Last update: August 27, 2021
Sports betting in Ontario is legal.
Bettors already could place parlay bets, but this year’s expansion opens new possibilities. Canadian lawmakers passed C-218 June 22, a bill to remove the federal prohibition on single-game betting throughout Canada and allow individual provinces like Ontario to regulate single-game sports betting. Regulators in Ontario suggest it will be an open and competitive market and ready for launch by the end of 2021.
A draft of Ontario sports betting regulations was released July 28. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced it will expand its offerings on Aug. 27, the effective date for C-218.
With a deadline for comment submissions set for Aug. 18, Ontario will not be ready to open its market to commercial operators to launch by Aug. 27. There is a target date of December 2021.
According to the Canadian Gaming Association, an estimated C$10 billion is bet annually through illegal operations with ties to organized crime. Another estimated C$4 billion is bet with offshore unlicensed operators. Just an estimated C$500 million is bet through legal lottery-run sportsbooks.
What’s happening in ON sports betting right now
- August 27, 2021 — Sports betting in Ontario on a single-game basis becomes legal. This means that instead of being restricted to parlays or two or more outcomes as in past year, bettors will be able to wager on spreads, totals, and moneylines like their counterparts to the south in the United States.
- August 12, 2021 — Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti reveals that sports betting will go live in Canada on Aug. 27. The announcement significantly shortens the expected lag between the legalization and launch of single-game sports betting in Canada. However, because many provinces already have infrastructure for parlays in place, provincial lotteries should have no trouble launching under the abbreviated timeframe.
- July 28, 2021 — The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario releases a draft set of regulations for sports betting in Canada’s most populous province. The release came as a group of highlighted additions to the province’s rules for internet gaming. Commenters have until August 18 to submit their thoughts, and the AGCO is preparing for a launch in late 2021.
- June 30, 2021 — C-218 becomes an official act of Parliament with its receipt of Royal Assent. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is now compelled to set an effective date for the bill to become the law of the land. Early reports indicate that Trudeau is likely to nominate a date in late 2021 as the first day of single-game sports betting in Canada.
- June 23, 2021 — C-218 nears completion of its journey from bill to law when the Senate of Canada passes it without amendments. The final tally for the vote is a convincing 57-20, although five members abstained from voting. Since C-218 already passed the House in April 2021, all that remains for single game sports betting to become a decision for each province, including Ontario, is a signature from the Governor General.
- March 30, 2021 — While the ministries gather comments, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario releases its own document for comment, a draft of the Registrar’s Standards for iGaming. The AGCO welcomes feedback through its portal, which remains open for several months. The commission’s stated goal is to refine the rules into reasonable requirements for managing the new industry.
- March 3, 2021 — The Ministries of Finance and the Attorney General release a discussion paper about the topic of iGaming for public comment. The paper argues for the creation of a legal online gambling framework as a protective measure for citizens against offshore gaming. Part of the paper specifically discusses single-game sports betting as a potential activity in Ontario.
- Nov. 25, 2020 — Ontario Conservative lawmakers signal their intent to bring iGaming to the people in the province by including it into their 2020 budget proposal. The move would end the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s monopoly on gambling in the province. While the move is not specifically a sports betting legalization, it suggests that a more open attitude about gambling in Canada might be taking hold because of the negative effects of COVID-19 on the industry.
- Feb. 25, 2020 — MP Kevin Waugh introduces C-218 as a private member’s bill to adjust existing Canadian law in order to allow for single-game wagering. The bill is also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act and has the support of the Canadian Gaming Association. The introduction of the bill is thought to be due, at least in part, to the launch of sports betting in neighboring Michigan.
Is sports betting legal in Ontario?
Yes, there is legal sports betting right now in Ontario but not like it exists in the United States. Anyone looking to place a parlay bet in Ontario has a few options through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. This includes products that offer betting on pools, money lines, props, and more. Those parlays can be bet at any lottery retailer in Ontario or on the ProLine app.
With the passage of C-218, single-game sports betting in Ontario should be available by the end of 2021.
The future of Ontario sports betting online
C-218 should bring single-game sports betting to Ontario before the end of 2021. This will include the ability to make all traditional bets including spreads, totals, and moneyline wagers on individual games in major professional and college sports.
Ontario sports betting should launch before the end of 2021, according to David Phillips, of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. The AGCO wants an open market that will allow operators like Toronto-based theScore and DraftKings.
The bill, sponsored by private member Kevin Waugh, finished its successful journey through Parliament on June 22, when the Senate approved the bill.
What’s next for Ontario sports betting
Bettors in Ontario should prepare for a flood of legal choices. There will be plenty of interest in landing an Ontario sports betting license from domestic companies as well as the big US operators. BetMGM, DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, PointsBet and more will likely be interested in the Ontario online sports betting market.
Domestic companies like sports media giant Score Media and Gaming, which launched theScore Bet in multiple US states, hope to use its Canadian influence to secure market share. Penn National Gaming acquired Score Media in 2021.
Woodbine Entertainment, which handles about 80% of the pari-mutuel wagering in Ontario through its distribution network, is also excited about the potential. The company hired former sports executive Michael Copeland as its chief commercial officer to help direct the company’s sports betting efforts.
Local media giants Rogers and Bell are also looking for sports betting opportunities throughout Canada.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, the province’s gaming regulator, released a draft of regulations in July, with comments due August 18. An Auditor General’s report from December suggested it might be better to separate those roles.
Ontario vs. Pennsylvania sports betting
Ontario is clearly the crown jewel for sports betting operators seeking to enter the market in Canada.
The province is the largest by population with an estimated 14.8 million residents as of the first quarter of this year. That would make it the fifth-biggest US state, ranking above Pennsylvania’s 13 million residents. Only California, Texas, Florida, and New York have more residents.
Pennsylvania sports betting is one of the breakout stars in terms of US sports betting success. It ranks third in terms of handle ($7.3 billion) and revenue ($543.7 million) behind New Jersey and Nevada since the fall of PASPA in May 2018.
Ontario also shares a border with Michigan, one of the most recent entrants into the legal US sports betting market. Michigan sportsbook apps launched in January 2021, and with Detroit only a stone’s throw away from Toronto, the new market likely did not go unnoticed.
Latest Ontario sports betting news
Legal betting options in Ontario
The only legal betting options in Ontario are run by the OLG ProLine, which for years required parlays of two or more wagers per bet. Once single-game betting is allowed, though, expect a deluge of sportsbooks around the province.
There are 28 casinos throughout Ontario, according to the OLG. Here are some of the casinos that might offer full-fledged sportsbooks. These also happen to be some of the largest in the province:
- Operated by: Caesars Entertainment
- Address: 377 Riverside Drive East
- Location: Windsor, ON, N9A 7H7
- Operated by: Mohegan Gaming
- Address: 5705 Falls Ave
- Location: Niagara Falls, ON, L2E 6T3
- Operated by: One Toronto Gaming
- Address: 555 Rexdale Blvd
- Location: Etobicoke, ON, M9W 5L1
Gateway Casinos Sault Ste. Marie
- Operated by: Gateway
- Address: 30 Bay St.
- Location: Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 7A6
Pickering Casino Resort
- Operated by: One Toronto Gaming
- Address: 888 Durham Live Avenue
- Location: Pickering, ON, L1W 0C1
Sports betting partnerships
Sports betting operators are already getting ready for the launch of single-game betting in Canada. DraftKings made the first splash, though it was not specifically betting-related. The company expanded its daily fantasy sports deal with the NFL to include Canada, making it the league’s exclusive DFS partner in both the US and Canada.
The first deal to mention Canadian sports betting specifically came between the PGA Tour and theScore Bet. The deal made theScore Bet an official betting operator of the PGA Tour in both the US and Canada, making it the first official betting partner for the PGA in Canada.
More announcements started coming in June 2021. BetMGM announced two hockey deals that should help its reach in the Great White North. The first was a partnership with NHL great Wayne Gretzky to become a brand ambassador. The next deal came a day later as BetMGM became the exclusive sports betting partner of The Hockey News.
Most popular sports to bet on in Ontario
There are five professional sports teams in Ontario that should draw plenty of betting attention from residents.
It should not surprise anyone that Ontario has two NHL franchises. Canada’s obsession with hockey runs deep, as does Ontario’s ties with its two teams. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators should see plenty of single-game betting action should C-218 pass.
Also plenty popular are the Toronto Raptors, who took home the NBA Championship in 2019. MLB‘s Toronto Blue Jays and MLS‘ Toronto FC also have loyal fan bases which could turn into loyal bettors.
NFL and CFL betting
There’s also no denying the popularity of football throughout Ontario and the rest of Canada. The Canadian Football League canceled its 2020 season but plans to return in 2021, meaning a return to the field for the three Ontario-based teams: the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the Ottawa Redblacks, and the Toronto Argonauts.
But there’s also plenty of enthusiasm for the NFL and the Super Bowl, especially the Buffalo Bills. Given the Bills’ recent turnaround, the team could become the most-heavily bet in Ontario if single-game betting is legalized.
Ontario and daily fantasy sports
It is legal to enter daily fantasy sports contests in Ontario.
Is horse betting legal in Ontario?
Yes, both horse racing and betting on horse racing are legal in Ontario. The industry is overseen by Ontario Racing with 15 tracks located throughout the province.
There are multiple websites and apps approved for horse racing betting in Ontario, or bets can be placed at the tracks.
Ontario sports betting timeline
2021: Single-game sports betting is here with C-218 all the way through the parliament. The bill received full House approval in April and the Senate in June 2021. Individual provinces will handle the regulations, with an effective date of Aug. 27.
2020: Private member Kevin Waugh introduced C-218 in February, but there was very little action that year. The bill didn’t get its second reading until nearly a year later in February 2021.
One notable development in 2020 came in June when multiple professional leagues jointly issued their support of single-game betting in Canada.
2016: The second attempt to legalize single-game sports betting last decade in Canada fails.
2012: The first attempt to legalize Canadian single-game sports betting last decade passed the House, but it would go no further. The Senate failed to act on the legislation for years.
2011: C-290 is introduced by Joe Comartin. It’s the first attempt of the decade to end the federal ban on single-game sports betting in Canada.
1992: ProLine officially launches in Ontario in October.
Will online casinos launch with online sports betting in Ontario?
Ontario already has an online casino option through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission. More options could be coming, though. Ontario’s 2020 budget suggested legislation could be on its way to end the lottery’s monopoly on online casinos.
Where can I place a bet in Ontario?
Sports bettors can place bets online or through lottery retailers, though those bets have to be parlay bets. There will soon be legal options for single-game sports betting in Ontario as of August 2021.
Will there be mobile sports betting in Ontario?
There is already legal mobile sports betting in Ontario through the OLG’s parlay product, ProLine. Mobile betting should expand to include single-game sports betting operators now that Parliament passed C-218.
Who oversees sports betting in Ontario?
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario regulates all gaming in Ontario.
When will single-game sports wagering launch in Ontario?
Single-game sports betting will likely launch by December 2021, according to The Toronto Star.