Canadians are well known for their love of sports. The stereotypes may focus solely on hockey, but Canadians enjoy a wide range of sports during all seasons. They have teams that participate in most of the major American leagues as well as in their own divisions.
There are many ways to enjoy sports, especially by playing them or watching your favourite teams play. Another way is to bet on the sports you enjoy. This article will provide a quick run down of the legality of betting on sports in Canada.
Is sports betting legal in Canada?
In August 2021, the federal government removed the existing restrictions on sports betting. Prior to this, it was illegal to bet on individual games. Canadians could still make parlay bets, but that is quite limited.
Now, it is up to each of the provinces to determine what their sports betting laws are. Ontario immediately legalised all sports betting. The rest of the provinces quickly followed suit and it is now legal across the country. There are only two territories that haven’t legalised single-event betting yet, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories
What’s happening in Canada sports betting right now
The big news in sports betting in Canada right now is that more sportsbooks are being added as accepted providers. Before single-event betting was legalised, provincial governments and gambling governing bodies, such as the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission (OLG), were already in discussions with commercial sportsbooks about operating in their provinces.
As each new online sportsbook is allowed to operate, customers have more options. This means they can get the best odds and bet on a wider range of sports. Not every sportsbook will offer odds on every Formula 1 race, for example, so having options really matters.
Canadian sports betting timeline
Looking at the timeline of sportsbetting in Canada, it is easy to see how big a moment the August 2021 legislation was. Before that, the biggest development in Canadian sports betting was in 1985. That year, parlay betting was legalised and controlled by the provincial lotteries.
Since August 2021, the advancement of sports betting legalisation has moved very quickly. Some provinces were already ready to make the move to legalise sports betting that same day. Others worked more slowly, but within a year, sports betting had been legalised almost everywhere.
Recent Canadian sports betting news
Recent Canadian sports betting news has mainly surrounded sponsorships. Some of the major league teams, such as the Toronto Blue Jays of the MLB and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, have announced partnerships with big sportsbooks.
Other news has involved sportsbooks testing how strict the provincial laws regulating them are. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has recently fined multiple sportsbooks for violating the laws in place regarding television advertising.
Legal sports betting options by province
Since every province can make its own laws regarding sports betting, they can also select which sportsbooks they allow to operate within their borders. In many provinces, the big names such as FanDuel and BetMGM are legal.
PlayNow is a sportsbook that is operated by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. Most provinces operate their own sportsbook, such as Proline in Ontario and Mise-o-jeu in Quebec.
Most popular sports to wager on in Canada
The most popular sports to bet on in Canada shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. They are the sports represented by the major leagues: hockey, baseball, football and soccer.
The other two most popular betting sports are more local. One is the Canadian Football League. The CFL plays American football but it is a national league so there is a lot of appeal there even if it is much smaller. The other is curling. A major curling competition was even recently sponsored by a sportsbook, which shows how many bettors enjoy the sport.
Canada sports betting FAQ
Is online or in person betting legal?
It depends on the province, but in most cases, both online and in person betting are legal.
What is the legal betting age?
This varies by province as well. Anyone over the age of 19 can bet. However, in Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec, you only need to be 18 years old to place a bet.
Is fantasy betting legal in Canada?
Yes, betting on fantasy sports is legal in Canada.
What about horse racing?
Betting on horse racing has always fallen under different legislation than other types of sports betting. Unlike other sports betting, betting on horse races is controlled at a federal level and is legal across the country.
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