Over the last years, the landscape of sports betting in Canada, particularly in Ontario, has undergone significant changes. On August 27, 2021, the federal ban on single-game sports betting was lifted, giving way to a new era of regulated online gambling in the country. Ontario led the charge, launching its iGaming market on April 4, 2022, and welcoming third-party online operators for the first time. This marked a major shift in the betting world, creating new opportunities and a safer environment for consumers.
In this page, we will explore the changes in Ontario’s sports betting laws, how they impact the betting experience, and the role of iGaming Ontario and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) in regulating the industry. We will also discuss the transition from parlay betting to single-game betting and the overall impact of these changes on bettors, the government, and sportsbooks. Stay tuned for a comprehensive guide to the evolving sports betting landscape in Ontario.
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Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Ontario?
In short – Yes, sports betting is indeed legal in Ontario. The province has made significant strides in recent years to create a regulated and safe environment for sports betting enthusiasts. The federal ban on single-game sports betting in Canada was lifted on August 27, 2021, paving the way for provinces to legalize and regulate sports betting.
Ontario was the first province to take advantage of the new legislation, launching its iGaming market on April 4, 2022. The introduction of iGaming Ontario, in collaboration with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), has allowed the province to oversee and regulate online sports betting operators, ensuring they adhere to strict standards, protect their users, and maintain fairness.
Prior to the legalization of single-game sports betting, Ontario residents could only participate in parlay betting through provincially-run services like Proline or the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). However, with the new regulations in place, single-game betting is now legal and accessible through multiple licensed online sportsbooks.
The legalization of sports betting in Ontario has led to a safer and more regulated betting environment for consumers. By granting licenses to betting operators, iGaming Ontario ensures that these sites meet strict security, fairness, and infrastructure requirements. This offers bettors a higher level of confidence in the safety and legitimacy of the sportsbooks they use.
In summary, sports betting is legal in Ontario, thanks to recent changes in legislation and the establishment of iGaming Ontario and the AGCO. These regulatory bodies have transformed the sports betting landscape, allowing residents to engage in single-game betting and ensuring a secure and fair experience for all.
How Did it All Start?
Gambling in Canada remained unregulated until 1892, when the Criminal Code of Canada was introduced, banning all gambling activities except horse wagering and games at small midways or carnivals. In 1969, the Criminal Code was amended to permit small-stakes gambling for charities. This led to the passing of Bill C-150, which allowed provincial and federal governments to use lotteries for funding specific activities, such as the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal.
In 1985, another amendment granted provinces the exclusive authority to conduct and manage lotteries and lottery schemes, including games operated via computers, video devices, or slot machines. This enabled provincial lotteries to offer parlay markets for popular North American sports events, with moneyline wagering being the only option available and each parlay requiring at least three legs.
In 1992, provincial governments introduced parlay betting product PROLINE and other similar sports lottery products at retail locations to combat illegal bookmaking. As the popularity of the World Wide Web grew in the early 1990s, independent gray market operators from places like Costa Rica, Gibraltar, and the Isle of Man started accepting bets from Canadian customers, offering them a variety of markets and higher bet limits.
Several bills were drafted to legalize single-event sports betting and tax the revenue domestically. Although Bill C-290 passed in the House of Commons in 2012, it was voted down in the Senate in 2015, and a second attempt in 2016 also failed. Despite this, online sports wagering continued to grow in Canada, with estimates of around $14 billion (CAD) gambled illegally each year.
Ontario Sports Betting Timeline
- March 2, 2023 – iGaming Ontario’s Dave Forestell pledges to combat illegal sports betting, expecting more legal operators in the province this year.
- February 13, 2023 – iGaming Ontario reveals a 91% increase in total wagers in Q4 2022, reaching over $11.5 billion.
- January 26, 2023 – iGaming Ontario reports a 71% increase in total gaming revenue for Q3, with $457 million earned compared to $267 million in Q2.
- January 19, 2023 – Ontario bettors can once again wager on UFC events after a nearly two-month suspension due to an integrity scandal in December.
- November 3, 2022 – Saskatchewan launches its BCLC-powered PlayNow sportsbook.
- April 4, 2022 – Online gambling and sport and event betting operators that have completed AGCO’s registration process and have a signed operating agreement with iGaming Ontario can begin offering their regulated games and betting platforms to eligible Ontarians of legal age.
- April 4, 2022 – Ontario launches its iGaming market, becoming the first provincial government to welcome third-party online operators for sports betting.
- February 11, 2022 – Nova Scotia becomes the final province to legalize single-event wagering.
- August 27, 2021 – The federal ban on single-game sports betting in Canada is officially lifted with the passage of Bill C-218, the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act.
- 2016 – A second attempt to legalize single-event sports betting is also unsuccessful.
- 2015 – Bill C-290, which aimed to legalize single-event sports betting, is voted down in the Senate after passing in the House of Commons in 2012.
- Early 2000s – The popularity of the World Wide Web leads to a surge in Canadian customers using independent gray market operators for sports betting, offering a wider range of markets and higher bet limits.
How Betting Laws Protect the Users
Betting laws are designed to not only regulate the industry but also to protect users from potential risks and unethical practices. In this section, we will discuss how betting laws in Ontario safeguard users and ensure a secure and responsible betting environment.
User Protection Measures
- Active Monitoring of Betting Markets: Betting laws require operators to actively monitor the betting markets for any suspicious betting activity. This helps to maintain the integrity of the betting process and protect users from potential fraud or manipulation.
- Independent Integrity Monitors (IIMs): Operators are mandated to engage AGCO-registered Independent Integrity Monitors (IIMs). These monitors are responsible for receiving, assessing, and distributing unusual or suspicious betting alerts in compliance with the Registrar’s Standards. You can learn more about AGCO-registered IIMs here.
- Prohibition of Insider Betting: Betting laws prohibit insiders, such as coaches, athletes, and referees, from betting on certain events. This measure prevents potential conflicts of interest and ensures the fairness of the sporting event.
- Acceptable Betting Criteria: Betting laws mandate that sport and event offerings meet acceptable betting criteria and are not objectionable. This provision ensures that betting opportunities are appropriate and do not promote any harmful or unethical activities.
Betting laws in Ontario are designed to protect users by maintaining the integrity of the betting process and promoting responsible gambling practices. By adhering to these regulations, operators can create a safe and enjoyable betting environment for all users.
Ensuring a Safe and Secure Experience
While the legality of online sports betting is a crucial aspect to consider, it is not the only factor that users should take into account when choosing where to bet.
- Security: The website should use advanced encryption technology, such as SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificates, to protect user data and transactions from potential cyber threats.
- Secure Deposit and Withdrawal Methods: The betting site should offer a range of secure and reputable payment methods, including credit cards, e-wallets, and bank transfers, to ensure the safety of users’ financial transactions.
- Responsible Gaming Measures: The platform should have responsible gambling policies and tools in place, such as self-exclusion options, deposit limits, and time-outs, to help users maintain control over their betting behavior.
- Licensing and Regulation: The site should be licensed and regulated by a reputable gambling authority, such as the AGCO in Ontario, to ensure that it operates in compliance with local laws and industry standards.
- Customer Service: A reliable customer support team should be available to assist users with any questions or concerns, preferably via multiple channels such as live chat, email, and phone.
- Fair Play and Game Integrity: The site should use random number generators (RNGs) to ensure fair play in casino games and have measures in place to prevent match-fixing or other forms of cheating in sports betting.
- Independent Auditing and Testing: The platform should be regularly audited and tested by independent third-party organizations to verify the fairness and integrity of its games and betting offerings.
- User Reviews and Reputation: Users should consider the experiences and opinions of other players by reading reviews and researching the site’s reputation in the online gambling community.
- Clear and Accessible Information: The betting site should provide users with easy-to-understand information about odds, betting markets, and how to place bets, helping users make informed decisions.
Always look for the logo! Keep an eye out for the iGaming Ontario logo when choosing a platform to play on, as it signifies that the site is operated and overseen by iGaming Ontario. This ensures that the platform provides player protection and adheres to Ontario’s stringent standards for game integrity and responsible gambling.
Who can bet in Ontario?
How do I know if an online sports betting site is licensed and regulated in Ontario?
Are my personal and financial details safe when betting online in Ontario?
What responsible gambling tools and resources are available for users in Ontario?
When can I bet in Ontario?
Eligibility Criteria for Sports Betting in Ontario
By understanding the requirements and restrictions for license holders and bettors, you can make informed decisions about your sports betting experience.
Operator Eligibility: Meeting the Licensing Standards
To secure a license, sportsbooks are required to meet the regulatory standards established by iGaming and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. These standards include:
- Having their technology tested and certified by a third-party organization to ensure fairness and reliability.
- Submitting comprehensive financial information to demonstrate financial stability and integrity.
- Implementing control activities to maintain secure operations and protect user data.
- Ensuring adherence to responsible gambling practices, including protecting vulnerable individuals and promoting safe betting habits.
- The licensing process is rigorous and ongoing, designed to maintain high industry standards and consumer confidence.
User Eligibility: Who Can Place Bets?
There are specific criteria that users must meet to place bets in Ontario. To be eligible, individuals must:
- Reside in Ontario and have a registered address within the province.
- Be physically present in Ontario while placing bets. Some websites may require the use of a geo-tracker to confirm the user’s location.
- Be at least 19 years old, which is the legal gambling age in Ontario.
- By meeting these requirements, bettors can enjoy the diverse range of legal sports betting options available in the province.
Single-Game vs Parlay Betting: Understanding the Options
The legalization of single-game sports betting in Canada on August 27, 2021, with the passage of Bill C-218, introduced new opportunities for bettors. Previously, Canadians were restricted to parlay bets, which required wagering on multiple games’ outcomes.
Single-game betting allows for a diverse range of betting options, with provinces regulating and licensing sports betting operators. In Ontario, iGaming Ontario (iGO) oversees the market.
- Single-game betting: This type of bet focuses on one event or game, with various markets like moneyline, point spread, or over/under. To win, the bet’s condition must be met within that game.
- Parlay betting: Also known as a multiple or accumulator, parlay bets combine two or more wagers into a single bet. To win, all individual bets must be correct. While one incorrect bet results in a loss, the potential payout is higher due to the multiplied odds of each bet, offering a larger return for successful parlays.
Benefits of Playing on a Regulated Site
Playing on a regulated sports betting site offers numerous advantages, including transparency, accurate payouts, and data security. In contrast, unregulated sites pose risks, such as questionable game transparency, delayed or withheld payouts, and potential data exposure. Understanding these differences can help bettors make informed decisions when choosing a sports betting platform.
|Benefits of Playing on a Regulated Site
|Risks of Playing on an Unregulated Site
|Transparent play for all games is ensured.
|Game transparency is not ensured.
|Accurate pay out of your winnings.
|Payouts may not be timely or accurate and could be withheld or delayed.
|Personal information and data are secure.
|Your personal information and data may not be secured, exposing your data to third-parties or the public without your consent.
Using a licensed site provides bettors with a safer, more secure, and better-regulated betting environment. This ensures fair play, responsible gambling, and protection for users in case of disputes or other issues.
- Consumer Protection: Licensed sites are required to adhere to strict consumer protection guidelines, ensuring fair play and responsible gambling practices. Unlicensed sites may not follow these guidelines, putting bettors at risk.
- Dispute Resolution: Licensed sites are subject to regulatory oversight, providing bettors with a clear avenue for resolving disputes or addressing concerns. Unlicensed sites may lack a formal dispute resolution process, leaving bettors with limited recourse if issues arise.
- Financial Stability: Licensed operators are typically required to demonstrate financial stability, ensuring that they can pay out winnings to customers. Unlicensed sites may not be subject to these requirements, potentially putting bettors’ funds at risk.
- Tax Contributions: Licensed sites contribute to the local economy through taxes and fees, supporting government services and infrastructure. Unlicensed sites often operate outside the tax system, depriving the community of these benefits.
- Adherence to Local Laws: Licensed sites must comply with all applicable laws and regulations in Ontario, ensuring that bettors are participating in a legal and well-regulated environment. Unlicensed sites may not adhere to local laws, potentially exposing bettors to legal risks.
Why Should I Use a Licensed Site?
While there might be unlicensed websites that appear trustworthy, it is always safer and more secure to use licensed iGaming platforms in Ontario.
By choosing a licensed site, you can be confident that it has been regulated and overseen by the Ontario government. This ensures legality and the highest possible standards for safe and responsible sports betting.
Betting on a licensed site offers peace of mind, knowing that your personal information, financial transactions, and gaming experience are protected and monitored by a reputable authority.
According to iGaming Ontario, each operator should provide unique tools to promote responsible gambling, but all operators have deposit, loss, and time limits in common, helping you stay within your budget.
- Deposit limits – Set a maximum deposit amount for your digital wallet within a specific time frame, such as a $50 monthly limit.
- Loss limits – Choose a maximum amount you’re willing to lose (subtracting winnings from the amount spent) within a defined period, like a $25 daily limit.
- Time limits – Determine a maximum time spent playing over a set period, for example, no more than 2 hours per day.
These limits can be set for 24-hour, weekly, or monthly periods. Operators may offer additional tools, so make sure to explore all available options for a responsible and enjoyable gaming experience.
Ensuring Safe and Fair Online Betting in Ontario
These are the entities that work together to maintain a secure, legal, and fair sports betting environment in Ontario. They establish and enforce regulations, monitor operators, and address any issues that may arise, ensuring that bettors can enjoy a safe and trustworthy gaming experience.
Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO): The AGCO is an independent regulatory authority responsible for overseeing and regulating various sectors, including gaming and sports betting in Ontario. They set standards, issue licenses, and enforce compliance with regulations to ensure a safe and fair gambling environment.
iGaming Ontario (iGO): A subsidiary of the AGCO, iGaming Ontario is responsible for regulating and overseeing the province’s online gaming market. They manage the licensing process for online gaming operators and ensure that licensed sites adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the AGCO.
To protect players, the AGCO and iGaming Ontario enforce the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming, Internet Gaming, and Lottery sectors, which are essential components of their sport and event betting regulatory framework. Operators in Ontario must comply with these standards, which focus on safeguarding players and maintaining market integrity.
To minimize the risk of compromised betting markets through insider betting or game manipulation, the standards require:
- Active monitoring of betting markets by operators to identify suspicious betting activity.
- Engagement of independent integrity monitors (IIMs) by operators. IIMs receive, assess, and distribute unusual or suspicious betting alerts in accordance with the Registrar’s Standards. Learn more about AGCO-registered IIMs.
- Prohibition of insiders, such as coaches, athletes, and referees, from betting on specific events.
- Ensuring that sport and event offerings adhere to acceptable betting criteria and are not objectionable.
Am I Playing at A Regulated Site?
Players can easily identify if they are playing on a regulated site by looking for the iGaming Ontario logo. This logo signifies that the site is conducted and managed by iGaming Ontario, adheres to Ontario’s high standards for game integrity and responsible gambling, and offers player protections.
Starting April 4, 2022, online gambling and sport and event betting operators that have completed the AGCO’s registration process and signed an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario can offer their regulated games and betting platforms to eligible Ontarians of legal age.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) also provides regulated online gambling through OLG.ca, which will continue to offer internet gaming after April 4, 2022. Always check for the iGaming Ontario logo when choosing a platform to ensure a safe and secure gaming experience.
iGaming Ontario Tips for a Positive and Responsible Gaming Experience
- Treat gambling as entertainment, not as a means to earn money.
- Set limits on time and money spent, and stick to them.
- Gamble only with money designated for entertainment, not for essentials like food, bills, or rent.
- Be realistic about winning expectations – sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but in the long run, losses will likely exceed wins.
Top Online Sportsbooks
These are the top online sportsbooks available for betting enthusiasts in Ontario. Each sportsbook has its unique features, advantages, and drawbacks, so it’s essential to understand their offerings to find the best fit for your preferences and betting strategies.
We have provided a brief overview of each sportsbook, highlighting their user-friendly platforms, sports coverage, odds, and additional features. Read on to discover which sportsbook suits your needs and get ready to embark on an exciting betting journey.
BetMGM is a collaboration between MGM Resorts International and Entain, offering a user-friendly platform with a wide range of sports and markets. Known for competitive odds, BetMGM provides a cash-out option, bet builder, and in-play betting. However, it has limited availability in Canada. BetMGM is licensed and regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission and in accordance with Ontario sports wagering and internet regulations in the Gaming Control Act, 1992 (“GCA”) Regulation 78/12.
Bet99 is a rising online sportsbook with an intuitive platform, diverse sports, and attractive odds. It features a cash-out option, in-play betting, and customizable bets, but as an emerging brand, it may lack the recognition of more established sportsbooks, and some users may find wagering requirements a drawback. BET99 is licensed and regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario under registration number OPIG1235604.
BetVictor, a well-established sportsbook, boasts a strong reputation, comprehensive sports coverage, and user-friendly platform. It offers a cash-out option, bet builder, and virtual sports betting, but geolocation restrictions may be drawbacks for some users. BetVictor is licenced and regulated as an online gaming operator in the Province of Ontario Canada, by the Alcohol and Gambling Commission of Ontario pursuant to an agreement with iGaming Ontario under licence number OPIG1239051.
BetRivers is a popular online sportsbook providing wide sports coverage, competitive odds, and a user-friendly platform with live betting. It features a cash-out option, bet builder, and loyalty program. However, limited live streaming, wagering requirements, and geolocation restrictions may deter some users. Rush Street Interactive Canada, ULC is licensed in the province of Ontario by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to provide Internet Gaming & Internet Sports Betting services.
Bet365, a globally recognized sportsbook, offers extensive sports coverage, competitive odds, and a user-friendly platform with live streaming. It includes a cash-out option, bet builder, and multi-lingual platform. Bet365 Ontario is fully legal and fully regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
How to Begin Betting on Sports in Ontario
Embarking on your sports betting journey in Ontario has never been easier. To help you get started, we’ve outlined a step-by-step guide that covers everything you need to know how to bet on sports in Ontario, from choosing a sportsbook to placing your first bet.
Step 1: Select a Reputable Sportsbook
The first step in your sports betting journey is to find a trustworthy sportsbook that caters to your preferences. Browse through our list of top Ontario sports betting sites to find one that suits your needs. Consider factors such as odds, betting markets, and user experience when making your decision.
Step 2: Register for an Account
After choosing a sportsbook, you’ll need to register for an account. This process typically involves providing basic personal information such as your name, address, and phone number. Once you’ve completed the registration form, you’ll need to verify your email address to activate your account.
Step 3: Deposit Funds
To start placing bets, you’ll need to deposit money into your sportsbook account. Most sportsbooks accept various popular deposit methods, ensuring a seamless experience. Simply choose your preferred method, decide on a deposit amount, and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.
Step 4: Get Informed
Before placing bets, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the sport and event you’re interested in. You can do this by researching betting tips, analyzing available bets, or reading sports blogs. Many sportsbooks also provide valuable insights and tips on their platforms to help guide your betting decisions.
Step 5: Place Your Bet
Once you’re well-informed and have identified a potential winning outcome, it’s time to place your bet. To do this, navigate to the chosen sport and event, select the odds for the outcome you predict, and confirm your bet. Remember, placing the right bet takes practice, a bit of luck, and diligent research.
By following these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying sports betting in Ontario. As you gain experience and develop your betting strategies, you’ll improve your chances of success and make the most of this exciting pastime.
Popular Sports to Bet in Ontario
Here are some of the most popular sports to bet on in Canada and why they’re so appealing to sports bettors:
🏒 Hockey – Hockey is Canada’s national sport and one of the most popular sports to bet on. The NHL is the most popular hockey league, and Canadian fans have some of the most passionate and loyal fans in the league. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens are two of the most popular Canadian teams to bet on.
🏈 Football – Football is another popular sport for betting in Canada, with the CFL being the most popular league. The CFL has nine teams, including the Toronto Argonauts and the Montreal Alouettes, and the league has a loyal following across the country.
🏀 Basketball – Basketball has grown in popularity in recent years, with the Toronto Raptors winning the NBA championship in 2019. The NBA is the most popular basketball league to bet on, with a wide range of markets and odds available for bettors.
⚾ Baseball – Baseball is another popular sport for betting, with the Toronto Blue Jays being the only Canadian team in the MLB. The MLB is the most popular baseball league, and there are plenty of opportunities to bet on games throughout the season.
⚽ Soccer – Soccer is a global sport with a growing following in Canada, and the MLS is the most popular league to bet on. The league features three Canadian teams, including Toronto FC, the Montreal Impact, and the Vancouver Whitecaps.
🥊 UFC/MMA – The UFC and MMA are popular combat sports to bet on, with a growing number of Canadian fighters in the UFC. The sport offers a wide range of betting options, including individual fights and overall tournaments.
These are just a few examples of the popular sports to bet on in Canada, but there are many other sports and leagues available to bettors.
Betting Markets, Types, and Odds in Canada
When it comes to sports betting in Canada, there are a variety of betting markets, types, and odds available to choose from. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Moneyline Bets: A moneyline bet is the most straightforward type of bet. You simply bet on the team or player you think will win. In Canada, moneyline bets are popular for sports such as hockey, basketball, and football.
Example: In an NHL game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens, you might see odds like this: Toronto -140, Montreal +120. This means that Toronto is the favorite, and you would need to bet $140 to win $100. If you bet on Montreal, you would only need to bet $100 to win $120.
- Point Spread Bets: Point spread bets are another popular type of bet. In this type of bet, the underdog is given a point advantage, and the favorite is given a point disadvantage. The goal is to create a more even betting field. Point spread bets are popular for sports like basketball and football.
Example: In an NBA game between the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics, the point spread might look like this: Toronto -3.5, Boston +3.5. This means that Toronto is favored to win by 3.5 points, and you would need to bet on them to win by more than 3.5 points in order to win your bet.
- Over/Under Bets: An over/under bet, also known as a totals bet, is a bet on the total number of points or goals scored in a game. This type of bet is popular for sports such as hockey and football.
Example: In an NHL game between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers, the over/under might be set at 5.5. You would bet on the over if you think the teams will score a total of 6 or more goals, and on the under if you think they will score 5 or fewer.
- Prop Bets: Prop bets, or proposition bets, are bets on specific events within a game. These can include things like which team will score first, which player will score the most goals, or how many yards a quarterback will throw. Prop bets are popular for sports like football and basketball.
Example: In a CFL game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders, a prop bet might be which team will score the first touchdown. You could bet on either team to score the first touchdown.
- Futures Bets: Futures bets are bets on events that will take place in the future, such as which team will win the championship or which player will win the MVP award. Futures bets are popular for sports like hockey, basketball, and football.
Example: You might place a futures bet on the Toronto Raptors to win the NBA championship before the season begins. If they do win, you would win your bet.
These are just a few examples of the many different betting markets, types, and odds available in Canada. Whether you’re a seasoned bettor or just starting out, there’s sure to be a type of bet that suits your preferences and betting strategy.
Ontario Legal Betting FAQs
Is betting legal in Ontario?
What is the Ontario legal sports betting age?
Can I place bets on all sports in Ontario?
Are online sports betting and land-based sports betting treated the same in Ontario?
What is the licensing process for sportsbooks in Ontario?
Is it legal to use offshore sportsbooks in Ontario?
Are there any restrictions on sports betting advertising in Ontario?
Are winnings from sports betting taxable in Ontario?
How can players know if a site is regulated?
What is a wagering requirement?
What types of responsible gambling tools are available to players?
About the author:
Ryan is an avid sports betting writer with a big passion for the Toronto Maple Leafs. His expertise in analyzing betting odds combined with his knowledge of sports provides readers with valuable insights. When he’s not analyzing odds or cheering for the Leafs, you’ll find Ryan on the basketball court.