No Canadian province has as many opportunities to gamble as Ontario. You can choose from luxury casino resorts, horse racing tracks, OTB offices and a huge list of bingo halls. Add to this online gambling, sports betting (via Pro-Line), poker and a thriving lottery.
With 25 casinos, there are more than 40,000 slots and video lottery terminals in this province. The venues range in size from the mega-resorts at Niagara Falls and Windsor to mid-sized tribal casinos. You can play slots from all the big game producers, many of which have progressive jackpots.
This page has you covered for every type of gambling in Ontario. The best casinos, poker rooms, and racetracks are covered below. Details of the laws governing both live and online gambling in the province are also there.
Until 1985, gambling in Ontario consisted of pari-mutuel wagering on horse races and games of chance at a summer fair like Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) does more than simply oversee Ontario’s gambling laws. This commission operates some 25 casinos and racetracks — and directly controls the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.
Ontario passed the Gaming Control Act in 1992. The gambling age is 19 or older. Significant fines were introduced for casinos allowing underage gamblers in an amendment to the main act in 1997. This act allowed for commercial and charitable casinos, bingo halls and charitable gambling, sports betting on multiple games and lottery activity.
In most of Canada, online gambling is in a grey area. The national laws predate the internet. They do not make it illegal to gamble at offshore sites — as long as the sites are not located in Canada. Ontario is one of a few provinces (along with British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba) to have its own online gambling portal. PlayOLG has casino games, sports betting and video poker games.
It is estimated the OLG turns over $1.8 billion in gambling profits from these operations to the Ontario government annually.
The OLG has also committed to a gambling expansion and modernization plan that is expected to include an expansion of gambling operations at Woodbine Racetrack in the Greater Toronto Area and several other properties.
Ontario is packed with casinos. The biggest is owned by the provincial government via the OLGC and has thousands of slots and table games. There are smaller casinos on native reservations.
Here are the biggest casinos in Ontario:
There are many more casinos in Ontario. They include the brand-new Pickering Resort, Hard Rock Casino, Georgian Downs Casino and more. In addition to these large resorts, you will find smaller and mid-sized casinos in cities around Ontario. Some are operated by the OLGC, with others tribally owned and managed.
Ontario residents can play online casino games, video poker and bingo and bet on sports at the government-owned PlayOLG. This site was developed by casino giants IGT and High 5 Games.
You can access this portal via your desktop or a mobile device. There are around 100 casino games, covering popular table game formats like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat online. Slots include electronic versions of classics you will find at live casinos in Ontario, including Cleopatra and Da Vinci Diamonds. There is a live dealer casino option, video poker, and bingo.
You have a choice of live poker rooms in Ontario. Many of the big commercial casinos have dedicated rooms for Texas Hold ’em, Omaha, and other poker variants. Tournaments include daily, weekly and special events — with qualifiers to big pro events like the World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker also available.
Caesars Windsor has a popular poker room. It is located on the second floor of the resort and features 14 tables, with a busy schedule of tournaments plus cash games running around the clock. There is a mix of bounty tournaments, ladies-only events, and deep-stacked games.
The poker room at Casino Niagara is named LEV2L. It is open around the clock and features 26 tables. This room caters to high-stakes players and offers a bad beat jackpot for players who get beaten holding quad kings or better.
Other venues with busy poker rooms include the Casino Rama, Hard Rock Casino Ottawa, and the Gateway Casino Innisfil. Many Ontario residents head to the bigger offshore poker sites. Big-name brands that could come to Ontario if they legalize online gambling include PokerStars, WSOP, and BetMGM Poker.
Betting on single games is not possible anywhere in Canada under national law. Ontario has put legislation in place for different variations of parlay betting. Called Pro-Line, it allows you to bet on parlays of two-plus games in different ways. There are totals (over/unders) and props variations, as well as home/away-style multiples bets.
Bills to expand sports betting have been introduced, though at the time of writing none have made it through the committee.
You can bet on horse races both live and via simulcast in Ontario. Bets are pooled (pari-mutuel format). Races from Canada, the US, and around the world are streamed to OTB offices and racetracks around the province.
If and when full sportsbooks are allowed, the larger casinos in Ontario are in a great position to take advantage. Expect to see Las Vegas-style sportsbooks appear in big casinos like Fallsview, Caesars Windsor, and Casino Rama.
The OLGC has raised an impressive $55 billion for various causes and economic development. The Ontario lottery started in 1975 with the “Wintario” game. Today there are multiple draws, instant games (including scratch cards), casino games, sports betting via parlays and poker available online. Retail outlets sell tickets to draws that can pay life-changing money in various formats.
Here are the biggest games:
Keno, Ontario 49 and instant win games give you extra ways to win jackpot prizes. The free online casino games section of the OLGC site includes slots, table games and video poker options (including live dealer games). You can bet on sports via the lottery portal, with the Pro-Line app available to download for those who enjoy regular sports betting.
The Ontario Lottery has a community sponsorship program. This primarily funds community festivals, including local festivals and events, plus civic events in areas with OLGC operations.
Charitable gambling licenses are issues by either the province or municipalities in Ontario. Licenses are required for bingo, super jackpot bingo, social gaming events, raffles (physical tickets or electronic), charitable lotteries and break-open (prepackaged bingo) tickets. Small wheel of fortune-style games can also be licensed.
If the event has a prize pool of under $5,500 ($50,000 for lotteries) then it can be licensed by individual municipalities. For bigger events, the AGCO is responsible for licensing.
There are bingo halls throughout the province, which are operated by registered charities or tribes.
Ontario has multiple horse racing tracks. This is the only province to have held a Breeders Cup event. Tracks vary in size from the huge casino racetrack resorts like Woodbine Park to smaller tracks that feature a mix of harness horseraces and speedway motorbike events.
You will also find off-track betting options. These are called “Teletheatres” by the OLGC. They allow bets via pari-mutuel pools on races throughout Canada, the US, and selected events from around the world.
From the giant resorts of Windsor, Toronto and Niagara to the multiple smaller tribal casinos, casino players in Ontario have some of the best casino venues in Canada to choose from. Add in poker rooms, horse racing (including OTB offices) a lottery and charitable gambling, and the choices become world-class.
The PlayOLG portal gives access to online gambling in Ontario. While the list of slots, casino table games and sports bets is smaller than those at offshore sites – the profits do stay in Ontario. The legal gambling age in Ontario is 19, though lottery tickets is 18+.
The PlayOLG website gives Ontario residents an explicitly legal way to gamble online. Big online gambling brands such as Bet365 and 888 Casino do exist. These sites are licensed in Europe, and legally welcome players from Ontario. The national criminal code prevails in the province. This law was created before the internet. It prevents setting up a “gambling house” within Canada’s borders. As long as the sites are located outside of Canada, you can legally play on them for real money.
A recent submission as part of the 2019 budget showed that the provincial government intended to regulate online gambling. This would include breaking the PlayOLG monopoly by licensing Canadian gambling sites. Single-game sports betting would also become legal under proposed legislation. At the time of writing, no legislation has been introduced that would move those plans forward. Single-game wagering already has the backing of representatives from many major sports leagues.
This province splits the gambling age into two. To play the lottery games, you need to be 18 or older. However, casino games and slots are restricted to players who are 19 or older.
No. Ontario does not tax gambling winnings unless you are a “pro” gambler — for example playing poker or betting on sports professionally. You can win lottery games, slots jackpots or strike it lucky with a big parlay bet and keep all your winnings as long as you are not a professional gambler.
Offshore gambling sites do not break any Ontario or federal laws. This makes it legal to gamble for real money at offshore sites. The federal statutes preventing gambling stop the sites from operating “gambling houses” in Canada without a license. They also prevent individuals from entering an unlicensed gambling house. Offshore sites are not located in Canada, and you access them from your own home.
With so many offshore brands welcoming Canadians, it makes sense to avoid “grey markets” and to stick with the biggest and best sites. Choosing sites licensed in reputable jurisdictions is a great starting point. The European licensing bodies like Malta, Gibraltar and the Isle of Man have strong oversight. Gambling at sites licensed in the Caribbean (Curacao, Panama and so on) carries a lot more risk.