Sports betting in Canada finally moved into modern times in 2021 with the introduction of legal betting on single sporting events for the first time. In August of last year, the Canadian parliament passed Bill C-218, which technically repealed a previous law banning bets on individual bets, but allowing parlay-style bets on multiple contests.

The new legislation opened the door for single sports betting in Canada, but that is all it did. Gambling in Canada is a provincial responsibility, so it is left to each individual province to implement the new legislation however they see fit. In this overview, we will look at what the current landscape looks like for sports betting in Canada.

Where In Canada Is Online Sports Betting Legal?

Sports betting is technically legal everywhere in Canada. With the launch of single-event betting on August 27, 2021, the previous law which prohibited betting on single events was repealed. However, that did not immediately open the floodgates to online sports betting in Canada since the implementation of gambling law is the responsibility of provincial governments.

That means there is something of a patchwork across Canada for what is available now, and from whom. Some provinces jumped onto the new single-event better almost immediately, while others held back. In some cases, the provinces have looked to partner with private betting companies, and in others, they’ve looked to add capabilities to existing provincial monopolies.

Bettors can place parlay bets through provincial lottery corporations across the country, as has been the case for a long time. The most populous Canadian province, Ontario, which contains nearly 40% of Canada’s 38.2 million people, was among the first to go live with single-event bets through its online lottery corporation, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG).

Other provinces quickly followed suit, and Canadians can now place single-game bets in Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island. Quebec and Alberta both offer online and retail single-game betting through their provincial lottery divisions, while British Columbia and Manitoba are linked through the PlayNow system. In the Atlantic provinces, the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) provides single-game betting to each province except Nova Scotia, which along with Saskatchewan, has yet to move on the chance to offer single-game betting.

Canadian Regulatory Agencies and Sports Betting Status by Province

Province Regulatory Body Lottery Corp Single-Game Betting? Online Sports Betting? Commercial Component? Retail Sports
AB Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC) Y PlayAlberta Not Currently Sport Select (parlay)
BC British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) Y PlayNow No BCLC
MB Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries (MBLL) Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC) Y PlayNow No Sport Select (parlay)
NB New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corporation (NBLGC) Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) Y Pro-Line No Pro-Line
NL Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) Y Pro-Line No Pro-Line
NS Nova Scotia Gaming Corp (NSGC) Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) N Pro-Line (Parlay Only) No Pro-Line (Parlay)
NVT Department of Community and Government Services Consumer Affairs Division Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC) N Sport Select (parlay) No Sport Select (parlay)
NWT Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC) N Sport Select (parlay) No Sport Select (parlay)
ON Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) Y Pro-Line+ Coming Apr 2022 Pro-Line+
PEI Prince Edward Island Lotteries Commission (PEILC) Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) Y Pro-Line No Pro-Line
QC Société des loteries du Québec loto-quebec Y Mise-o-jeu (loto-quebec) No Mise-o-jeu
SK Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC) N No No Sport Select (parlay)
YT Yukon Lottery Commission (YLC) Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC) N Sport Select (parlay) No Sport Select (parlay)

Bonuses and Promotions in Canadian Sports Betting

In the current market, legal sports betting in Canada is a provincial monopoly across the country. That is set to change early in Q2 for Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, but the strong monopoly held by provincial corporations and multi-province operations like PlayNow means that promotions and bonuses are few and far between for legal Canadian sports betting.

Individual bonuses vary by province and operator, but even with limited competition, provincial sites will still offer some bonuses.

  • PlayNow (BC & MB): $250 Match Deposit Offer
  • PlayAlberta: $100 Free Bet with First Deposit of $20 or more
  • OLG: Up to $500 Matching Sports Bonus for First Deposit to New Account
  • loto-quebec: $25 to Bet on the Big Game
  • ALC: No bonuses or promotions

This situation is likely to change for Ontario in the near future. That province is set to allow commercial bidding for sportsbook operations in April of 2022, and that should open the door to more competition in bonuses and promotions, which will ultimately benefit the bettor looking for extra bankroll.

Many of the big players in global sports betting are eyeing Ont as the market is poised to open, including names like Penn National/Barstool, Bet365, PointsBet, and others, and once that commercial market goes live, Ontario residents at least will likely see better bonuses and promotions.

However, at present, there are no other firm plans for a commercial component to provincial sports betting operations outside Ontario, though a few provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan are politically inclined to consider that option in the future.

How to Recognize a Legal Online Sportsbook in Canada

The only legal gambling in Canada, whether online or in-person, is regulated by the particular provincial government. That covers all gambling, including sportsbooks, so the simplest way to recognize a legal sports betting operation in Canada is to look for affiliation to the provincial gaming authority.

For example, for players in Ontario, all legal sports betting operators will be directly affiliated with Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) and will display OLG’s brand logos prominently. However, there are a few general things to look for to ensure you are playing on a legal, regulated sportsbook in Canada.

  • Provincial Affiliation: This is the most crucial element in Canada since no gambling operation is legal without provincial regulation and approval. Logos for provincial regulators like OLG or AGLC will be prominently displayed on legal options, and information on the provincial licensing for the operator will be easy to find.
  • Local Ownership: While there will be offshore commercial entities coming into the provincial markets that allow commercial competition, those foreign entities will always have local operations in the province they are servicing or partner with a local operation.
  • Geolocation: As a provincial jurisdiction, online gaming operations like sportsbooks are designed to service the provincial populations, and as such, will feature some aspects to ensure players are in the province of play.
  • No Crypto-Currency: Legal, regulated gaming options in Canada must follow all relevant money-laundering and banking rules, and as such, will not accept less traditional sources of funds like crypto-currency. Look for regulated banking options, and treat crypto as a red flag.

It should be noted that as of Feb 2022, the only legal, regulated sports betting option for Canadians is directly through their provincial regulator or provider, as no commercial sportsbooks have yet been licensed in Canada.

Why Choose a Legal Canadian Sportsbook

There is always risk involved in sports betting, but choosing a legal sportsbook keeps those risks on the bets themselves without risking your personal or financial data, or your deposits. Legal sportsbooks in Canada have a wide range of ways to help keep your information safe while you enjoy betting on your favorite sports.

  • Protection: Legal sites will have various layers of protection for players, such as strict age verification and strong data protection policies.
  • Accountability: A provincially-regulated sportsbook in Canada is required to have strong dispute resolution procedures in place, and is subject to the accountability of the provincial regulator and ultimately provincial and national law. That means players will have far better ways to resolve issues with a legal sportsbook.
  • Responsible Gaming: A core part of all provincial regulation in Canada is promoting responsible gambling. On the most obvious level, this gives players who experience problem gambling easy access to support and resources, but on a wider level, it provides a level of confidence to all players that they aren’t winning off the addictions of others.
  • Community Benefits: Legal, regulated gambling sites feed taxes back into the provincial treasury. Betting on sports is always fun, but betting on a legal, regulated site means that win or lose, the bet helps fund education, community development, and addictions programs.

Risks of Playing at Offshore Sports Betting Sites

  • Financial Risk: Legal sportsbooks have strong protections for your bankroll on their site, but betting on unregulated sites could expose you to risks like:
    • Delayed Transactions: Some unregulated sites may delay payouts to encourage more betting, giving them a chance to make their money back before the transaction.
    • Account Closures: Unregulated sites have no regulations to follow regarding accounts and can close accounts for any reason, including winning too much. In most cases, the user will have very limited recourse and may find their funds locked out.
  • Identity Theft: One of the biggest risks a player takes on an unregulated sportsbook is with their data and identity. Regulated sportsbooks are required to have strong data protection policies, but unregulated sites are not bound by the same regulations. The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) offers some solid reasons to play on regulated sites that applies as well to Canadians, while Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) and PlaySmart look at it from a Canadian perspective.
  • No Community Responsibility: Bettors on unregulated sites put themselves at risk, but they also shortchange the community they live in.
    • Lost Tax Revenue: Unregulated sportsbooks do not pay taxes back into local communities the way provincially regulated ones are required to do.
    • Unknown Funding: While regulated sites are registered companies required to pay taxes back to the province, funds collected on unregulated sites provide funding to unknown places and causes. On a regulated site, the bettor knows what their betting is funding, but bettors on unregulated sites have no idea what they are paying for.
    • No Responsible Gaming: Unregulated sites have no requirements to have any responsible gaming policy, and there is no guarantee any policy that might be in place is scientifically sound, or will even be followed.

Types of Sports Bets Available in Canada

Because of the provincial regulation, the kinds of bets available across Canada will vary by province. However, there are a few guidelines that apply across the country.

All Canadians have access to parlay-style retail sports betting, and most Canadians can access that online. Only Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and the Territories are without some form of online betting option, but the options available for provinces that do have online betting will be different for each jurisdiction.

British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec have all implanted some form of online single-event betting to go along with the already available parlay bets. Those single-event bets are available on most global sporting events but do not include special bets on non-sporting events.


Can I place a sports wager in a province where I do not live?

In most jurisdictions in Canada, making an account on a provincially regulated sportsbook requires an in-province address. However, in some specific cases, such as PlayNow which spans both BC and Manitoba, players are able to play in the other shared jurisdiction as well.

Are my sports betting winning taxed?

In Canada, gambling wins are considered windfalls and are generally non-taxable. However, in some cases, players who gamble for a living have had winnings taxed as earnings. That has generally required the state to show the player uses a gambling system to gain an advantage and uses the proceeds of their gambling to earn a living.

Winnings from casual betting are never taxed in Canada, but serious bettors may want to consult a tax professional.

How do I file a complaint?

Complaints can be filed through the relevant provincial regulator or lottery corporation. For example, residents of Ontario can start a chat on OLG to begin the process or call 1-855-978-7529 from 8am to midnight.

Can I bet on the NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB and other American Sports from Canada?

Yes. Among the many sports Canadians can bet on are NHL, NFL, NBA, and MLB. Specific options will vary by province, but most Canadians will also be able to bet on a wide range of other sports from international football to tennis.

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