Last updated: May 25, 2022
Legal online sports betting is available in Canada, with each province able to regulate sports betting inside its borders. Most provinces have some form of sports betting available via provincial lotteries. But the growth of the Canadian sports betting industry is just beginning.
On April 4, Ontario became the first province to host a competitive sports betting market. There are a multitude of sportsbooks live, including the legacy lottery site Proline as well as TheScore Bet, PointsBet, BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, and BetRivers. More are anticipated to launch soon if they haven’t done so already. Ontario isn’t the only province expanding, either.
Alberta also indicated its intent to allow multiple betting providers by releasing an RFP for two retail sportsbooks. The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority announced that it expects online sports betting to debut in summer 2022.
With so many moving pieces in Canadian sports betting, it’s important to keep up with the evolving situation. Read on for the latest information and news about sports betting in Canada.
Best Ontario sports betting apps 2022
What’s happening in Canada sports betting right now
- May 25, 2022 — Kings Entertainment announced it acquired Sport Venture Holdings, the parent of Canada sports betting gray market operator Bet99. The sportsbook operator is waiting forthe Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario approval.
- May 16, 2022 — DraftKings launched its sportsbook app in Ontario. The operator was approved by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario less than a week prior to its launch.
- May 13, 2022 — More than a month after the commercial market opened in Ontario, DraftKings received approval from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. DraftKings executives said on a recent earnings call they expected a May launch.
- May 4, 2022 — Ontario regulators fined BetMGM and PointsBet for breaching strict advertising rules. Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment and Kambi announced a partnership to launch PlayFallsview brand online platform into the Ontario market.
- April 29, 2022 — Pinnacle is hiring a Canada country manager, according to a job posting. The job is based in Toronto and will be charged with leading the company’s market expansion in Canada. PlayCanada reports Alberta is moving ahead with its commercial sports betting plans.
- April 20, 2022 — OpenBet names former British Columbia Lottery Corp. eGaming Director Stewart Groumoutis as its Canada VP of Commerical. OpenBet works with BCLC, Atlantic Lottery, Ontario Lottery and Gaming and Loto-Quebec on their technology.
- April 19, 2022 — Betway was added to the list of approved operators in Ontario by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. It joins NorthStar Bets and Coolbet as sportsbooks added since the April 4 commercial sports betting launch in the province.
- April 14, 2022 — The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario approved NorthStar Gaming for Ontario sports betting. The gaming company will launch NorthStar Bets into the province.
- April 11, 2022 — Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment signed partnership deals with PointsBet and FanDuel. The sportsbook brands can integrate with MLSE teams and venues, which include the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC and Toronto Argonauts.
- April 7, 2022 — The Toronto Blue Jays and theScore Bet announced a 10-year partnership, making the sportsbook operator the official gaming partner of the Major League Baseball team. The deal includes a “flagship sports bar and restaurant” at the Rogers Centre.
- April 5, 2022 — Ontario sports betting continues what will be an active week, as the provincial regulator approves BuddyBet. The day prior, FanDuel entered a partnership with broadcaster TSN.
- April 4, 2022 — Ontario finally opens its market for commercial sportsbooks after months of anticipation. BetMGM, Caesars, PointsBet, theScore Bet, and several other apps are live with more anticipated.
Is sports betting legal in Canada?
Yes, sports betting is legal in Canada. Most notably, Ontario expanded its sports betting footprint with an open market on April 4.
As it turns out, sports betting has been available as a parlay option through provincial lotteries for several years. However, more robust options appeared for Canadians in August 2021. That month, Canadian lawmakers amended the nation’s Criminal Code to allow for single-game sports betting via C-218. Single-game means the type of sports betting allowed in Las Vegas and throughout many US states.
The key to understanding the law is that by itself, it did not make sports betting legal throughout Canada. Similar to what happened when the US Supreme Court struck down the US federal ban in 2018, this legislation allows provinces to decide individually whether they want to allow sports wagering and in what forms.
What’s next for sports betting in Canada?
That depends largely on the individual provinces. For the moment, all eyes are on Ontario as the first province to open its borders to commercial sportsbook operators. Canada’s most populous province is now the test case for a competitive sports betting market in the country. Others, like British Columbia, could just be expansions of the current lottery system.
Alberta has indicated it is seeking proposals for retail sportsbooks, and Saskatchewan authorities have announced they expect online sports betting to launch soon.
Sportsbooks coming to Canada
A number of companies either have shown interest in offering sports betting in Canada or appear likely to do so should a provinical market open in earnest. Here are some of the main sportsbooks that launched in Canada. All of these apps are available only in Ontario:
- TheScore: Based in Canada, the media company is best known for its sports information platform. TheScore Bet is one of just a few companies to already receive conditional licensing in Ontario. Executives from theScore frequently express interest in what they describe as their home turf. Penn National Gaming acquired theScore Media in 2021. TheScore Bet launched in Ontario on April 4.
- PointsBet: The Australia-based company built an experienced executive team for its Canadian operation, including a former Rogers Communication executive and a former daily fantasy sports company president. The company is bullish on partnerships, like one with Curling Canada, and received approval from Ontario in February. PointsBet became available in Ontario on April 4.
- BetMGM: A top-tier online sportsbook in the US, BetMGM is targeting hockey north of the border, including deals with The Hockey News, Wayne Gretzky, and most recently, Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers. BetMGM is available for play in Ontario as of April 4.
- Caesars: Caesars already has a physical location in Ontario, and using Caesars Windsor as an entry point for sports betting would be quite natural, both in Ontario and (eventually) throughout the entire country. Caesars Sportsbook app launched in Ontario on April 4.
- BetRivers: BetRivers is the online sportsbook brand for Rush Street, which has several casino locations throughout the American northeast. The book is certainly planning to come to Canada, evidenced by recent advertising. BetRivers opened for play in Ontario on April 4.
- Bet365: The powerhouse international sportsbook already operated in Canada’s gray market, and received approval from Ontario regulators to seek a license in the legal market there. On April 4, the app officially migrated to the legal market in Ontario.
- FanDuel: FanDuel announced a Canadian general manager in October 2021: Dale Hooper. A former CEO and president of Cannabis Compliance Inc., Hooper has plenty of experience in Canadian regulatory matters. FanDuel Sportsbook is live and available in Ontario.
- DraftKings: The giant in DFS and sports betting throughout the US is DraftKings Sportsbook live and available in Ontario. DraftKings recently expanded its agreements with the NFL, part of which increase its access to offer DFS in Canada.
Recent Canadian sports betting news
Canada sports betting law
Canadian lawmakers repealed a law that prevented provinces from allowing single-game sports wagering in August 2021. Every province launched some sort of retail sports betting product within months of the new legal environment, and many added a complimentary online option.
Furthermore, Ontario is now the first province with a commercially competitive online market. The open season in Ontario began in April 2022. Several apps are set to go live with BetMGM and Caesars the first of many available for play inside the provincial borders, from Windsor to Fort Severn.
Previously, only a limited version of sports betting in the form of a parlay product was available from provincial lotteries. One example is ProLine in Ontario.
The Canadian Gaming Association lobbied for more than a decade to alter the country’s sports betting law. The effort finally gained momentum when the US market began to open in 2018.
What C-218 means for Canadian sports betting
Despite its broad effect on gambling in Canada, C-218 is a short and direct piece of legislation.
As stated by the official summary, C-218 “amends paragraph 207(4)(b) of the Criminal Code to make it lawful for the government of a province, or a person or entity licensed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council of that province, to conduct and manage a lottery scheme in the province that involves betting on a race (other than a horse race) or fight, or on a single sport event or athletic contest.”
In other words, each provincial government is able to manage its own sports betting industry, should it choose to do so. Almost any sport is viable fodder for wagering. The only exception is horse racing, which is separate and falls under its own set of regulations.
The law’s chief effect is to remove the prohibition on single-game wagering in Canada. Canadians were only able to bet on parlays available from provincial lotteries up to that point. Because the law’s language is so broad, it applies to both retail and online sports betting. In theory, a provincial government could decline to allow sports betting to proceed, but none have done so.
Most importantly, the law places the new sports betting industry firmly under the control of provincial governments. It is likely that some areas of Canada will prefer to keep their sportsbook operations “in-house” for the foreseeable future. However, Ontario chose to go a different direction and opened its market. Other provinces, such as Alberta, have also indicated they might pursue a more competitive market.
Legal sports betting options by province
There are multiple legal betting options in Canada. Each province has its own sports betting products available through provincial lottery retailers and online. Below is a list of the options that Canadians have at their disposal, but bear in mind that this list is fluid and will change as provincial governments apply their own approaches.
- Alberta — Western Canada Lottery Corp. (Play Alberta)
- British Columbia — British Columbia Lottery Corp. (Sports Action)
- Manitoba — Western Canada Lottery Corp. (Play Now)
- New Brunswick — Atlantic Lottery Corp. (ProLine)
- Newfoundland and Labrador — Atlantic Lottery Corp. (ProLine)
- Nova Scotia — Atlantic Lottery Corp. (ProLine)
- Ontario — Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (ProLine Plus) and a variety of commercial operators
- Prince Edward Island — Atlantic Lottery Corp. (ProLine)
- Quebec — Loto-Québec (Mise-o-Jeu+)
- Saskatchewan/Nunavut, Yukon and Northwest Territories — Western Canada Lottery Corp. (no online option yet)
Ontario sports betting
Ontario is primed to be the sports betting leader for Canada given how populous it is. The province has more than 38% of Canada’s population and would be the fifth-largest US state, in front of Pennsylvania.
Ontario Lottery and Gaming launched ProLine+ on Aug. 27, 2021, allowing residents to wager on single events. In addition, the province opened its market to outside companies like Caesars and BetMGM. The new Ontario online sports betting opened on April 4.
Ontario also borders Michigan in the US. Legal sports betting in Michigan is available both online and at retail locations. Some of those same apps available for play in Michigan launched in Ontario, too.
Toronto, the largest city in Ontario, has four significant professional teams in American sports leagues for betting:
- MLB — Toronto Blue Jays
- MLS — Toronto FC
- NBA — Toronto Raptors
- NHL — Toronto Maple Leafs
British Columbia sports betting
British Columbia officials eagerly awaited an end to the ban on single-event sports wagering. The province’s lottery encouraged federal legislators to approve C-218 and bring legal sports betting to Canada.
“BCLC expects single-event sports betting would generate an estimated $125 million to $175 million in additional revenue through online and land-based opportunities.”
The BCLC launched an expanded PlayNow.com product as soon as it was able to, in August 2021. Professional sports teams in British Columbia include a couple in major sports leagues:
- NHL — Vancouver Canucks
- MLS — Vancouver Whitecaps
Overview of legal gambling in Canada
Here is a quick look at some key features of legal gambling in Canada:
|Casinos||Casinos are located in almost every province. Some are operated by First Nations while others are operated by large Canadian gambling companies like Great Canadian Gaming and Gateway Casinos and Entertainment. The largest casino in Canada is located in Quebec: Casino de Montreal.|
|Fantasy sports||Daily fantasy sports sites are legal in Canada with the biggest operators accepting players in the provinces.|
|Horse racing||Horse racing, and betting on horse racing, are both legal in Canada. The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency oversees the industry.|
|Lottery||Five provincial lottery commissions oversee various lottery games, both online and in person. Lottery games include online casino play in some provinces as well as traditional lottery games like Lotto Max and keno.|
|Sports betting||Provincial lotteries operated parlay online betting sites before 2021. Now, each province can expand their betting options if they choose. Most have done so.|
It should be noted that a massive gray market for sports betting allows Canadians to wager at offshore sportsbooks. These offshore books don’t pay taxes and aren’t regulated at the provincial or federal level. Additionally, regulators have expressed the potential to crack down on these operators after launching legal options.
Sports bettors make an additional gamble whenever they bet on these offshore sites, as there’s no guarantee of payment for winning bets. Some offshore sportsbooks have closed their operations without warning and without returning customer funds.
Canada vs. US sports betting
The sports betting markets in Canada and the United States are quickly becoming mirror images.
To date, more than 80% of all states have pursued some form of legislation for legal sports betting. Legal US sports betting could become enormous in a short time as the adoption of mobile wagering increases.
For example, the state of New Jersey alone saw more than $6 billion wagered in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s disruption of sports. New York saw betting approach nearly $2 billion in its first month of service in January 2022.
Canada is still in the process of expanding its sports betting profile. Like the US, the Canadian government has placed the decision about sports betting with its regional governments in the provinces. With one exception, no province in Canada has allowed commercial sportsbooks to launch legally and has preferred to keep sports betting with their respective provincial lotteries.
The lone exception is Ontario. In April 2022, Ontarians gained the ability to play on a variety of sportsbook apps, such as theScore Bet, BetMGM, Caesars, and PointsBet. For all intents and purposes, Ontario now more closely resembles many states in terms of its treatment of sports betting.
A recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers outlined the economic outlook for Canadian sports betting. Within two years of legalization, PwC estimates the market could reach up to $2.4 billion. Similarly, a Deloitte Canada report recently estimated Canadians could grow their legal sports betting market to $28 billion within just five years.
Most popular sports to wager on in Canada
There would be no point in talking about popular sports in Canada without hockey. There are seven National Hockey League teams based in Canada:
- Calgary Flames
- Edmonton Oilers
- Montreal Canadiens
- Ottawa Senators
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Vancouver Canucks
- Winnipeg Jets
With that many teams, hockey is sure to get its fair share of the legal Canadian sports betting market. Just like its southern neighbor, though, football will likely see the most bets across any sports.
Canada has the Canadian Football League, but the National Football League is plenty popular as well. According to a January 2020 blog from Mintel, a quarter of Canadians follow the NFL, same as the CFL.
There should be some betting love given to other leagues as well. Toronto is the home to the only Canadian franchises in MLB and the NBA.
Canadian sports betting timeline
2013: MP Brian Masse launches the first attempt to end the ban on single-game sports betting in Canada, but it fails.
2016: Masse’s second attempt to end the single-game ban fails.
2020: MP Kevin Waugh launches the third effort to end the ban on single-game sports betting in Canada. C-218 received significant support from multiple parties and was eventually picked up as a government bill in November.
2021: Parliament passes C-218 to potentially create a robust Canadian sports betting market. Single-event sports betting is legal as of Aug. 27. Seven provincial lotteries launch sports betting products almost immediately, and the rest follow by the end of the year.
2022: Ontario becomes the first Canadian province to allow external sportsbook apps to do business inside Canada. Big names like theScore Bet, PointsBet, Caesars, and BetMGM are now available to Ontarians and visitors to the province. DraftKings followed with its sportsbook and casino app in May.
Canada sports betting FAQ
Where can I bet on sports in Canada?
For the most part, you can legally bet on sports anywhere in Canada. Each provincial lottery has unveiled a retail sports betting product, and almost all of them have launched an online companion as well. You can also try one of the many lottery retailers in each province if you prefer to bet in person.
The only holdout on the online side is Saskatchewan, and its officials have already indicated they are planning to allow online betting sometime in mid-2022.
Can I bet on my phone in Canada?
Yes, unless you live in Saskatchewan. Each provincial lottery offers an online sports betting option, and Saskatchewan will have one itself in mid-2022. Ontarians now have the biggest selection of online books at their disposal, since commercial sportsbooks debuted there in April.
What is the legal age for betting online in Canada?
The legal age for sports betting in Canada varies on a provincial level. For the most part, players must be 19 or older in order to play. However, Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec do allow betting from 18-year-olds.
Can I play daily fantasy sports in Canada?
Yes, daily fantasy sports contests are legal in Canada. The industry’s biggest names, DraftKings and FanDuel, both operate in the country.
Is DraftKings legal in Canada?
As a fantasy sports operator, yes. As a sportsbook, not yet, but probably soon. DFS is legal in Canada right now, so DraftKings is not an unknown brand to citizens of the Great White North. DraftKings Sportsbook might be coming to Ontario in the near future. However, DraftKings DFS stopped accepting players in Ontario in April 2022.