Ontario Sports Betting in 2021

With single-game sports betting set to go live across Canada on Aug. 27, it's an exciting time for the potential of revenue generation that it offers to every Canadian province, but perhaps none more so than Ontario. As Canada's most densely-populated province, with nearly 14 million residents, no area of the country figures to produce a larger betting revenue than what will be generated by Ontario sports betting.

The Ontario government is eager to be the industry leader as single-game sports betting takes hold in Canada. The government fully intends to implement a program to bet online in Ontario. Already, the provincial government has published a discussion paper as to how it sees online gambling in Ontario working.

On July 6th, Ontario regulators confirmed the formation of a new subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), iGaming Ontario, to conduct and manage all new types of gaming, including single-event sports wagering. This means registered private operators will launch by the end of the year!

The iGaming initiative planned for the province would augment the lottery and gaming offerings currently available to adult Ontario residents. The proposed iGaming Ontario model is considering an arrangement where operators would run their affairs while the province is providing a registration framework and some regulatory oversight.

Bookies.com reviews and ranks every legal online sports betting site in Ontario. Below is our list of the top betting sites the figure to be available in the Ontario gambling market.

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Ontario Sports Betting Legal Landscape

As of August 27, 2021, sports betting in Ontario is legal and fully live. There are numerous sports betting sites available to bet and we are here to inform you which sportsbooks are your best bets. You can sign up today and place wagers at the top sportsbooks in Ontario.

Prior to the passage of Bill C-218, also known as The Safe And Regulated Sports Betting Act, the only single sports wagering legally permitted in Canada was on horse racing. To wager on any other sport, gaming laws in Ontario and around the country required that players play a parlay wager of a minimum of two events.

Bill C-218 amended the Canadian Criminal Code to allow single sports betting on all events. The bill was backed with the support of all the major sports leagues that have franchises playing in Canada. The commissioners of the NHL, NBA , MLB, MLS and CFL all signed a document that was delivered to Canadian government officials stating their tacit support for the passage of Bill C-218.

Why Bet at Legal Online Ontario Sports Betting Sites?

Player safety and security are the leading attractions to placing wagers with a legal online Ontario sports betting site. Since all the sites will be licensed and regulated by the Ontario government, bettors can rest assured that both their money and personal information will be protected.

With an unregulated and unlicensed offshore site, Ontario bettors would have no recourse if, for example, one of these sites declined to pay out a winning wager. Ontario's legal sportsbooks will be facing fines and risk losing their license to operate if they run afoul of regulators.

Are Mobile Sports Betting Apps Available in Ontario?

In its discussion paper on Ontario's iGaming future, the provincial government specifically was focusing on capitalizing on the online betting market. It's evident that they are seeking to follow the most progressive of the models from US states that have legalized sports betting, and that includes sports betting apps.

Ontario's government recognizes how the most vital markets in the USA are the states that are offering both online wagering as well as betting via a mobile app. Almost every entity that is lining up to enter Ontario's sports betting industry utilizes a mobile app. Some, such as theScore Bet, are entirely a mobile operation.

Bonuses & Promotions at Ontario Sports Betting Sites

Ontario sports bettors can expect an offer of one of three types of bonus offers that are prevalent at online betting sites. The first is a no-deposit bonus, which is a sum of cash awarded to a player for simply opening a new account.

The second option is a risk-free first bet. Betting sites set a maximum amount, and a new player's first wager will be refunded 100% in the form of free bet credits up to that amount if that first bet fails to cash.

The third most common Sports betting site bonus is the matching first deposit bonus. In this instance, the sports betting site is setting a percentage of a players' first deposit with a maximum dollar amount attached. For instance, if the offer was a 50% matching bonus worth up to $200, then the player would be needing to deposit $400 to max out the promotional offer.

Some of the best Ontario online sports betting sites may offer a combination of these bonuses, including a 100% deposit match. Also, keep an eye on wagering requirements. The best only require a 1x playthrough on bonus funds or free bets.

Ontario Land-Based Sports Betting Sites & Locations

There are no true land-based betting sites in Ontario. Brick-and-mortar casinos such as Caesars Windsor have "sports lounges," but bettors can use the OLG-run Pro-Line.

Pro-Line permits moneyline , over/under, prop, pools and spread wagering. However, all wagers must be combined in a parlay format, meaning more than one wager must be played and all must come in for the ticket to be a winner.

Best Ontario Sports Betting Sites

The province has made it clear that it intends to be open and welcoming and will allow numerous betting sites to operate within Ontario. These are some of the betting sites that most certainly will be part of the legal Ontario betting landscape.

DraftKings Ontario

Transitioning from a daily fantasy sports site into a legal sportsbook of prominence south of the border when the USA allowed for nationwide legal sports betting 2018, DraftKings is looking to make its mark in Canada. Already offering its DFS product to the people of Ontario, DraftKings is already acknowledging that they will be bringing their sports betting site operation into the Ontario market. In February, DraftKings arranged for an expansion of its agreement with the NFL to permit the company to make use of its NFL branding and content in Canada.

FanDuel Ontario

Where DraftKings goes, FanDuel tends to follow, and vice-versa. Like DraftKings born as a DFS entity, FanDuel also moved quickly and aggressively into the online sportsbooks market in the USA. Again, like DraftKings, FanDuel is expressing a strong desire to enter into the Ontario marketplace and will attempt to position itself as one of the best Ontario online sports betting sites.

BetRivers Ontario

While not as big as some of the other US sports betting juggernauts, BetRivers has proven to be the little engine that could. Owned by the Chicago-based Rush Street Interactive, often they have been the first company to set up shop when a state legalizes sports betting. They might not be the first site that comes to mind, but it won't be surprising if BetRivers is jumping quickly into online gambling in Ontario, Canada.

888Sport Ontario

888Sport is a unique entity in that they operate as a legal, regulated sportsbook in the USA and as unregulated offshore sports betting site in Canada. The company's UK site is currently operational for Canadian bettors. Their familiarity with the Canadian market could help 888Sport Canada move boldly into Ontario as a licensed sports betting site and compete to be Ontario's best sportsbook.

BetMGM Ontario

BetMGM already operates in several US states including Michigan , directly across from the Ontario border. MGM has a brick-and-mortar retail casino in Detroit, a stone's throw from Ontario. The company also recently hired Canadian hockey icon Wayne Gretzky as a brand ambassador. That's a sure sign that they are readying for a move north and offer gambling in Ontario, Canada.

Bet365 Ontario

Like 888Sport, Bet365 is a British betting company that currently is operational as a legal, regulated site in the USA. At the same time, Bet365 CA operates as an offshore company in Canada through their UK site. A well-known commodity to Canadian bettors with a reputation for being an innovative company, Ontario certainly must be on Bet365's agenda.

William Hill Ontario

William Hill was set up in the USA long before the 2018 change in the sports betting laws. They've operated legal, licensed sports betting sites in Las Vegas since 2012. William Hill set up a separate US company to handle that part of the company's empire. They've operated as an offshore site in Canada at the same time and will be well-known to Ontario bettors.

Sport Nation Ontario

A popular site to bet online in the UK and Ireland, Sport Nation is available as an offshore account in Canada. However, the company hasn't made huge inroads into the Canadian market. Still, as a familiar name, it wouldn't be at all surprising to see them showing up in the Ontario marketplace.

Karamba Ontario

Launching as a casino site in 2005, Karama ended up moving successfully into sports betting. They are available in Canada as an offshore betting site. While not huge, Karamba is making inroads rapidly thanks in part to their spectacular customer service. They could prove to be a David taking on the Goliaths in the push to become Ontario's best sports betting site online.

theScore Ontario

With their mobile app set up, theScore Bet hasn't made much of a dent in the US sports betting market. However, things figure to be much different on their home turf. TheScore's sports media app is hugely popular, ranking No. 1 in the Google Play store in Canada. More than 1.4 million of the app's daily 4 million users are residing in Ontario. TheScore thinks it can convert many of them over to sports betting.

Canadian Companies that Have their Eyes on Opening a Sportsbook

As TheScore did in the USA, Canadian telecommunication giants Rogers and Bell Media are likely to view Ontario sports betting as an opportunity too good to pass up. With more Canadians opting to cut the cord from cable and satellite TV, adding sports betting to their empires would seem a chance too lucrative to pass up.

Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Ontario, Canada?

Yes, it is. One of the factors that worked in favour of the passage of Bill C-218 was that sports betting was already legal in Ontario. The government wasn't writing new law. It was simply amending the current law to allow single-game sports betting. Ontario lawmakers have indicated that they will not limit how many private companies can register to take bets. Estimates are that the Ontario sports betting market could be worth as much as $8 billion a year. The legal gambling age in Ontario is 19.

Pro-Line Ontario

Up until the passage of Bill C-218, Pro-Line was the only legal form of sports betting offered in Ontario. With Pro-Line, all wagers must come in the form of parlays. The customer must get all their predictions right to receive prize money.

The odds offered to players are inferior to online bookmakers. Most licensed U.S. online sportsbooks and the U.K. expect to pay out $100 for every $110 wagered (110% vig). When the parlay requirement is factored in, the vig for Pro-Line wagers ranges from 160% to 300%. These unfavorable odds have led scores of gamblers to abandon the provincial system in favor of offshore bookmakers, which we discourage because of the lack of oversight from governmental regulatory bodies.

Who Regulates Sports Betting in Ontario?

Ontario has formed a new subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) called iGaming Ontario to manage online gaming and single-game sports betting that private operators will launch. It will have its own staff and board of directors and will be charged with contracting with private online casino and sports-betting operators and establishing binding parameters for how they will share revenue with the province, implement responsible gambling and anti-money laundering controls, and exchange relevant player data.

Sports betting within the province is currently regulated by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission (OLG). It's a Crown corporation owned by the government of Ontario. The OLG is currently the only legal provider of commercial gaming in Ontario and operates its own iGaming website. It will continue to oversee its own offerings.

How to Sign up and Make Your First Sports Bet

The first step toward learning how to gamble in Ontario is opening a sports betting account. It's important to find a sportsbook that offers what you desire. If betting on the NFL or NHL is the goal, most any site will offer competitive odds and extensive betting lines. However, if it's a sport such as rugby or cricket that turns your fancy, you will want to shop around and unearth which betting sites are rich in wagering opportunities for these less popular sports.

Initial registration and login requirements will require verification of a player's identity, age and location to ensure they are eligible to access a site. Location verification will be required to ensure that players accessing the site are located within Ontario when betting. Operators will provide their own portals for player registration and login.

While completing the signup process, new customers need to be sure of the steps required to access the site's bonus offer. Some sites require a promo code be inserted during signup to activate the bonus. Once these steps are completed, the next move is to fund the account. Betting sites offer numerous banking options for deposits. Once the money is in the account, then the player is ready to make their first bet.

How We Have Chosen the Best Ontario Sports Betting Sites

Only the most reliable and reputable Ontario sports betting sites are featured by Bookies.com. Each of the prospective Ontario operators have been studiously reviewed for quality, trustworthiness, ease of use and other key factors to ensure that only the best sites make the cut. That means an enjoyable, safe and hopefully profitable experience for Ontario residents. Here are the primary aspects of a Canadian sports betting site reviewed by Bookies.com.

The Site's Reputation

Are they reliable? Do they deliver on their promises? The Ontario sports betting sites recommended by Bookies.com must be legal, regulated and proven capable of living up to the scrutiny of provincial license facilitators who make the gaming laws in Ontario. Their record of payouts must be impeccable, their betting lines fair and competitive, and they must provide resources for problem gambling to bettors.

Accessibility

An Ontario sports betting site isn't worth anything to a bettor if its software isn't able to provide quick reliable service to its customers. There's nothing more frustrating than watching a spinning wheel on the screen while trying to put a bet down before the chance to get action on that wager expires. The best sportsbooks in Ontario offer exquisite service that never falters and always delivers first-rate internet access.

Trustworthiness

Like that friend who helps you move or the neighbour who brings over home-baked muffins after you shovel their driveway, to be considered among the best Ontario sports betting sites it must always deliver the goods. They're like an abacus because you can always count on them. Payouts are made promptly. Betting lines are posted quickly and are competitive with other sites. Deposits are processed rapidly, and bonuses are delivered as promised.

User Experience

When it comes to Ontario gambling, simple is better. A bunch of bells and whistles aren't what customers are seeking from their sports betting website. Ease of use, an intuitive interface and all the betting options readily available are what make for an ideal user experience. Factors such as quick links to odds boosts, parlay bets and live betting make for a first-rate site.

Mobile App

When it comes to online gambling, Ontario players want mobile apps that are easy to locate on the betting site's web page and even easier to download into their mobile device. A top mobile app should offer everything that the online website provides to players yet be designed so that all those elements can be easily manipulated from a smartphone.

Betting Promos and Offers

Every betting site offers signup bonus offers and ongoing promotions, and Ontario bettors can expect the top operators in the province will be providing lucrative incentives to get new customers to join up. However, the best sites don't stop there. They continue to shower their players with promotions every day of the week, from reload bonuses to parlay insurance. The best sportsbooks in Ontario will also provide loyalty programs that reward frequent players.

Available Sports to Bet On

All Ontario sportsbooks will offer the staples of North American sports to their customers, such as the NHL , NFL , NBA and MLB. The best sportsbooks will go beyond that, though. They'll provide rich betting markets on soccer, tennis, golf and auto racing, as well as other niche sports. The top online Ontario sports betting companies will also cover Canadian-specific sports like the CFL and CPSL with rich betting markets for Ontario residents and visitors to choose from.

The Odds

To be considered one of the best Ontario sports betting sites, a betting site must deliver odds that are competitive with other sites. It will also deliver them promptly to bettors and with a variety of options, such as alternative lines and first- and second-half lines.

Payment Options

Variety is the spice of life, and when it comes time to top up a player's account, it's also a sign that an Ontario sportsbook is first-rate. There are more ways to move money around today than ever before. The leading betting sites deliver all these financial avenues, from traditional options like credit and debit cards, to internet money transfer services and even cryptocurrency.

Types of Sports Bets Offered in Ontario

The Ontario government is suggesting that it will be providing a very open tent when it comes to wagering allowable within the province. All the standard bets - moneyline, point spread, total - will be offered, along with parlays, props, futures, teasers and round robins. Live in-play wagering is also going be available.

They are leaning toward granting permission to offer novelty non-sports bets such as the Oscars, elections, or even the gender of a royal baby. As well, the province is considering whether to allow betting exchanges.

What Sports Leagues Can I Bet On in Ontario?

The list of leagues upon with Ontarians will be able to wager is likely to be extensive.

Betting On NHL

Hockey is king in Canada and the NHL is king of hockey. Anticipate the coverage for betting on the NHL to be expansive, with vast prop and live betting possibilities.

Betting On NBA

The fastest-growing sport in Canada is basketball. The NBA's Toronto Raptors are hugely popular, especially with the younger set who figure to be the most prevalent NBA mobile bettors.

Betting On Soccer

With a significant ethnic population, European soccer always holds a place of prominence among Ontario sports fans. As well, FC Toronto are followed by one of the most rabid fanbases in the MLS.

Betting On MLB

The Toronto Blue Jays are Canada's lone MLB franchise. That truly makes them Canada's team. When the Jays are going well, an entire nation gets behind them.

Betting On Lacrosse

Officially, Canada's national game is lacrosse. There's a solid following for the NLL, with teams in Calgary, Vancouver, Saskatchewan and Toronto.

Betting On Other Sports

One of the most popular sports in the Greater Toronto Area is cricket. Three of the nine CFL teams are situated in Ontario - the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa RedBlacks. Whenever there's a major international soccer tournament ongoing, flags of the competing nations begin popping on cars throughout the province.

Popular Sporting Events to Bet On

The Stanley Cup will be the most popular sporting spectacle for Ontarians to bet upon. There will also be plenty of wagering on the Super Bowl. As for the NBA Finals and World Series, the amount of action will depend on whether the Raptors or Blue Jays are participating. The FIFA World Cup will always draw interest and the Grey Cup is Canada's biggest annual sporting event.

Daily Fantasy Sports

DFS is available in Ontario from a variety of sources. However, since Canadians have been able to be wager at offshore betting sites, something that is illegal in the USA, there hasn't been the demand for DFS in Ontario as there was in the USA prior to sports betting being legalized in 2018. All the leading DFS sites - DraftKings, FanDuel, Monkey Knife Fight and Yahoo Fantasy - are offered in Ontario.

Betting on Horse Racing

Horse racing was not included as part of Bill C-218. Horse racing, which was the only single sports betting option in Ontario prior to passage of Bill C-218, continues to be regulated by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency.

Top 5 Ontario Sports Teams to Bet On

Ontario is home to the most pro sports franchises of any Canadian province. It's the only province in Canada with teams in MLB and the NBA.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Often referred to as Canada's team, the support of Leaf Nation extends from coast to coast. That widespread popularity often impacts the betting odds on the Leafs. They are generally overrated in NHL futures odds because so much money is wagered on them to win, it artificially lowers the team's odds. The Leafs haven't won the Stanley Cup since 1967.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors were a success story in terms of fan popularity from the moment they arrived as an NBA expansion franchise in the mid-1990s. They finally got it done in 2019, beating the Golden State Warriors to become the first Canadian team to win the NBA Finals.

Toronto Blue Jays

When the Blue Jays won consecutive World Series in 1992-93, no team in Canada was more popular. There was a down period after that, but in recent years the Blue Jays have again made noise in the baseball playoffs. A talented young lineup led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. offers hope of a bright future for the Jays.

Ottawa Senators

The original Senators were part of the original NHL in 1917 and won four Stanley Cups prior to relocation to St. Louis in 1934. The current edition of the Senators was born in 1992. They reached the Stanley Cup final in 2007 and are currently one of the more intriguing younger teams in the NHL.

Toronto FC

There may be no more intense fan experience in Ontario than to take in a Toronto FC MLS match at BMO Field. The supporters who back the club are a fervent bunch. Toronto FC is always a solid bet to contend for the MLS Cup.

Ontario Sports Betting History

A look at the progress of wagering on sports in Ontario.

1992: Pro-Line, the new online terminal sports lottery from Sport Select, launches in Ontario.

1995: Over/under wagering added to Pro-Line.

2020: Bill C-218, The Safe Regulated Sports Betting Act, is introduced in the House of Commons and given first reading.

2021: Bill C-218 passes following the third reading in the Senate of Canada and is sent to await Royal Assent to become a law.

Ontario Online Casinos

There are currently no online casinos in Ontario, but that may change soon.

Under the Ontario iGaming plan, well-established casino and table games - for example, online slots, blackjack, roulette, etc. - would be permitted. Well-established peer-to-peer games and offerings, such as poker, would also be permitted in Ontario's iGaming market.

Retail casino gambling was legalized in Ontario in 1993. The first casino opened in the province in Windsor in May of 1994. Slot games, table games and poker are all offered in Ontario casinos.

Responsible Gambling

While many operators may already have responsible gambling measures in place, Ontario intends to build on the AGCO's existing standards and define responsible gambling program requirements, gaming features and policies that operators would be required to implement for all Ontario players.

Strong identity and age verification processes are important responsible gambling measures intended to protect underage consumers and those who have self-excluded from online gambling by preventing them from accessing operator websites. Measures are expected to include restrictions on marketing and game designs so they do not appeal to minors, strong identity and age verification processes and requirements for voluntary self-exclusion.

Ontario Sports Betting FAQs

Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Ontario?

Bill C-218, which will legalize single sports betting in Canada, has been passed and provinces will be allowed to begin offering wagers on single-game events beginning Aug. 27.

What is the Legal Age to Place a Sports Bet in Ontario?

To participate in any form of gambling in the province a player must be 19 years of age.

Will there be Mobile Sports Betting in Ontario?

Yes. The provincial government fully intends to offer mobile and online sports betting by December 2021.

Can I Visit an Ontario Casino to Bet on Sports?

At this point, that is uncertain. Based on the US model, Ontario casinos would seem logical choices to play host to some form of sports betting. But those details haven't been finalized.

Can I Bet on American Sports in Ontario?

Yes. Ontario intends to offer wagering on all the major sports leagues from around the world.

Are there Retail Sportsbooks in Ontario?

The province is still in the discussion stage in terms of how sports betting will operate. It's unclear whether sports betting will be done entirely online, or if brick and mortar sportsbooks will be required as is the case in some US states.

Will Ontario Sports Betting Be Taxed

Ontario is proposing a unique form of sports betting. Instead of taxing the monies generated from betting on sports, they want to set up revenue-sharing plans with the operators of sports betting sites. As for players, winnings from all forms of gambling in Ontario - casinos, lotteries, bingo and sports betting - are tax exempt.

Who Will Regulate Sports Betting in Ontario.

On July 6th, 2021, it was announced a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, called iGaming Ontario, was formed. iGaming Ontario will oversee all sports betting, including registered private operators.

About the Author

Bob Duff for Bookies.com
Bob Duff
A veteran journalist based in Windsor, Ontario, Bob Duff has covered the gambling and sports betting industry since 2016. He has written more than two dozen books.