Let’s start off with the good news: legal online sports betting is available right now in Canada! It certainly hasn’t always been the case and we’ve come a long way for regular Canadians to be able to safely and easily place a bet on their favorite sports.
Needless to say, this is a very exciting time to be a sports fan in Canada.
Similar to the US, the sports betting laws in Canada vary depending on the province. Historically, only parlay betting with local sportsbooks had been legal in a number of areas in Canada, but since August 2021 provinces have been empowered to tax and regulate regular sports betting according to their own provincial laws.
Most have already adjusted their local sportsbook infrastructure to include single-game betting. In terms of opening up to international books, Ontario is leading the way.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. We’re going to cover all the legal stuff in-depth, as well as a history of how we got to this point, right here in this article. We’ve also got essential info on different provinces, Canadian sports betting bonuses, sports betting safety and security, Daily Fantasy Sports, and much more.
Canada is taking its first steps toward something very special in 2022, and you’re going to want to be along for the ride. This page is your guide to do just that.
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Part of our commitment to sports betting in Canada involves breaking down exactly how you can and cannot bet in every area of the country. That’s why we’ve created our province by province guides, which cover the laws in each state in the country.
We’ve got a shorter version a little further down this page, a starter pack guide to the betting situation in each state.
But if you want the in-depth stuff, you should check out our individual guides. We cover:
If sports betting is already legal in your part of Canada, these pages are where you’ll get personalized info on how to bet close to home. If not, you can read up on what is likely on the horizon, and bookmark the page for future info.
Like we said, we’re committing to bringing you the most up-to-date and useful info about how to bet wherever you are in Canada. Just click on your province below to find out more.
Everything changed for Canada in August 2021, when Canadian lawmakers passed bill C-218 to change the nationwide Criminal Code to allow legal single-game betting. However, this did not suddenly make sports betting legal all over the country.
Instead, rather like the removal of PASPA in the United States a couple of years earlier, it enabled each of the Canadian provinces to make their own sports betting laws.
Many of the provinces acted quickly, incorporating single-game sports betting into their existing frameworks.
So far, Ontario has been the most proactive, with legal single-game sports betting officially launching in the province in April 2022 and a variety of international books already up and running.
Others are in the process of following suit with their own laws.
You might be asking why we’re talking about legal Canadian sports betting in terms of “single game” betting. Well, that’s because Canada actually has a long history of legal betting – it’s just always been in parlay form.
Prior to C-218, Canadian betting laws had been somewhat ambiguous, but parlay betting (where you combine multiple bets together) has been offered by provincial lottery companies since 1985.
Offshore sites – which technically operate outside of Canadian law and accept Canadian sports bettors – have also been thriving in recent years, with billions of dollars flowing out of the country to online bookmakers hosted in other countries.
Canada’s old laws meant that preventing gamblers from using these sites was difficult, and the practice was largely ignored.
However, as we should all know, using offshore sportsbooks is always a risk. Using a service that is not bound by the same laws as you means that, theoretically, there is nothing stopping these books from doing whatever they like with your money.
From a security point of view, locally legal and regulated sports betting is a totally different kettle of fish.
When we talk about single-game betting in this context, we mean regular sports betting as we all understand it, that’s been going on in Vegas for decades and has been spreading around the US since 2018.
So, to recap, we’re basically at the first square of the Monopoly board with sports betting in Canada.
Thanks to bill C-218, each province can now make its own sports betting laws. Ontario is the first to open up to international books, with sports betting going live in April 2022. The rest are on the way.
Ontario became the first Canadian province to offer fully-fledged single-game sports betting with non-local sportsbooks on April 4th, 2022. A host of US sportsbooks have either launched or are about to, including FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM. Various other sportsbooks from Europe and the UK are also poised.
These sportsbooks are a game-changer: not only will they allow single-event betting for the first time, but they also come with tons of betting experience from decades in the industry, with betting guides for the Canadian market and lots of info on North American sports.
These are the top online betting sites in the world. They make it just as easy to place bets to receive your payouts.
Ontario is by far the largest province in population terms, and home to some of the largest and most popular sports franchises in the country, like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, and Toronto Blue Jays.
There are almost 30 casinos in the region, and live poker is also legal.
As the first province to get over the line and really open up, the situation in Ontario can be seen as a guide for what to expect for sports betting in other provinces.
Quebec wasted no time in adding single-game betting to its existing gambling options, and it went live in August 2021. Unlike Ontario, Quebec only has local sportsbooks for now, including the option of betting via a mobile app.
The first sportsbooks to launch were Mise-o-jeu and Sports Interaction.
The Montréal Canadiens are probably the biggest professional sports team located in Quebec, and likely to attract a lot of betting action.
The New England Patriots, just over the border in Massachusetts, should also prove popular.
BC was one of the more vocal supportive provinces in advance of C-218, and it came as no surprise that they acted quickly to legalize single-game betting at the first opportunity.
The only sports betting platform at the moment is PlayNow, owned and operated by British Columbia Lottery Corporation or BCLC.
PlayNow has offered parlay betting for years and added single-game betting more or less right away when it could. Mobile betting is possible and requires your phone’s geolocation software or a downloadable plugin. You need to be at least 19 years old to bet.
Vancouver dominates the sporting landscape, with the Vancouver Canucks in NHL and the Whitecaps in MLS. Seattle, with a variety of pro teams, is a stone’s throw away over the border.
Alberta’s one and only sportsbook is called PlayAlberta, and offers both in-person and online betting. Unlike in some provinces, PlayAlberta was largely created with the new era of Canadian sports betting in mind, founded as it was in September 2021.
For a long time it looked like PlayAlberta would be the only show in town, but the province has subsequently accepted proposals from additional private sportsbooks to launch too.
Hockey is the big passion in that part of the world, with both the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames in the NHL.
Like BC, Manitoba has its own PlayNow platform, although this one is run by the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Corporation (MLLC). There was already a healthy gambling tradition in Manitoba, with PlayNow offering sports betting, poker, online casino games, and lottery games since 2013, including on mobile devices.
It remains to be seen if Manitoba is going to expand its betting options to include external books.
Known collectively as the Atlantic Provinces, sports betting is legal in each of these areas and regulated by the Atlantic Lottery. The one and only sportsbook is called Proline Stadium, and offers both parlays and single game betting online.
There are minor differences in the local laws in each of these provinces, but Proline is the sole option for betting.
Sports betting is legal in Saskatchewan through its one and only operator called Sports Select, but for now, it’s still parlays only. It remains to be seen what will happen with single-game betting.
Neither province offers online single-game wagering for the time being.
As you might guess by now, the answer to this does largely depend on what province you’re in. But every province with legal sports betting offers a good range of sports to bet on, for money lines, futures, parlays, and props.
Ontario is leading the way with sports betting in Canada, and the signs for which sports you can bet on there are very positive – and pretty much comparable to the same sportsbooks in the US.
Below is a list of what you can expect. Remember this is just an idea of the options, and there are certainly likely to be additional betting options depending on your local book.
Yes. Daily Fantasy Sports is legal in Canada, and both DraftKings and Fanduel are widely available in the country. Like in the US, DFS has steadily grown in popularity north of the border for the last decade or more.
The arrival of sports betting could prove to be a double-edged sword for DFS. On the one hand, it’s likely to spark a renewed interest in sports betting in general, including the gambling-style contests at DFS. On the other hand, it could take existing customers away from DFS sites, and may precipitate changes in their legal status.
It’s something to keep an eye on, but for now, DFS is widely available.
Canada has a strong history of betting on sports, it just hasn’t always looked like the sports betting that we’re used to these days.
Since 1985, sports betting has been legal in Canada, but only in the form of parlay betting run by provincial lotteries. This type of betting had more of a pick’em feel, and was considerably more restricted than the sports wagering available in other countries.
Whatsmore, Canada didn’t actually have explicit laws banning single-game betting. Instead, it just wasn’t legislated for – neither legal nor illegal.
This all led to a thriving sports betting gray market, where millions of Canadian bettors gambled online using offshore sports betting sites which were not technically subject to Canadian law. Some of the sites popular during that period – like bet365 for example – are now looking to set up legitimate sportsbooks actually hosted in Canada.
The gray sports betting market led to billions of dollars flowing out of Canada, which didn’t go unnoticed.
Rep. Kevin Waugh spearheaded the push for the legalization of single-game betting, leading the debates in the House of Commons.
The sports betting industry was projected to be worth $14.5 billion in Canada, almost all of which was going to offshore sites. A bill, C-218, was crafted to clarify the legal position of sports betting in Canada, by amending paragraph 207(4)(b) of the Criminal Code to include a reference to single-game betting.
Ultimately, bill C-218 gathered enough support so that it was passed on June 23, 2021. From the following August, Canadian provinces were free to legislate for sports betting as they saw fit.
Many provinces immediately incorporated single-game betting into their existing sports betting infrastructure, while Ontario led the way in opening the door to international books.
Legal and regulated sports betting is a total game-changer in a number of ways, but perhaps the most significant of these is security.
As Canada realized long ago, banning legal sports betting does not mean that nobody bets. Instead, it simply encourages people to turn to offshore sportsbooks, sites that are not hosted in Canada and therefore theoretically operate outside of its laws.
The term that always gets used in these situations is “legal gray area”, and it means that people tend to end up using offshore sites without any legal problems – but crucially also without any legal protection.
Basically, using an offshore site is a risk.
Sites that aren’t monitored and regulated in your country have very little legal imperative to treat you fairly or, in some cases, even give you the money you win. Legal sports betting changes all of that.
Not only are sportsbooks independently monitored for fairness, but the money generated from gambling is typically used for the civic good. You don’t need to worry about a site disappearing after you win some money, or suddenly going out of business.
Canadian provinces have been meticulous in their legal preparations for sports betting.
Every province has its own regulatory body and every legal book requires a license. An abundance of caution is probably also the reason that some provinces are choosing to stick to local books only.
Not to sound like a broken record, but the availability of sports betting bonuses is going to depend on the province – especially those with a singular state-run sportsbook.
Ontario sports betting is a different story, where the doors have been thrown open to international sportsbooks. In those at least, we know exactly what to expect from their activity in other countries.
It’s also worth pointing out that Canada has been especially careful with how sports betting and online gambling are being marketed and advertised. You won’t see betting advertisements on TV when you’re watching sports, or free-to-play offers advertised publicly.
Here’s a quick primer on the bonuses you can expect to find if you sign up for a new sportsbook.
This is the classic welcome bonus you’ll find at books all over the world. Basically, the sportsbook matches some or all of your first bonus, meaning you get more money to bet with.
There are normally wagering requirements of some description attached to the bonus cash, such as needing to bet with it once at certain odds, before it can be withdrawn.
In this case, the sportsbook gives you a small amount of bonus cash – maybe $10 or $20 – to bet with however you like, just for registering with the site. You won’t be able to withdraw your bonus without first betting with it.
Free bets are very similar and are exactly what they sound like. They are basically tokens you can use to bet – often in $10, $20 or $50 – increments. If you win your free bet, you get to keep the profits only.
With a risk-free bet, you’ll get your money back if the bet loses – but unlike a free bet, you need to use your own money to place the bet in the first place. If the bet wins, great! If not, money back.
This is just the start of a very exciting journey for Canada. Some of the best sports betting sites in North America and around the world are already up and running in the Canadian market – Caesars, BetRivers, PointsBet, DraftKings, Fanduel, BetMGM, Betway, the list goes on.
Better still, that list is only going to grow in the coming months and years.
Keep an eye on this page for the latest developments in Canadian sports betting, and enjoy the new dawn in safe, legal sports betting.
Yes. You’ll normally be able to claim some kind of welcome bonus offer when you sign up with a new sportsbook, like a free bet or a deposit bonus.
Yes, depending on the province. From August 2021 each province could determine its own sports betting laws. Most wasted no time in introducing single-game betting, and Ontario was the first to open up to international sportsbooks.
Yes, depending on the province. The provinces with legal mobile betting require the use of geolocation software to ensure you are actually in the province when you place your bets. Mobile betting is typically available on both iOS and Android, including via sports betting apps.
Yes. Both DraftKings and FanDuel are widely available in Canada.
Depending on the province, yes. Horse racing is legal wherever sports betting is legal.
Again, it depends on the province. Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec allow betting for everyone 18 and over, while in the others 19 is the minimum allowable age.
You can bet on a huge range of sports in Canada, comparable with US and international sportsbooks. They include football, basketball, hockey, baseball, Canadian football, soccer and many more major sports.
After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Journalism, Richard Janvrin has been covering iGaming and sports betting since December 2018. Richard has covered betting at Bleacher Report, Gambling.com, The Game Day, Forbes, and more.More info on Richard Janvrin
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