Canada Sports Betting Starts Today: What You Need To Know

Posted on August 27, 2021
Written By on August 27, 2021

The new-look Canada sports betting market launches today with multiple provinces diving into single-game wagering.

On Friday, several provincial lotteries will launch expanded product offerings, allowing the first legal single-event sports betting in Canada. There was some delay between the Senate of Canada passing bill C-218 and the setting of its effective date, but that allowed more options to be ready for launch. 

Canadian Gaming Association President and CEO Paul Burns says sports betting in Canada is “heading in the right direction.”

“We don’t really know why [the federal government] waited so long … there was some politics to it,” Burns said. “Now, there’s more people ready to go on the actual live date. No one has to wait too long for at least some access to the products. It’s great to see something rolling out.”

Lotteries first to offer single-game Canada sports betting

It is important to note that C-218 made it possible for provinces to regulate sports betting in Canada but did not legalize wagering nationwide. That decision belongs to individual provinces.

The following lotteries will launch single-game sports products today or “shortly thereafter,” according to Burns:

  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • Ontario
  • Quebec

Provincial lotteries have already been able to offer parlay bets on sports events.

Ontario is launching its ProLine+ product, while British Columbia is building out its PlayNow offerings. The CA sports betting lottery options from the two largest provinces are also used in smaller provinces.

“Because of the position in the market, they’re able to do it as an already legal provider with a regime in place to do offer it,” Burns said. “Just like Ontario can get retail sportsbooks open ASAP.”

Retail sports betting in Ontario

There are 24 gaming facilities in Ontario, including a Caesars in Windsor, under the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. 

Casinos in the province can launch retail sportsbooks as soon as there are some regulatory standards in place, Burns said. 

“Those could open before the online market as well,” he said.

Open market in Ontario

Major sportsbook operators appear eager to launch into Ontario, which would be the fifth-largest state in the US by population. With everything falling into place, the Ontario sports betting market could become vibrant.

The AGCO closed the comment period for its proposed sports betting regulations last week. Guidelines for iGaming applications are available, but not for sports betting at this time. 

Provincial regulators put a goal to have a robust, open market for online gaming by December 2021. Burns said he believes applications for online gaming operators could be available by late September.

“Ontario is in the final stages,” he said. “When online gaming in Ontario opens, we’ll see the beginning of a lot of options and really great customer choice.”

Other provinces working on open sports betting in Canada

While Ontario is quickly moving toward an open market, a few other provinces have notable movement, according to Burns. Others are watching the situation unfold before opening up beyond their lotteries.

Alberta regulators are working through responses from a request for information process earlier this year. That request sought input on retail sportsbooks with mobile options, which Burns said could end up like the tethered model seen across much of the US sports betting landscape.

Saskatchewan gave its online sports betting authority to the province’s Indian Gaming Authority, so partnerships with commercial sportsbooks could form there too.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Las Vegas-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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