Ontario Sports Betting

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Since Canada’s parliament has already legalized single-event sports betting, Canada’s provinces can choose to implement it. Ontario is set to legalize sports betting in December 2021, making it the first Canadian province to do so. It’ll likely be the example the other provinces follow, and it’s expected to house the largest share of the sports betting market. Get updates here on Ontario, Canada sports betting.

Ontario Sports Betting Recent Updates

  • October 14, 2021:

    Rush Street Interactive announces plans to launch its BetRivers sportsbook and casino app in Ontario within the next few months. It launched a free-to-play casino and sportsbook app available through the BetRivers site today.

  • July 13, 2021:

    PointsBet names a new Vice President of Legal, Compliance, and People for its Canadian operation. Big names are ready to pounce at the chance to operate in Canada. 

  • July 8, 2021:

    The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced that it hoped to launch single-event sports wagering by the start of the next NFL season. It’s an ambitious goal that tells bettors that Ontario is raring to go. 

  • July 6, 2021:

    TorStar announces that it plans to release a sportsbook and online casino. This is meant to generate new revenue for its news business by cashing in on reformed sports betting. 

  • July 6, 2021:

    Ontario creates a new government entity that will oversee single-event sports wagering. This is a major step toward creating the regulatory environment necessary for reformed sports betting. 

  • January 5, 2021:

    Deloitte publishes its New Stakes in the Game report. It predicts that the Canadian sports betting market could grow from $500 million to $28 billion annually if single-event sports wagering is legalized.

Review Of Top Sports Betting Sites 

There are a few sportsbooks that Canada will almost certainly be exposed to. First, theScore Bet will launch in Ontario as soon as it’s able to. It’s a Canadian company that began in sports television in the 1990s. In the wake of Canadian sports betting reform, it’ll get a chance to return to its roots in Ontario. It’ll move aggressively to capture as much of the market as it can.

In October 2021, Rush Street Interactive, owner of BetRivers and SugarHouse, announced its plans to launch an online casino and sportsbook app under the BetRivers brand in Ontario.

DraftKings and FanDuel will be formidable competitors, but theScore has an advantage in Canada. It’ll be one of Canada’s major players in sports content and sports betting. 

Of course, no sportsbook market would be complete without DraftKings and FanDuel. These two fantasy sports giants competed across the United States after PASPA’s repeal. They’ve become the two largest sportsbook operators in the United States, and they will certainly invade the Canadian sports betting market. 

Other international sportsbook brands will be eying Canada, too. PointsBet has already found an executive position for its Canadian compliance officer. It obviously has plans to move into Ontario. But William Hill is another international sportsbook that will likely expand to profitable Canadian provinces. Its reach extends from the United Kingdom to Las Vegas and beyond. 

There are a few other brands that’ll probably trickle in over time. Barstool Sportsbook has been slowly expanding and may get to Canada. WynnBet is a smaller sportsbook that’s making some headway in the United States market. No matter what order they arrive in Ontario, each of these brands will likely appear in Ontario and Canada within the first two years of the market opening. 

How To Place A Bet In Ontario 

How To Choose An Ontario Sportsbook 

There are a few things that set sportsbooks apart from each other. Some have different odds trends and each has a unique welcome bonus. Others still are better for casual bettors and high-rollers. Bettors should do their research when they’re deciding which sportsbooks to create accounts with. 

How To Register A Sportsbook Account 

The registration button will either be in the middle of the welcome page or the top-right corner of the screen. Bettors have to fill out three sections of personal information. Some sportsbooks require bettors to upload government-issued ID and a utility bill, but that’s uncommon. 

How To Deposit 

After creating accounts, the sportsbook will display the deposit option. All bettors have to do is select the deposit option, the amount they’d like to deposit, and the amount they’d like to deposit. 

How To Verify Bettor’s Location 

Most sportsbooks do this automatically. However, some sportsbooks will ask bettors to choose their states or provinces upon opening the app or arriving at the website. All will pop a manual location verification option on the screen if necessary. 

How To Place A Bet 

Bettors just have to select the odds they want to put money on, enter their wager amount, then confirm it. Every sportsbook’s bet slip will track bets as they play out. Bettors can withdraw from the cashier sections of their accounts. 

Ontario Legal Sportsbooks 

Licensed Ontario sportsbooks will be safer than offshore and illegal sportsbooks. If bettors have a complaint at a licensed Ontario sportsbook, they can move through a customer complaint process through the sportsbook and the Ontario government. There’s no way to get money back from an illegal sportsbook. Bookies aren’t known for their customer service departments. 

But Canadians are particularly lucky. They don’t have to pay taxes on any gambling winnings won in Canada. However, the rules change if Canadian bettors gamble in the United States or if Canadians are professional gamblers. So when Ontario gets its first privately-owned sportsbooks, it’ll be a good day for casual Canadian bettors. 

Ontario Sports Betting Revenue 

Ontario is expected to be one of Canada’s largest sports betting markets. It’s expected to comprise 40-45% of Canada’s sports betting market, making it a critical province for sportsbooks to gain traction in. Canada’s sports betting revenue is expected to balloon from $500 million to $28 billion annually. That’s all money that’ll be taken out of the black and gray markets and moved into a legal sports betting market where it can be taxed by provincial governments. Whether Canada and its provinces can meet that projection remains to be seen. 

How Ontario Compares To Other Provinces

Since Ontario is the largest Canadian province, it’s no surprise that it’s expected to be the premier destination for Canadian sports betting. It’s also no surprise that the other provinces will watch how privately-owned sportsbook companies shape Ontario’s sports betting market. So, Canadian bettors can expect other provinces to model their sports betting industries after Ontario. 

However, that doesn’t mean the other provinces are irrelevant to the Canadian sports betting market. British Columbia is another major sports betting market that’s expected to blossom in the wake of Canadian sports betting reform. The British Columbia Lotto Organization estimates that single-event sports betting could generate $125 to $175 million in new revenue. But that doesn’t account for the impact of the entire privately-run sportsbook industry that British Columbia can choose to create. 

While several other Canadian provinces have expressed interest in legal sports betting industries, British Columbia and Ontario are the two to watch. 

Legalization Effort In Ontario 

Efforts to allow single-event sports betting stretch back a decade. They began in 2011 when Joe Comartin introduced Bill C-290, which would’ve allowed single-event sports betting. It failed in 2011 and again in 2015 when it died in a Senate committee after being carried over from the previous session. It took a renewed effort to introduce and pass Bill C-218. However, the bill received royal assent on June 29, 2021, ten years after the original push to legalize sports betting. 

Ontario wasted little time taking advantage of Bill C-218’s passage. On July 6, 2021, Ontario created iGaming Ontario, a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. It will be in charge of regulating sports betting when the rules and regulations are written. iGaming Ontario has already released igaming regulations. However, sport and event betting information is still on the way. Those are the details that will give us an idea about how competitive Ontario’s sports betting industry will be. It’ll also reveal whether Ontario can help Canada meet some of the ambitious revenue projections. 

Timeline Of Ontario Sports Betting 

  • September 28, 2011 – Joe Comartin introduces Bill C-290, which would legalize single-event sports betting. This would begin a ten-year effort to reform sports betting in Canada. 
  • October 7, 2014 – Bill C-290 is referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, where it dies. 
  • May 14, 2018 – The United States strikes down PASPA, clearing the way for states to legalize sports betting. Over the next two to three years, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey grow into premier igaming markets, putting pressure on Canada’s outdated sports betting industry. 
  • September 23, 2020 – Kevin Waugh introduces Bill C-218, which will go on to legalize single-event sports betting the following summer. 
  • June 29, 2021 – Bill C-218 gets the royal assent, clearing the way for Canada’s provinces to set rules and regulations for sports betting. 
  • July 6, 2021 –  Ontario creates iGaming Ontario in preparation for sports betting’s launch in late 2021.
  • October 14, 2021 – Rush Street Interactive plans to launch a sports betting and online casino app under the BetRivers brand.

Ontario Sports Teams 

Ontario Professional Sports Teams

It would almost be shorter to list the professional Canadian teams that aren’t based in Ontario than the ones that are. The Toronto teams make up many of Ontario’s most noteworthy franchises. Americans may recognize the Toronto Blue Jays from Major League Baseball. They may also recognize the Toronto Raptors from the NBA or the Toronto FC soccer club. Several professional Canadian teams are part of American sports leagues. The NFL is one of the few professional sports leagues that don’t have Canadian sports teams. (Canadian football has slightly different rules than American football.)

However, Ontario sports teams are at their most competitive in the NHL. Hockey is a religion in Canada, and each of Ontario’s hockey teams may as well be their own sect. The Toronto Maple Leafs (not Leaves) have 13 Stanley Cups to their name, to the pride of Ontario and the chagrin of American NHL fans. 

When sports betting finally comes to Ontario, professional sports teams will build the foundation of Ontario’s sportsbooks. The leagues they play in have clear rules, which make it easy to build fair bets. It eliminates much of the controversy that could arise from offering betting lines with unclear rules. Professional games also attract big crowds and, crucially, big money. They’re the most profitable events for sportsbooks to build betting lines for. So, expect professional leagues to be the bare minimum that Ontario’s sportsbooks offer when they begin to populate the market. 

Ontario College Sports Teams 

College sports in Ontario won’t have the same draw that they do in the United States. The United States has built college athletics into a massive business. Canada hasn’t done that with its universities. It also hasn’t expressly forbidden college wagers. The U Sports ethics guide for college athletes doesn’t prohibit sports betting. However, if it’s anything like the United States, Canada’s college sports governing body will likely update its guidance. It probably doesn’t want its athletes betting on themselves any more than the United States does. 

For non-athletes, there will be some fierce college rivalries to put money on. Western University and Queens University share one of Canada’s oldest rivalries. Carleton University and the University of Ottawa are a local rivalry with both schools located in the city of Ottawa. However, the most unique college rivalry is among three schools: The University of Toronto, York University, and Ryerson University. All three schools are in Toronto, making it easy for the rivalry to be stoked from time to time. These rivalries will attract bettors’ money when there’s a legal outlet for it. 

Other Sports To Bet On In Ontario 

Professional leagues and college sports aren’t the only betting options Ontario residents will have. There are also other sports that often escape the public eye. Cricket is becoming more popular in Ontario, so bettors can expect to see cricket lines on Ontario’s sportsbooks. Sports like badminton could also be available, especially if there’s an established league. 

Esports will also be available as long as Ontario allows wagers on them. Some US states don’t allow esports betting because they don’t trust the esports leagues. That could come from a hesitancy to accept esports as sports, but it could also stem from anxiety about consistent scoring and rulemaking. However, sportsbooks know how to offer fair betting lines on established esports leagues. Games like Call of Duty and Counter Strike aren’t hard to handle. If Ontario allows it, expect esports betting to be a popular niche sport for bettors. 

Ontario Sports Betting FAQs

Is Online Sports Betting Going To Be Legal In Ontario?

Yes. iGaming Ontario was created for all internet gambling. Online sportsbooks will fall under iGaming Ontario’s jurisdiction. So, it’s clear that online sports betting is coming to Ontario. What we’re still waiting to discover are the rules that sportsbooks will have to follow. 

How Old Do I Have To Be To Make Online Wagers In Ontario? 

19. Canada’s provinces have different gambling ages. However, the only options are 18 or 19, and Ontario is one of the provinces that decided to set the gambling age older. The legal sports betting age almost always matches the casino gambling age. The casino gambling age is 19, so sports bettors will likely have to be at least 19, too. 

Are Online Sportsbook Apps Safe? 

Licensed sportsbook apps are safe. If they’ve been vetted by not only Ontario but also many American states, then bettors can rest assured that their sportsbooks are safe. The major sportsbook brands have had to earn market access repeatedly because of the United State’s sports betting rollout. They’re prepared to offer a robust product to Ontarians. 

Who Will Regulate Ontario’s Online Sportsbook Apps?

iGaming Ontario. It was created a week after Canada passed Bill C-218. Its function is to regulate all online gambling in Ontario. Online sportsbooks will be governed by the authority that’s been granted to iGaming Ontario. It’s also the organization that’s preparing to release the rules specific to sport and event gambling. 

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

Yes. Online sportsbook apps offer Apple and Android apps to users. That maximizes each sportsbook’s reach in an industry that depends on gathering enough bettors to make the income statement math work. Bettors can rest assured that iPhone apps will be available for the most popular sportsbook brands.  

What Sports And Events Will I Be Able To Bet On In Ontario? 

Most professional sports will be available on Ontario’s sportsbooks. Structured leagues with clear, consistent rules will be good candidates for sportsbooks to offer betting lines on. These will also include leagues where games are played internationally. The events don’t have to take place in Ontario to be fair game for Ontario sportsbooks. 

More Resources On Ontario Sports Betting 

Here are a few resources to parse through to get a good understanding of Ontario sports betting: 

  • Bill C-218 – This is the sports betting bill that allows Canada’s provinces to promulgate sports betting rules. 
  • iGaming Ontario – This is the organization that’ll govern online gambling in Ontario, including online sports betting.
  • U Sport Recruiting Regulations – These are the rules college athletes must follow in Canada. Its sports betting update will have a major impact on college sports betting. 
  • Gaming Today theScore Interview – This is an interview we conducted with theScore’s Aubrey Levy to get a clear picture of how a major Canadian sports content and sports betting brand is approaching Ontario’s new sports betting market. 
About the Author

Christopher Gerlacher

Christopher Gerlacher is a senior author and contributor for Gaming Today. He's a devout Broncos fan, for better or for worse, living in the foothills of Arvada, Colorado.

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