Sports Betting In Ontario Officially Live On Monday
David Caraviello | 13 mins
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Sports bettors north of the border, rejoice—a bounty of sports wagering options are now available in Canada, or at least in the nation’s most populous province.
Sports betting in Ontario went live on Monday, the result of a change in federal law approved last year by the nation’s parliament that allowed betting on single games—a departure from the previous statute that had allowed only parlays made available by provincial lottery systems.
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Now, a full range of sports betting options are available in Ontario through various online platforms that include a number of the industry’s biggest names.
In the week before legal sports betting was launched, more than 25 operators had been approved for online gaming licenses through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario—a number that included the Canadian sports betting operations of BetMGM Ontario, PointsBet, Caesars Ontario, Unibet, FanDuel Ontario and BetRivers. Other major platform operators are expected to have their licenses approved by the end of launch day, or shortly thereafter.
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Putting Down Canadian Roots
Online sportsbooks have been clamoring for entry into the coveted Ontario market, home to nearly 15 million people, ever since the provincial government decided to open its sports betting market to commercial operators. That followed the federal government’s move in August of 2021 to allow single-game sports wagering, changing the landscape of a betting market that had previously been limited only to multigame parlays.
As the country’s most populous province, Ontario took the lead in vetting commercial vendors, many of which established Canadian offices and struck sponsorship deals with Canadian corporations to put down roots in the Great White North. PointsBet Ontario, for example, signed agreements with the sanctioning bodies of Canadian curling and alpine skiing, which complemented its existing deals with the NHL and NHL Alumni Association.
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Anchored by Toronto and its 3 million residents, Ontario encompasses almost 40 percent of Canada’s total population. To legally wager in Ontario, bettors must be at least 19 and physically within the borders of the province. And in addition to parlays, wagers such as moneylines, totals, spreads and futures are now available to bettors on a wide variety of sports.
Other operators that had been approved for licenses in the week prior to launch included LottoGo, Coolbet, Fitzdares, Bet365, LeoVegas, WSOP, Rivalry, Royal Panda, theScore and 888, in addition to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. Now that legal sports betting in Ontario is live, the question becomes whether other provinces will follow suit and open their betting markets up to commercial operators.
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Updates on Other Provinces
Single-game sports betting is also available in Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia, but only through websites associated with official provincial operators—Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis in Alberta, and BC Lottery Corporation in British Columbia and Manitoba. When outside commercial platforms will gain access to those markets remains undetermined.
In Saskatoon, which is home to six tribal casinos, the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority announced plans in late 2021 to launch a site in partnership with the provincial government that would feature online sports betting as well as casino games. In Quebec, Canada’s second-most populous province, provisional lottery operator Loto-Quebec announced plans in September to eventually offer single-game wagers, though no updates have been provided since on potential changes to Quebec sports betting.
As in the United States, the legalization movement aims to keep potential tax dollars at home and prevent money from being wagered through offshore bookmakers who are not subject to domestic oversight. Prior to the change allowing single-game betting, the Canadian Gaming Association estimated that residents spent $4 billion annually on offshore sites and $10 billion on illegal wagering, according to the CBC.
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