Canada Online Sports Betting
Sports betting is legal in Canada. That means sports bettors can access regulated online sportsbook apps in every province and territory.
Some of the biggest sports betting operators now live in Ontario include: BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, BetRivers, PointsBet, and Bwin. The NFL season is here, and there will be plenty to bet on in the coming months.
Whether through the open legal market in Ontario, a provincial sportsbook site, or a lottery, PlayCanada will connect you with the safest, legal sports betting apps in Canada.
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Is sports betting legal in Canada?
Yes. Sports betting is legal in Canada and has been for some time. However, in 2021, Parliament passed a new law allowing each province to determine how it will regulate single-event sports betting. Before the change, the law permitted only multi-leg (parlay) bets.
Provinces have already tweaked their sports lottery products to allow single-game betting. That includes Ontario, which broke up Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s online gambling monopoly. With the expanded market, the province welcomed an array of legal online sportsbooks on April 4, 2022. The market now boasts more than 30 legal Ontario sportsbooks, including BetMGM and Caesars. And we expect many more will follow.
Currently, Ontario is the only province allowing private online sportsbooks. Recently, however, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke filed a legal motion to either quash Ontario’s fledging online gambling regime or win Indigenous interest a legal carve-out. We’ll be keeping an eye on what happens.
Otherwise, you can still bet legally on sports in the rest of the country — but only via a provincial sportsbook or lottery. Here’s where sports betting is available in Canada:
|Province||Online Betting?||Provincial Sports Lottery||Sports Betting Site|
|British Comlumbia||Yes||Play Now||PlayNow.com|
|Prince Edward Island||Yes||Proline||ALC.ca|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||Yes||Proline||ALC.ca|
|Saskatchewan (Nunavut, Yukon, and Northwest Territories)||No||SPORT SELECT||SportSelect.com (bet building only)|
Top Canada sportsbook apps
Online sports betting in Ontario is here. Here’s a look at the major sportsbooks that have launched since April 4. They may also appear elsewhere in Canada should other provinces change their rules:
- What’s Great: Quality odds available daily
- Room for Improvement: Navigation could be easier in some spots
- BetMGM Canada Launch Date: April 4, 2022
- Our Full Review: BetMGM Sportsbook
If there’s a bigger name in gambling than Caesars, it’s MGM. To start with, BetMGM Sportsbook offers quality banking options. Add in dependable software, competitive lines and BetMGM appears well-positioned to make a name for itself in Canada. The player prop menu and layout at BetMGM are really tough to beat. As opposed to clicking through each game on the docket, you’ll see a clean listing of all of the available options for each contest. Beyond the time savings, it’s awesome to see it all in one spot.
- What’s Great: Rewards program, house specials, game wagers menu
- Room for Improvement: The website layout is a bit cluttered
- BetRivers Canada Launch Date: April 4, 2022
- Our Full Review: BetRivers Sportsbook
BetRivers Sportsbook stands out thanks to a quality loyalty program. The lines will be competitive, the software will be functional, and the sportsbook brand could end up being a player in the Canadian market. Among the great features at BetRivers is its layout of additional bets. Once you click through a contest, you’ll see a crystal clear menu with an abundance of options to choose from, including some props and alternate wagers that you just won’t see everywhere else.
- What’s Great: Odds are always on point
- Room for Improvement: Navigation could be slicker
- Caesars Canada Launch Date: April 4, 2022
- Our Full Review: Caesars Sportsbook
The Caesars app is filled with choices, ranging from the most popular sports to those that don’t attract anywhere near as much betting volume. Caesars has been ramping up its presence in a big way, including improved value for potential bettors with competitive lines. Regardless of when and what you bet, Casesars has an extensive catalog and user-friendly app to meet your needs. Players must be 21+ to bet at Caesars Sportsbook.
- What’s Great: Live betting, betting pools, prop betting
- Room for Improvement: Could use more same-game parlay options
- DraftKings Canada Launch Date: May 18, 2022
- Our Full Review: DraftKings Sportsbook
With its roots in daily fantasy sports, DraftKings Sportsbook offers an array of wagering options, including an impressive variety of live betting markets. As an added bonus, betting pools allow you to match wits with other bettors while competing for real prizes, a feature not available elsewhere.
Other sportsbooks available in Ontario:
- Bally Bet: The American sportsbook is live in a few states, including New York, and is now officially in Ontario.
- theScore Bet: The long-time Canadian media company launched its sportsbook on April 4, 2022 in Ontario. theScore Bet now operates its own tech stack to provide the sportsbook interface. As it is part of the Penn Entertainment / Barstool Sports family, that Canadian tech will soon be used in Barstool Sportsbook locations in the US.
- 888 Sports: 888 Sports went from the grey market to the legal market on April 4, 2022.
- Unibet Sportsbook: Another former grey market brand, Unibet joined the regulated market on launch day.
- bet365: A well-known European brand, Bet365 Ontario arrived on April 4, 2022 as a legal sportsbook. Existing users needed to download a new app and transfer their accounts in the process.
- NorthStar Bets: The Toronto Star announced a partnership with NorthStar Gaming to launch an online betting brand, NorthStar Bets.
- Pinnacle: A major grey-market operator. Pinnacle has received a license from the AGCO and just started legally serving Ontario sports bettors.
- Bet99: Another big grey-market sportsbook, Bet99 has now gone legal in Ontario. Bet99 is famous for having Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews as its ambassador.
How to choose the right sportsbook
The competitive sports betting market brings a number of new online sportsbooks to Canada. That means you have choices in terms of what sportsbooks are best for you. Ultimately, it’ll be a personal choice, but there are certain criteria we recommend you consider:
- Make sure the sportsbook is legal and regulated in the province. It’ll carry the provincial seal if it is.
- Make sure the sportsbook has the betting options you’re after. They’ve all got the big four, but if you’re into betting on obscure table tennis or rugby action, you might have to do some digging.
- Make sure the sportsbook has the features you like. Odds are fairly consistent across the board, but make sure that is the case at the book you’re looking at. And make sure it offers betting options you like, such as parlays and same-game parlays.
- Test the mobile betting app. The easier to use, the better. This is especially true if you’re going to get into live betting, where things happen fast.
Need more help deciding? Here are some sportsbooks to look at if you’re planning to bet on particular sports or leagues:
- Best for CFL Betting: This will likely be PointsBet. It is building a distinct Canadian business with Canadian management and operations team.
- Best for NFL Betting: Hands down, it’s DraftKings. It is an official sports betting partner of the league, and it offers highlights, footage, Next Gen Stats and more. Plus, it runs free-to-play NFL games in addition to all of its betting options.
- Best for NBA Betting: This will most likely be FanDuel. It is an authorized gaming operator of the league, giving it access to official NBA betting data, and it offers a variety of NBA bets. Plus, FanDuel is where you’ll find things like NBA parlays, enhanced tip-off odds, and parlay and fourth-quarter insurance.
- Best for NHL Betting: Again, this one goes to DraftKings. DraftKings is the official sports betting partner of the league. DraftKings is also the exclusive sportsbook for Bleacher Report’s coverage of the league.
- Best for MLB Betting: This will most likely be BetMGM. MGM Resorts International was the first official gaming partner of MLB, and BetMGM is now one of just two official sports betting partners of the league. BetMGM uses MLB’s official stats feed to offer customers enhanced stats and competitive betting prices.
Benefits of legal online sports betting in Canada
You’ve been able to place parlay-style bets via provincial lotteries in Canada for decades. But parlays are tough to win, and the monopoly the lotteries enjoyed meant that their odds had no competition. If you wanted better odds or more traditional single-game bets, you could always take your action to an offshore sportsbook, but that meant taking a risk. Estimates suggest Canadians have been willing to take that risk, with billions bet at offshore sportsbooks annually. In the meantime, the sports lottery parlays were drawing just $500 million a year in bets. Legal online sports betting changes all of that, bringing the following benefits:
- Consumer Protection: If you bet at a legal site in a province, you can turn to the province if something goes awry.
- Tax Dollars: If you bet with provincial lotteries or provincially licensed sportsbooks, those profits or taxes will go back into your community.
- A Chance to Win: Picking multiple winners in a parlay is difficult. You’ve got a much better shot at winning if you bet on just one thing.
- Fair Odds: Provincial lotteries are now on equal footing with what bets they can offer, and fair pricing is the only way they’ll be able to compete with offshore sportsbooks. In Ontario, online sportsbooks will have to offer fair prices to compete with one another.
How to spot a legal sports betting site
Online sportsbooks in Canada carry a copyright mark, seal of approval or licensing information from the provincial lottery or provincial gambling authority. If you can’t find that on the website, then that sportsbook likely doesn’t have provincial approval.
Of course, offshore sportsbooks are not above faking it, so you must look for other signs of legitimacy. Start with the domain. If it’s .ag or .lv instead of .com or .ca, it’s not legitimate. Continue with the banking options. Legal and licensed sportsbooks use legitimate banking methods in association with Canadian banks. They don’t accept cryptocurrency. Offshore sites do, and they’ll try to fool Canadian banks into dealing with them by hiding the nature of your deposits. Both of these are signs you’re dealing with an offshore sportsbook. Also, look out for odds posted for sketchy events. You can’t bet on unsanctioned fights or other illegal events at legitimate provincial lottery sportsbooks or provincially licensed sportsbooks.
Popular sports to bet on in Canada
With the exception of the NFL, all major North American sports leagues have teams in Canada. You can bet on them all at legal sportsbooks. And you’ll also be able to bet on the NFL and other major pro and college sports leagues that don’t have teams in Canada, like the English Premier League and NCAA football and basketball.
That means fans of every team from the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Canucks to the Winnipeg Jets, Toronto FC, Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Blue Jays and more will find wagering options.
What kind of bets are available? You can bet on standard moneylines, point spreads, totals, props, futures and more. Place a moneyline bet on the Raptors against the New York Knicks or trade points for better odds on the point spread. Bet that there will be more than 55 points in a CFL or NFL game. Put some money down on the Leafs ending their long championship drought or that Leafs’ captain John Tavares will score tonight. And those are just a few of the options.
How to start betting on sports online
The first step in betting online is to head over to a provincial lottery sportsbook or another online sportsbook that’s legal in the province where you are. If there’s a mobile betting app available, download and install it on your phone or tablet. Just make sure your device meets the minimum operating requirements, and you should be able to download the app directly from the website or through links to app stores. If there are no sports betting apps available, or you don’t want to use them, stick with the sportsbook website. Either way, getting started is a simple process:
- Sign up for an Account: Sign up for an account by entering some personal and account information on the registration form at the website or app. Use sign-up codes that PlayCanada lists.
- Deposit Funds: Add funds to your account using any deposit method that suits you. You should find a list of them under the cashier or banking tab on the website or app. Most will offer everything from Interac to credit and debit cards, online banking and PayPal.
- Browse and Bet: Look through the betting options and click on any bet you like. This will create a bet slip that you can use to place a bet, multiple bets or a parlay.
How legal sports betting came to Canada
A federal ban used to prohibit single-game sports betting in Canada. The law allowed only limited parlay betting via provincial lottery corporations. In 2021, however, Canada passed the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, repealing the part of the Criminal Code that made single-game sports betting illegal. That cleared the way for individual provinces to allow this type of betting, either through their own lottery corporations or licensed online sportsbooks.
In late August 2021, single-game betting launched via provincial lotteries in Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.
Alberta came online in September, and Saskatchewan and Canada’s three northern territories — Nunavut, Yukon and Northwest Territories — followed in November.
More recently, all eyes have shifted their focus to Ontario. The biggest province in Canada is the first one to offer competitive sports betting market with multiple sportsbook apps available. If the move proves successful, other provinces are almost certain to follow suit.
Canada sports betting FAQ
No, but you must be inside the province to place a bet with its provincial lottery, whether you do it online, at a lottery retailer or at a lottery kiosk. In Ontario, the same goes for online sportsbooks and casinos.
Provincial lottery corporations or gambling authorities regulate sports betting in each province.
Currently, the provincial lottery corporation that is offering the odds will set them. Of course, these corporations may hire outside entities to set odds for them. For example, The BC Lottery Corp. hired Paddy Power Betfair, now Flutter Entertainment, to run sports betting operations and set odds for PlayNow.com in 2012. Flutter’s sports betting technology provider, Scientific Games, took over the existing contract in 2020 and signed an extension through 2024.
Most lottery winnings are not taxable under the Canada Income Tax Act. The same goes for gambling winnings. That means you probably don’t have to pay taxes whether you consider sports bet winnings a lottery or gambling win. However, if sports betting is your job or a business, and the money you win is a source of income, you might have to pay taxes on that. Consult a Canadian tax lawyer if you have questions.
Provincial lottery corporations and legal online sportsbooks will both set limits on the number of accounts you can have and bets you can make at an individual sportsbook. Skirting around those limits could be considered fraud.
Perhaps the best part about legal Canadian sports betting is that the province is there to handle any disputes that arise. Provincial lotteries and gambling authorities will regulate sports betting and give you somewhere to turn if something goes awry.
As we’ve already mentioned, if you bet at a licensed sportsbook, you can turn to the provincial lottery corporation for help if you run into trouble. Offshore sportsbooks don’t offer anything near that. They could disappear with your money or decline or delay paying out your winnings. There’s also no guarantee of security for your funds or personal information, and banking can be difficult.
Each province sets its own minimum age for betting on sports. In most, it’s 19, but only 18 in Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec.
Right now, Ontario is the only province to have opened its sports betting market to online sportsbooks like DraftKings and FanDuel. However, British Columbia, Alberta and other provinces could follow suit in the future.