Retail sports betting in Canada has been legal since the 1980s, but laws regarding regulating and legalising this activity online were only revised in 2021.
The complete ban on online sports betting in Canada was abolished by Justice Minister David Lametti on the 27th of August 2021.
The national Criminal Code has been amended and now allows single-game sports betting too. Act C-218 for Safe and Legal Sports Betting covers laws for retail, online and single-game sports betting across the country.
However, this act was not enforced in all Canadian states. In fact, each province has the liberty of deciding whether it wants to amend its laws on the matter.
The source for the image is Statistics Canada, Provinces and Territories, 2019.
As it stands now, the northern half of the country still only allows retail betting. Online betting was only legalized in the following provinces:
Newfoundland and Labrador
The Popularity of Sports Betting in Canada
One might assume that the reason why it was necessary for these laws to be changed and take effect is that Canadian sports bettors were enraged at the fact that they weren't legally allowed to partake in sports betting online.
But, that is not the case.
Canada has been a prime target and market for the igaming industry for years, being one of the countries producing the largest revenue from online gambling and sports betting.
Retail and online sports betting alone, result in a total revenue of $14 billion every year!
Ontario, notorious for being the province with the strictest laws on igaming in the country has been loosening up and has been growing its very own gaming market as of April 4th 2022 producing one of the biggest legal sports betting markets globally.
The regulation of online gambling has led to 29 online sports books and over 60 online gambling platforms being approved to operate legally on the Canadian market. This is thanks to iGaming Ontario's decision to edit the pre-existing laws on igaming in April 2021.
This change of heart exhibited by authorities in Canada has been catalysed by the evident profits the country could make from this business and how it could eventually become one of the leading markets and producers for the industry.
When it comes to sports betting, Canadian audiences actually still prefer good old retail betting.
A survey by Deloitte has revealed that since the regulatory updates we described above, only 19.2% of the Canadian audience realised how many new opportunities they have to legally make sports bets in the country.
Generally, it seems as though the public had stopped showing interest in sports betting, which is also a major reason why authorities moved forward with legalizing it online too, attempting to boost profits from this activity back up.
For those who maintained interest, it seems as though retail betting remained the more comfortable, familiar option, preferred by audiences.
There is some sense to this considering that online gambling and sports betting have only very recently become regulated in Canada, leaving audiences unsure of what is allowed and what isn't.
Another factor which might come to play is that actually, there are not so many online gambling platforms accessible in Canada which offer sports betting options.
What perhaps remains unknown to Canadian audiences is how many more betting opportunities are available in the online gambling world.
Normally, retail bets are focused on local sports events and some of the biggest, most known sporting events such as the Superbowl. In other words, retail betting options are rather limited.
Online, discover a whole new world of choices including international sports teams from every part of the globe, various sports such as MMA, horse racing, tennis and even politics and esports too! Bet on your favourite players for pc games competitions such as CS:GO!
So, where can you participate in sports betting online?
We have compiled a short list of our top three casino recommendations which offer a massive sportsbook filled to the brim with options:
Click on the links to check out our review for each of these casinos.
Online casinos like these not only offer varied sportsbooks with hundreds of betting options but also promotions and bonuses you could claim to boost your bets, get cashback from your losses and multiply your winnings!
In our opinion, the best bet (pun intended) is Gamdom.
This casino is very focused on its sports and esports betting menu and also allows for investments in various forms, offering payment methods in the form of fiat currencies, crypto and also skins from your favourite pc games.
What are the prospects for the future of sports betting in Canada?
As we've described in detail above, igaming in Canada is becoming increasingly more popular, not only with Canadian gamblers but also with the authorities who have realised the potential of the country in this industry.
Whether or not third-party operators will be included in the growth of this market in the country is still unclear. Despite the rapid changes in igaming laws in Canada, it is still unclear what the plans moving forward are.
What is definitely on the top of iGaming Ontario's agenda is stopping any illegal online gambling activity, namely sports operators and casinos which have not acquired legal status from the authority.
In 2023, these are the most significant events which have taken place in relation to the matter:
January 11th 2023
Caeser's Sportsbook is launched and inaugurated as part of Ceaser's Windsor, Canada's largest casino resort.
February 1st 2023
The first-ever single-game bets can be made on Ontario's very own online sports books: Northstar Bets.
March 2nd 2023
IGaming Ontario announces its plans to sanction and disable the activity of illegal casinos and sports books available in Canada.
Check out our recent news post for more details on how the authority is moving forward with this action towards online gambling platforms which have not been sharing their revenues with the nation, despite making profits from Canadian audiences.
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