Canada’s federal law is loyal towards casino gambling and online sports betting: the government allows each province to make its own laws regarding each gambling activity. This year became the beginning of the new era for Canadian bettors: the latest sports betting news say legislation changed to allow punters to get more of their sports betting experience and boost Canadian gambling revenue.
Before we start, let’s determine two types of legal online betting in Canada. Every province has its lottery that offers gambling activities, including sports bets; such lottery sites are a bit different from classical online sportsbooks, but there is no local alternative to them. However, you can choose offshore betting too: it is not prohibited, and your only concern is to find a site that accepts Canadian sports bettors.
This guide will tell you about internal sports betting rules in each Canadian province and provide you with valuable tips on choosing a sportsbook. Besides, we prepared a quick review on the top popular Canadian sports and teams and, of course, a list of the best sports betting sites in Canada.
Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Canada?
While US bettors celebrated sports betting legalization in 2019 and every state became eligible to determine its own sports wagering law, Canada had seen it all already in 1999. The first region to allow sports betting was Ontario, and the other provinces gradually accepted new sports betting laws and adapted the federal law for local gamblers. Thus, rules vary in different provinces: for instance, some force sportsbooks to accept bettors from 18 years old while the others determine 19 years old as a legal gambling age, and so on.
In 2009, Canadian authorities legalized online gambling sites, too, but gamblers were still free to choose between local Canada betting sites and offshore bookmakers.
Before 2021, there had been one significant reason why billions of gambling revenue drained away from the Canadian government and ended up in pockets of offshore bookmakers who willingly welcomed Canadian players. This reason was a ban of single bets, the ones rookie online bettors typically use to start their gambling experience. If you are not quite aware of what it means, let us explain to you: a single bet is a wager you make on a single outcome.
For instance, if you are into NBA basketball betting, you can make a single bet on a victory of Toronto Raptors over Boston Celtics: as straightforwardly as it sounds.
However, Canadian bettors could not make such simple bets and were limited by parlay betting: it is a bet that implies you pick several events and make at least three different bets. The trick of a parlay is that it automatically loses if at least one selection was incorrect, so no wonder most gamblers opt for less risky options at offshore facilities. Why was single-way betting banned? Officially, to avoid match-fixing: there is less chance that three different games will turn out to be fixed.
However, the whole situation changed in summer 2021, when the latest gambling bill finally allowed Canadians to make single wagers. The rules for such bets and other aspects of sports betting still vary in different provinces, so in the next several paragraphs, we will explain all nuances of online sports betting in every region of Canada.
We started our review with a remark regarding provincial lotteries; let’s discuss it in more detail before we begin speaking about betting online and offline in various provinces.
There is an authority called The Interprovincial Lottery Corporation (ILC) responsible for conducting and regulating lottery games in Canada. To be precise, it was initially entrusted to organize all state lotto games but then developed into a multifunctional corporation providing sports betting and casino activities. The corporation has four divisions: British Columbia, Ontario Lottery and Gaming, Loto-Quebec, and Western Canada Lottery corporations.
The ILC organizes three major lottery games in Canada: Lotto 6/49, Daily Grand, and Lotto Max. Besides, each provincial subsidiary offers sports betting services on their official websites. Today, such lotto sportsbooks are the only local sports wagering facilities in the country; still, newcomers are hopefully on the threshold.
Alberta’s law allows you to participate in various gambling activities, including online poker sites, poker, casino games, and sports betting. It became the eighth province to legalize single-event wagers. However, local gamblers have not had any sports betting facilities until recently. Although Alberta has several brick-and-mortar casinos with standard Vegas-like entertainment like roulette or card games, it launched the first sportsbook only in September 2021. The sportsbook is called Play Alberta and is only available online. Still, residents are not limited in terms of using offshore betting sites. The minimum age for betting is 18 years old.
British Columbia is one of the most populated Canadian provinces, so no wonder it has a large betting pool. With the new bill allowing single-event wagering, sports betting became even more popular in British Columbia. However, it seems that offshore betting is flourishing in the Pacific Province. Suppose you want to opt for a perfectly legal local sportsbook regulated by British Columbia Lottery Corporation. In this case, you are limited by the only option offered by the PlayNow.com site and their iOS and Android apps. You must be at least 18 to make bets in British Columbia.
Manitoba sports betting activities are controlled and regulated by the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries commission. This jurisdiction allows offline, and online sports wagering but does not offer many options: like most other provinces, it has a single sports betting facility approved by the MLLC. This facility is called Sport Select and provides customers with two options: they can make their bets online or use retail brick-and-mortar betting kiosks at gas stations or stores. It is highly possible that as single-event bets are now legal, new providers will come to the Manitoba market, but at the moment, there is no alternative if you want to use a local legal sportsbook. The minimum betting age in Manitoba is 18.
New Brunswick is a part of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation responsible for gambling activities in four Canadian provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island. The ATC regulates all types of gambling, including sports betting, lotteries, and online casinos, and recommends using the Proline Stadium website for making sports wagers. However, you can also access popular offshore sites like Sports Interaction or Bodog from New Brunswick if you reach 19.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The Rock province is not the most gambling-friendly region of Canada, and its overall sports betting revenue does not usually exceed $11 million. However, NL authoritiesaccepted new law on single-event wagers and offered local bettors to visit Proline Stadium services to make various types of single and multiple bets, including Props, Totals, Handicap, and more. There are no brick-and-mortar betting shops in Newfoundland and Labrador. Still, access to all offshore online bookmakers is not limited, so provided you are qualifying to make bets in foreign companies, you are welcome. If you want to use a local online sportsbook, you must be 19 or older.
Nova Scotia is the second smallest Canadian province, so it would be strange to expect many sports betting and other gambling opportunities within the region. Still, it is perfectly legal to make sports wagers using Atlantic Lottery Corporation online services. The Nova Scotia Provincial Lotteries commission regulates all gambling activities: it has an agreement with the ALC and entrusts its software delivery. One disappointing thing for Nova Scotia residents (but it won’t probably last long) is that it has not accepted single betting yet, so you are limited by several bet types like Parlays and Futures. The minimum gambling age is 19.
Ontario’s official legal sportsbook is called PROLINE+. Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation launched this online betting site and offer all classical betting options, including single bets and parlays. The new law about single-event betting might change the market. As Ontario is the most gambling province, it might become the first to welcome new online and retail sportsbooks providers with better wagering options. For instance, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has recently announced a launch of a new gambling platform called iGaming Ontario. At the moment, Ontario’s legal online sportsbook does not have many sports and events included in pre-match and live lines and gamblers must go with top games from the NFL, NBA, CFL, NHL, and MLB.
Prince Edward Island
As a province included in the Atlantic Lottery Corporation jurisdiction, Prince Edward Island has similar gambling rules to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland, and Labrador. Thus, you can wager from 19 years old and use any offshore sportsbooks besides the lottery’s only local sports betting option. Like most provinces, Prince Edward Island now allows making single bets at a local sportsbook and offers Proline, Props, Pool, and Handicap bets for horse racing, football, soccer, ice hockey, tennis, and other sports.
All sports betting and other gambling entertainments are entrusted to Mise-o-Jeu, a provincial lottery offering sports wagers at its official website, along with online casino games, poker, bingo, and other games. You can make single and multiple wagers at the lottery’s sportsbook, but it is up to you to join some offshore sportsbooks available in Canada. The legal age for gambling is 18, but the rules might differ for bookmakers working under other jurisdictions.
Saskatchewan is still pretty enthusiastic about sports and sports bets, home of the single professional sports team CFL roughriders.
Although statistics show that Canada’s Breadbasket has only 3% of the whole gambling pool, the province has accepted a new gambling bill that might increase interest in sports wagers.
The legal betting way involves the Select Sports method again and is used to allow Proline bets (Money Line and Totals), Points Spread, Pools (bettors predict an outcome of several games in a pool card and must collect the most right picks), and Props. All bet types had to be combined in parlays until this rule was repealed, but the odds and markets selection leaves much to be desired at Select Sports. The legal age to bet is 19.
How We Rate Canada Sports Betting Sites
Whenever we want to recommend any sportsbook or casino, we always revise it thoroughly. We look at particular things to make sure a bookmaker is trusted and can safely go to our best Canadian online sportsbook rating.
Such things include the site’s overall reputation, its sports betting product (odds, lines, selection of sports), and important details like customer support, bonuses, betting services and options, gambling license, and some more.
All Canadian-based online sports betting sites are related to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, a local jurisdiction of Quebec. Currently, it is the only authority regulating sports betting and casino gambling activities in Canada; it works in the Kahnawake region and cooperates with other provinces to issue licenses for local Canada online betting sites. However, no law implies any punishment for a bettor who opted for an offshore website, so Canadian bettors can also consider some US and European platforms that accept people from the Great White North.
It is pretty obvious why you need to opt for a reputable sportsbook, but how do you tell one? In the digital era, it’s enough to perform a simple Google search to find at least several independent reviews. Don’t worry: if a bookmaker is rigged and was involved in various doubtful affairs, you will quickly learn it. Take your time to check customer feedback on TrustPilot and similar platforms and look at various best online betting sites ratings.
Coverage of Sports and Events
One of the reasons Canadian bettors tend to opt for offshore sportsbooks is their urge to have as many available options as possible. Local Canadian bookmakers did not just limit bet types until recently but also provided them with a very small selection of available sports. Most sportsbooks offered odds for the biggest events and top popular Canadian sports like American football, ice hockey, and several major Northern American leagues.
A wide sports betting library is not only about diversity: it says much about software providers’ quality. Thus, when you see at least twenty disciplines available for betting, you can be pretty sure that you are dealing with a decent bookie and will have competitive odds.
Odds and Lines
When we say ‘competitive odds,’ we mean prices better than other sportsbooks offer. At least, average odds and margins must not be worse than most bookmakers have for a selected event, so it makes sense to shop the line before you make any wagers. The average margin for soccer and American leagues (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB) events must not exceed 5%; minor games and niche sports or markets can come with higher margins, but it must not have some draconian amount like 10% or more.
Note that a 7%-10% margin is pretty typical for live betting markets, though.
Don’t forget to check if your bookmaker offers you odds for various outcomes, not just the simplest ones. Again, an excellent choice of markets for multiple events is a good sign of a decent software provider. Obviously, there are sports where you usually have more options: for instance, a famous soccer matchup can involve about 1,000 markets, while some minor darts or eSports tournaments can quickly go with 3-10 betting variants.
Live betting can be much more exciting than making wagers in a pre-game mode: it gives you a certain thrill to place bets watching an event. Besides, you can do much more accurate forecasts when you see what is happening in the field and get access to extra sports bets called ‘last-minute’ when you have only ten-fifteen minutes to settle a bet.
Thus, most gamblers care about quality live betting sections and opt for websites that allow them to make quick bets, update odds timely, and have a convenient layout for swift actions. Some online sportsbooks offer embedded live streaming platforms, but if there is no one, it is not a big deal: most likely, there are some animated graphics instead.
Bonuses And Promotions
Professional bettors do not usually care much about bonuses, and it is pretty understandable. When you wager much money daily and aim to withdraw as quickly as possible, you do not want to care about rollover requirements or, say, qualifying bets you need to place to claim a special offer. However, we suppose our reading audience is more into recreational gambling, so most of you would hardly refuse to have extra cash or risk-free bets.
What bonuses can you have as an existing or a new customer? The most popular option is the first deposit bonus match: you make a first qualifying deposit and receive extra cash, such as a 100% deposit match. There is a similar option when you get free bet credits instead of a deposit boost: you use this bet to make single or multiple wagers only once. Besides, there are various promotions like weekly deposit matches, cashback on losses, accumulator boosts and insurances, and more, depending on the imagination and generosity of a bookmaker.
In the table below, we highlighted bonuses given by top online Canadian sportsbooks.
Welcome deposit bonus
Up to $400
Up to $100
Up to $30
Up to $100
Welcome deposit bonus
Up to $250
Mobile App Availability
Mobile sports betting apps are now typical for modern sportsbooks: most industry giants came up with their downloadable mobile betting solutions for iOS and Android and even offer special bonuses for mobile bettors.
Still, sometimes it is enough to have an adequate mobile betting sites, provided it fits your screen size and is easy to navigate. It is not only about your convenience, although it is convenient to make wagers on the go if you spend most time out. Besides, it is a small hint telling you if a company takes care of its customers and identifies various marketing scenarios.
Another weak side of local Canadian sports betting sites is their usability. Many bettors complain about their interfaces looking like the platforms had never been updated since the late nineties. Fortunately, novel legislation may stimulate some development so that gamblers will get convenient websites with a user-friendly layout adapted to mobile devices screens and having no lags.
It is especially important when you need to make some quick bets: an intuitive interface will allow you to do it within a couple of mouse clicks, while an overwhelmed, old-fashioned, and slow site can prevent you from settling a great winning bet in a timely manner. It is definitely a matter of taste, though, so we can simply recommend you to surf a new site for a while to make sure it is comfortable for you.
Customer support is one of the key things to consider in a sportsbook, no matter if you opt for a local site or prefer gambling at offshore platforms. It is essential to have 24/7 professional service and convenient contact methods.
The most popular options include:
Some bookies also willingly speak to customers on social networks, so if you see that you can easily reach support representatives and get quick and straightforward replies to your requests, it is a good sign!
Currencies and Banking Options
Another good sign is to see various banking methods at the cashier section of a sports betting site. Although you may stick to a single payment option, a wide selection of alternatives makes a sportsbook more trusted. Such systems as Paypal, Neteller, Skrill, Visa, or Mastercard will not cooperate with a scam bookmaker, so it is one extra guarantee of your safety. Besides, various payment methods may imply different minimum deposit amounts, so it’s better to have a choice depending on how much you want to deposit. Here are the top popular deposit methods and their terms available at the best Canadian online sportsbooks:
Brief Guide to Canadian Sports Betting Market
We hope we managed to make the situation with sports betting clear for you, and you will easily find the best sports betting site to join and enjoy your gambling experience. Before you go, we want to give you some more facts about Canadian sports betting world and sports betting tips related to the Canadian online gambling industry. This block will be mainly interesting for novice bettors, but we tried to include some fun facts and useful information for sophisticated ones, too!
What Sports Can You Bet On?
With a right to choose every available offshore betting site, you can actually wager on anything you want to: from the most popular soccer, football, or ice hockey events to niche sports like trotting, futsal, or archery. Local sportsbooks are not always so generous, though. For instance, PlayNow sportsbook, owned by the British Columbia Lottery, offers about twenty disciplines, which is not the worst, but not the best option either. However, all lottery bookmakers’ lines involve the most popular sports in Canada and worldwide: baseball, tennis, football, badminton, ice hockey, horse racing, eSports, and more.
What Are The Major Sport Events in Canada?
Canada is mainly associated with ice hockey and lacrosse, and these sports are the genuine passion of the Great White North. However, avid sports fans know that there is much more Canada can offer. For instance, Canadians are not much enthusiastic about NFL football betting and are keener on their own football and events within the Canadian football league with nine professional sports teams all over the country. So, what are the most significant events that you will always find in any Canadian sportsbook?
The Stanley Cup is the annual NHL event organized since 1893, and Canada regularly hosts regular games and finals.
Montreal Canadiens, the Canadian professional NHL team, has the most wins of the Stanley Cup.
Canada is also proud of its Toronto Raptors NBA team: it is the only pro basketball team in the country, so Toronto annually welcomes local fans and visitors at the Scotiabank Arena to watch NBA playoffs and Finals.
Speaking about more exotic options, you can visit bobsleigh and skeleton World Cups, ski jumping championships, lacrosse tournaments, and even wheelchair hockey events.
Canadian Betting Odds Explained
Canadians do not have their own odds format and typically use American or decimal odds. Here is a brief guide on how to read betting and calculate your probable winnings.
If you opt for decimal odds, you can see the following betting option in your match coupon:
Match Odds: Team 1: 2.6/Team 2: 1.5
The odds show you how much you can win for every $1 spent on a bet; thus, if you risk $100 on a Team 1, your potential winnings are $260, and $150 if you back a Team 2. In our example, Team 2 is a strong favorite as a bookie does not give much for its victory, supposing this outcome is highly possible.
Match Odds: Team 1: +160/Team 2: -200
A little spoiler ahead: the odds in our second example are the same as in the first one but reflected in a different format. American odds indicate your possible winnings based on a $100 stake instead of $1, so it might be more complicated to get. However, it is not so tricky: when you see positive odds, you understand they mean the amount you can win by wagering $100. If odds come with a minus sign, like -200 in our example, it means you must invest $200 to earn $100 if you win.
Are Winnings Taxed In Canada?
US avid gamblers might become jealous as they learn about Canadian gambling taxes: unlike the USA, Canada does not require sports bettors, and casino players pay taxes on their winnings. Yes, it is absolutely true: no matter how much you won at a Canadian casino or a local Canadian sports betting site, you don’t owe anything to the Canada Revenue Agency. There is some clause, though: it all concerns exclusively non-professional gamblers, but let’s be honest: it is hard to prove that anyone makes their living from making sports bets.
Canadian Online Betting Statistics
A little about figures: don’t worry, we collected the less boring statistical facts to show you the overall state of the Canadian betting industry.
Let’s review them in the form of a brief list:
According to the WHO, more than 200,000 problematic gamblers reside in Canada;
About 1,000,000 Canadian bettors are at a high risk of having a gambling problem;
More than 75% of Canadians gamble at least occasionally; more than 19 million residents of Canada are active gamblers;
The most popular gambling activity is the lottery; its annual revenue reaches more than $1 billion;
Due to Covid-19 Pandemics, the market size of sports betting and other forms of gambling in Canada decreased to $12,75 billion in 2020. However, new sports betting laws may boost income as more Canadians might opt for the local sportsbooks instead of offshore ones;
The three most gambling provinces of Canada are Ontario (39%), Quebec (24%), and British Columbia (13%).
Pros And Cons of Sports Betting in Canada
It seems Canada is very loyal towards bettors, so it is pretty challenging to find significant drawbacks in the whole gambling system and legislation. If we speak about the cons of local sportsbooks, they are pretty obvious.
If not for the new bill released in August 2021, we could add that only Parlays are available at local legal betting sites, but fortunately, it is not relevant anymore. The other cons are pretty significant, though, and could discourage many bettors from any gambling experience in Canada.
However, some advantages overcompensate for these cons:
However, some advantages overcompensate for these cons:
You do not need to pay tax from your gambling winnings;
You can safely and legally opt for any offshore sports betting site accepting Canadians.
These facts make Canada look like one of the best places for making sports bets. If local gambling facilities develop further, it might become a real paradise for sports wagering enthusiasts.
Gamblers have a limited selection of sports, events, and markets to wager;
Odds are not the most lucrative;
Payment options do not include cryptocurrency.
To sum up, let’s briefly enlist the main points of Canadian sports betting. You can wager on sports in every Canadian province, and you can legally choose between local and offshore sportsbooks. Local bookmakers are a part of the State Lottery and rarely offer retail facilities, so Canada is now a land of online sports betting. Now that the most popular bets are available in all Canadian regions, the industry might grow rapidly, so locals are most likely to get many brand new opportunities within the next couple of years.
How Old Should I Be To Bet On Sports In Canada?
It depends on where you bet and what kind of betting site you use. If you wager on sports at a Canadian betting site, your minimum gambling age depends on a particular province law: it can be either 18 or 19. However, there might be stricter age limitations at offshore sportsbooks: some do not accept bettors younger than 21, so make sure you know the rules.
Can I Use Betting Apps In Canada?
Yes, you can! There are official sports betting app issued by the British Columbia lottery. Still, you can also download iOS and Android apps of the best betting sites outside Canada like Bet365, Bodog, or Sports Interaction.
Can I get a bonus when betting at Canadian Betting Sites?
It depends on a sportsbook, but a rare online bookmaker does not have at least a small welcome bonus for newcomers. For instance, there is a 100% deposit bonus of up to $250 at the PlayNow sportsbook and some lucrative promotions for slots and casino games, too. Make sure you made a qualifying deposit and followed terms and conditions before claiming your bonus winnings!
What Betting Sites Accept Crypto in Canada?
Even the best Canadian betting sites do not work with cryptocurrencies. Still, choose to wager with, for instance, Bodog, Betway, or PowerPlay (offshore bookmakers legal in Canada). You will have Bitcoin, Litecoin, and other alternative currency options at your cashier.
Last updated on 05 Nov 2021- 16:40
Author: Harry Sunderland
As a former successful professional bettor, Harry Sunderland has developed analytical thinking skills helping him to make the right picks for sports events. His specific interest in MMA allows him to provide ... the readers with accurate ideas and create comprehensive guides and reviews on the UFC fights and combatants. Being a huge Soccer fan, Sunderland has much to tell readers about the game nuances and the most probable match outcomes.Show more
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