Can You Bet on Sports in Canada?
Betting on sports has been legal in Canada since 1985, where an amendment meant that certain wagers could be placed on sports. However, there were heavy restrictions with betting only allowed on multiple outcomes. In other words, Canadians could only place bets on parlays. This all changed in 2021, with the federal government finally allowing individual provinces to set their own laws on single-event sports betting.
Since the law in Canada was changed to allow single-event sports betting, Canadian bettors now have the opportunity to place bets on their favorite sporting events both online and in person. The move has regulated the sports betting market in Canada, making it safer and more competitive. While sports betting is legal across the country, the rules aren’t the same in every province.
Where in Canada can you bet on sports legally?
Different provinces across Canada have different rules on where and how you can bet. Some provinces allow Canada sports betting apps, while others only allow in-person betting. Here’s a list of each province and the rules on betting in each:
Yukon – In the Yukon, sports betting is legal but only at retail sportsbooks. Online sports betting is still against the law.
Northwest Territories – The Northwest Territories also have rules in place against online betting, only allowing bets to be made at retail sportsbooks.
Nunavut – Single-event sports betting in Nunavut is legal but only at retail sportsbooks for now.
British Columbia – In this province, residents can place bets online and in person.
Alberta – Alberta also allows single-event sports betting at retail and online sportsbooks.
Saskatchewan – This province has rules against online sports betting, only allowing residents to bet at retail sportsbooks.
Manitoba – In Manitoba, anyone above the age of eighteen can place bets at online and retail sportsbooks.
Ontario – Ontario is the only province in the country that allows online betting but not retail sports betting.
Quebec – In Quebec, all forms of sports betting are allowed. The province allows residents to place single event sports bets online and at retail sportsbooks.
Newfoundland and Labrador – This province also allows all forms of sports betting at licensed sportsbooks.
Nova Scotia – Nova Scotia is currently the only province in the country that still hasn’t legalized and regulated single-game betting. Residents of this province may only bet on parlays.
Why Did Canada Legalize Sports Betting?
Although Canada had laws against single-event betting, Canadians across the country were still placing bets on sports. In most cases, this was done at offshore betting sites, which are something of a legal grey area. Because the demand for single-event betting was high, even the laws against it couldn’t stop bettors, and there are plenty of sites that cater to Canadian sports fans.
As well as being unsafe, these offshore betting sites were taking money out of the country and meaning that local governments lost out on tax revenue. By legalizing the sports betting industry, Canadian lawmakers have been able to protect bettors from potentially harmful sites as well as collect more money in taxes. Sports betting sites operating legally in Canada must pass strict tests to ensure fairness and pay their fair share of taxes to the local government.
With the exception of Nova Scotia, every province has made single-game betting available through lottery-run platforms. However, it’s unclear at the moment when the first sports betting platforms will launch. Right now, retail sportsbooks are on the way in most provinces, but it’s possible that the local governments will stick to their own sports betting operations rather than licensing new operators.
Canadian bettors are still waiting for some clarity on how the sports betting market will look in their country, but there are good signs that things will improve considerably compared to recent years. While there haven’t been any new online sportsbooks opening up in the country so far, popular offshore sites are still available to use, and many have applied for licenses.