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Legal Sports Betting & Gambling Laws in Canada

Online betting in Canada is now legal, from single-game wagering to parlays. Each province has the ability to create their own regulations on sports betting within their borders. So far, Ontario is the only province to regulate private industry sportsbooks to date. In this article, we cover the latest updates on gambling laws in Canada in 2023 so you can bet safely, responsibly, and legally.

Yes, sports betting is legal in Canada. On August 27th 2021, the Canadian government introduced Bill C-218 which decriminalized single-game sports betting cross Canada. Although single-event sports betting is no longer illegal at the federal level, it is up to each individual province to decide how they wish to proceed. When it comes to gambling, the Criminal Code of Canada allows all provinces to make their own rules and regulations. Today, most Canadian provinces and territories offer some form of single-game betting, although the full rules and regulations differ by jurisdiction.

When sports betting was legalized in Canada in August 27th 2021, a number of provinces had single-game betting options ready to go on their provincially-regulated platforms. Provinces like British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec all offer their own provincially-run sportsbooks, operated by their respective lottery and gaming commissions. In addition, each of these provinces offers both online and in-person sports betting options. On August 27th, bettors in each of these provinces could place single-game wagers on these platforms, but only through the provincially-regulated platforms. To date, Ontario is the only province to introduce additional regulations that allow private sportsbooks to operate within its borders.

Where To Legally Bet On Sports In Canada

While betting on sports is legal in Canada, there are major restrictions compared to other countries. Each province has different regulations and allowed platforms when it comes to legal online and retail sports betting. With the 2021 Criminal Code of Canada changes that now allow single-game sports betting in Canada, there have been major changes in the availability of online sportsbooks. Canada’s territories – Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut – only have in-person retail sports betting via the Western Canada Lottery Corporation’s Sport Select games available. However, sports bettors can fill out their bet slips online, but they must visit a retail location to purchase their tickets.

Sports betting is legal through the following regulatory bodies:

Province/TerritoryRegulatory BodyProvincial Sportsbook
British ColumbiaBritish Columbia Lottery CorporationPlayNow
AlbertaAlberta Gaming, Liquor, and CannabisPlay Alberta
SaskatchewanSaskatchewan Indian Gaming AuthoritySport Select (WCLC), PlayNow (BCLC)
ManitobaManitoba Liquor & LotteriesPlayNow (BCLC)
OntarioAlcohol and Gaming Corporation of OntarioProline, Private Books
QuébecLoto-QuébecMise-o-Jeu
Newfoundland and LabradorAtlantic Lottery CorporationProline (AGCO)
Nova ScotiaAtlantic Lottery CorporationProline (AGCO)
Prince Edward IslandAtlantic Lottery CorporationProline (AGCO)
New BrunswickAtlantic Lottery CorporationProline (AGCO)
YukonLotteries YukonSport Select (WCLC) – Retail Only
Northwest TerritoriesWCLCSport Select (WCLC) – Retail Only
NunavutWCLCSport Select (WCLC) – Retail Only

While every Canadian province and territory offers legal retail (aka in-person) sports betting in some form, not all provinces offer legal access to online sportsbooks. This is a distinct difference to understand when navigating the legal sportsbook landscape in Canada. below, we list

British Columbia

Population: Approx. 5.1 million.

Legal provincial online sportsbook: British Columbia Lottery Corporation – PlayNow.

Major professional sports teams: Vancouver Canucks (NHL), Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS), Vancouver Warriors (NLL), and BC Lions (CFL).

British Columbia is a province that private sportsbook operators are very interested in, but the provincial government hasn’t yet seriously considered allowing them into the local market. The City of Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics and boasts four professional sports teams. Sports fans and bettors in this region also keep close tabs on nearby Seattle teams.

Alberta

Population: Approx. 4.4 million.

Legal provincial sportsbooks: Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis – Play Alberta.

Major Professional sports teams: Calgary Flames (NHL), Edmonton Oilers (NHL), Calgary Roughnecks (NLL), Calgary Stampeders (CFL), Edmonton Elks (CFL).

Besides being the home of many professional sports teams, this province is known for hosting the yearly Calgary Stampede and is a paradise for alpine skiing and other winter sports. Provincial regulators in Alberta are looking for two private operators to provide retail sports wagering, with possible mobile extensions.

Saskatchewan

Population: Approx. 1.2 million.

Legal provincial sportsbook: Partnership through BCLC offers PlayNow.

Major Professional sports teams: Saskatchewan Roughriders (CFL), Saskatchewan Rush (NLL).

Home to the wildest fans in the Canadian Football League, this prairie province is also known for curling. The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority recently launched a new online sportsbook in November, 2022, with the help of BCLC’s PlayNow platform.

Manitoba

Population: Approx. 1.4 million.

Legal provincial lottery for sports betting: Partnership through BCLC offers PlayNow.

Major Professional sports teams: Winnipeg Jets (NHL), Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL).

Winnipeg is the epicenter of sports in Manitoba, a province known for developing world-class curlers and hockey players. Many sports fans and bettors in this region, which shares a border with Minnesota and South Dakota, follow Minnesota and Wisconsin sports teams due to their close proximity.

Ontario

Population: Approx. 14.6 million.

Legal provincial sportsbook: Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation – Proline Plus.

Major Professional sports teams: Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Toronto Argonauts (CFL), Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto Rock (NLL), Toronto FC (MLS), Ottawa Senators (NHL), Toronto Blue Jays (MLB), Hamilton Tiger-Cats (CFL), Ottawa Redblacks (CFL).

Ontario, the most populous province in Canada, is home to the most professional and amateur sports organizations in the country, as well as the most sports bettors. In addition to OLG’s PROLINE games, Ontario launched a regulated iGaming market on April 4, 2022, which allowed dozens of private sportsbooks into the sports betting marketplace. All of the other provinces will be watching carefully to see if this type of open model will work for them as well.

Quebec

Population: Approx. 8.6 million.

Legal provincial sportsbook: Loto-Quebec – Mise-o-Jeu.

Major professional sports teams: Montreal Canadiens (NHL), Montreal Alouettes (CFL), Montreal Impact (MLS).

Quebec, a primarily French-speaking province, boasts three professional sports franchises. The region used to also host the Montreal Expos (moved to Washington in 2004) Major League Baseball franchise and the Quebec Nordiques (NHL) before they became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995.

Atlantic Provinces

Population: 2.5 million (Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick).

Legal provincial sportsbook: Atlantic Lottery Corporation – Proline Plus.

Major professional sports teams: Halifax Thunderbirds (NLL).

Nova Scotia is the largest of the Atlantic provinces and is known as a junior hockey hotbed. The province has bred high-profile hockey stars Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche), but still doesn’t have a NHL team. Due to its proximity to the Atlantic Seaboard and Maine, many fans and bettors follow Boston sports teams religiously.

The legal gambling age in Canada is either 18 or 19, depending on which province you live in. Gambling laws are up to each individual province to determine, which is why the legal gambling age varies across the country. In addition, the rules differ depending on the activity you hope to partake in. You must be of legal gambling age in Canada or your respective province to enter a casino, buy scratch tickets, gamble online, or play the provincial lottery.

Gambling online includes sports betting at regulated sports books. To date, these sportsbooks include any provincially-regulated sportsbook such as PlayNow.com, Proline, or Play Alberta. In addition, this includes private sportsbooks that operate within Ontario. If you’re located outside of Ontario and hoping to bet on sports online, you’ll have to check the rules that govern the grey market sportsbook you’re looking to bet with. Each grey market sportsbook will be different based on where it operates out of. For now, consult the table below to find out if you are of legal gambling age

Province/TerritoryGambling Age
British Columbia19
Alberta18
Saskatchewan19
Manitoba18
Ontario19
Quebec18
Newfoundland and Labrador19
Nova Scotia19
Prince Edward Island19
New Brunswick19
Yukon19
Northwest Territories19
Nunavut19
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Timeline Of Gambling Laws In Canada

1892: Gambling activities in Canada went unregulated until 1892, when the federal government developed and passed the Criminal Code of Canada. After the Criminal Code was introduced, all sports betting and other gambling activities were banned, with the exception of horse wagering pools, or games at small midways or carnivals.

1969: In 1969, the Criminal Code of Canada was modified by the federal government to allow small-stakes gambling on behalf of charities or churches. This development later led to the passing of Bill C-150, which gave the provincial and federal governments the opportunity to use lotteries to fund specific activities, such as the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal.

1985: In 1985, another amendment to the Criminal Code gave provinces the exclusive authority to conduct and manage lotteries and lottery schemes, including games conducted via a computer, video device, or slot machine. This amendment also gave provincial lotteries the opportunity to offer parlay markets for popular North American sports events, like hockey, basketball, baseball, and football. At this time, moneyline wagering was the only option available and each parlay required at least three legs.

1992: In 1992, provincial governments debuted the parlay betting product Proline, and other similar sports lottery products, at retail locations to offer an alternative to illegal bookmaking in the country. With the rise in popularity of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s, several independent grey market operators from around the world, in places like Costa Rica, Gibraltar, and Isle of Man, began taking bets from Canadian customers, who were exposed to a wide array of markets, higher bet limits, and bonuses for the first time.

2012 – 2016: Legislators drafted a number of bills to legalize single-event sports betting and attempt to begin taxing the revenue domestically, which eventually led to Bill C-290 getting passed in the House of Commons in 2012. However, the bill was voted down in the Senate in 2015, and a second attempt was also squashed in 2016.

2020 – 2021: On Feb. 25, 2020, Conservative Member of Parliament Kevin Waugh introduced Bill C-218, intended to legalize single-game wagering in Canada and give the provinces the authority to conduct and manage the regulation of the industry. Conservative Senator David Wells later sponsored the bill in the Senate, ultimately leading to the decriminalization of single-game wagering, effective Aug. 27, 2021.

2022: Ontario is currently the only province to allow private operators to compete in the marketplace alongside provincially run lotteries, which was officially regulated as of 2022. As previously stated, sports betting is “conducted and managed” by the individual provinces of Canada. Provincial governments have the ability to establish the legal framework for sports betting within their provincial borders.

Why Regulate Online Sports Betting In Canada?

Online betting is the preferred form of gambling among Canadians, with an estimated $14 billion spent illegally offshore in 2020. One of the aims of Ontario’s new regulated sports betting market, which launched on April 4 2022, is to be a catalyst for change by converting customers to a safe, and regulated, online sports betting market that allows the province to profit from the industry.

Many online sports bettors don’t understand the risks of wagering with an unregulated sportsbook. There are no guarantees that deposits are secure, personal information is protected, odds are fair, or responsible gambling initiatives are active. Your payouts on winnings could even be delayed or not paid out altogether. Not to mention some offshore websites are operated by illegal entities.

Online sportsbook operators in Ontario are subject to roughly 20% tax on gaming revenue from the Ontario government. This means that a sizable portion of your deposits with regulated sportsbooks in Ontario are reinvested to the local community. This is primary reason why additional provinces should consider regulating the sports betting industry — to profit through taxation, and to ensure the safety of Canadian bettors.

In-Person Casino Sports Betting Options

In-person casino sports betting is also now legal in Ontario as of November, 2022. On Oct. 31, 2022, the OLG announced it had reached an agreement on compliance with the Ontario government to pave the way for the launch of retail single-game sports betting in Ontario.

Hours after that announcement, Great Canadian Entertainment, which operates 25 gaming, entertainment, and hospitality destinations across Canada, announced it was accepting in-person retail sports wagers at 10 of its Ontario casinos. Four of its 12 Ontario casinos: Great Blue Heron Casino & Hotel, Pickering Casino Resort, Elements Casino Brantford, and Shorelines Casino Belleville, have launched dedicated sportsbook lounges, where patrons can watch live games, enjoy food and beverage options, and place sports wagers at designated kiosks.

Six other GCE locations, including Casino Woodbine, Shorelines Casino Peterborough, Shorelines Casino Thousand Islands, Elements Casino Mohawk, Elements Casino Grand River, and Elements Casino Flamboro now feature sportsbook kiosks within existing gaming areas.

A few days later on Nov. 3, 2022, Caesars Windsor launched 10 sports betting kiosks on its property. Construction is already underway on a retail sportsbook with an estimated completion date of early next year. On Nov. 16, 2022, Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara opened their respective retail sports betting kiosks and lounge. There are also plans for a sports betting lounge later in 2023 at one of SIGA’s seven casinos in the province of Saskatchewan.

Gambling Laws In Canada FAQ

Is betting legal in Canada?

Yes betting on sports is legal in Canada. Parlay betting has been legal since 1985 in Canada, while single-event betting was legalized in 2021. The only province to regulate private sportsbook to date, however, is Ontario. This means bettors in other provinces have to stick to provincially-regulated sportsbooks.

Where can I bet in Canada?

Depending on the province you live in, you can bet online or in-person at a retail kiosk. Canadians located in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Quebec, or the Atlantic Provinces have options to bet on sports online.

Who can bet legally in Canada?

Anyone over the age of 19 can bet on sports in Canada. In Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec, anyone over the age of 18 can bet on sports.

Is single-game sports betting legal in Canada?

Yes, betting on single-game sports has been legal in Canada since 2021 when the Criminal Code of Canada was amended.

Can I bet on sports in Canada?

Anyone over the legal age of majority in their respective province can bet on sports online. Depending on where you live, there are options across Canada for betting on legal and grey markets sportsbooks.

What is the legal gambling age in Canada?

In Alberta, Ontario, and Manitoba, you can gamble as early as 18. In all other provinces and territories, bettors must be at least 19 years of age.

When was sports betting legalized in Canada?

Single-game sports betting was legalized in 2021 in Canada. The original form of sports betting, horse pool betting, has been legal since 1892. It wasn’t until the Criminal Code of Canada was amended in the 80’s that parlay wagering was enabled. This led to the first online betting option in Canada, Proline. In 2021, provincial lottery platforms began offering single-game betting options.

Is parlay betting legal in Canada?

Yes. Parlay betting, also known as an accumulator bet, was legalized in Canada in 1985.

When was single-game sports betting legalized in Canada?

Single-game sports betting was legalized on August 27th 2021.

What gambling sites are legal in Canada?

Provincially regulated sportsbooks in Canada include: Proline, PlayNow, Play Alberta, Sport Select, and Mise-O-Jeu.