look at how bills become laws in Canada.
About the Author
Christopher Gerlacher

Christopher Gerlacher

Writer and Contributor
Christopher Gerlacher is a Senior Writer and contributor for Gaming Today. He is a versatile and experienced writer with an impressive portfolio who has range from political and legislative pieces to sports and sports betting. He's a devout Broncos fan, for better or for worse, living in the foothills of Arvada, Colorado.

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