Single-event sports betting has finally launched in Ontario.
Since single-game sports betting launched on August 27th, 2021, we will soon see Ontario welcoming in some of the top sports betting sites in the industry – much like states in the United States have done.
Ontario is expected to be the first province to allow independent sportsbook operators in Canada now that Bill C-218 is passed by Canadian lawmakers and single-event betting is now legal and active.
Ontario is the Canadian province with the largest population, most sports teams, and is well-known around the world. Ontario is home to the capital and home to the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa as well as the provincial capital of Toronto which holds almost all of Ontario’s professional sports franchises across the MLB, NHL, NBA, MLS and CFL.
Ontario is home to over 14 million residents, meaning they have the highest population density by a long shot, with British Columbia being behind them at just five million. Ottawa is actually situated along the Quebec border and Montreal is a quick commute away, which allows Quebec residents to cross provincial borders for work and play.
It is no surprise that the Ontarian governmental bodies were advancing their plans for single-game wagering and the future of online sports betting in Ontario long before Bill C-218 was passed.
The Ontario government established a new subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to manage the new online gambling and sports betting markets in June 2021. The AGCO will regulate and license any new sports betting operators that enter the Ontario gambling space and existing ones too.
The province wants to foster a gambling experience where the consumers have a variety of choices, so ensuring that there is a subjective third party with no conflicts of interest will ensure that is achievable. We can expect plenty of online betting operators in the province upon legalization.
There will be compliance agreements that operators will need to abide by, which will make these sports wagering and casino sites offered in Ontario safe and secure. This includes age verification, anti-fraud agreements and background checks for sportsbooks, as well as accessibility standards.
In 1985, the Criminal Code added a section that made sports betting, bookmaking, placing bets on behalf of others and other gambling acts illegal. This meant that gambling and sports betting was deemed unlawful and sectioned in the criminal code alongside homicide, prostitution and sexual assault.
In 1992, the Gaming Control Act was put into effect and this awarded the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission rights to regulate the limited gambling options in the province. This was shortly followed by the first casino to be built in Windsor, Ontario in 1994. Sports betting was also on the table, but due to the Canadian Criminal Code, they were only able to offer parlay wagers, or multi-game wagers.
The legal gambling age in Ontario is 18 years old for casinos, sports betting and lottery, which is lower than in some other provinces. The province is in such close range of Quebec, which also has their age of majority set at 18, to thwart any competition between the two provinces and their lottery and sports betting options.
The reason the sports betting industry is so prevalent in Canada and worth billions, is that the Criminal Code is from 1985 so there is no mention of online gambling, online sports betting or any other options. Therefore, there has never been anything preventing an offshore online sportsbook from offering Canadians single event sports wagering.
On June 28, 2021, Bill C-218 was passed by the Canadian Senate, which removed one line in the Canadian Criminal Code banning single-event sports betting and allowing provincial governments to regulate and license sports betting operations themselves.
On August 27, 2021, single-event sports betting launched in Canada, many provinces were prepared with making slight alterations to their already existing lottery-run sportsbook offering.
Pro-Line was introduced right away in 1992, when the Gaming Control Act came into effect. Pro-Line offered parlay-style bet slips where a bettor can wager on two to eight sporting events, which is legal according to the Canadian Criminal Code.
The Pro-Line product expanded to online wagering in recent years, due to the rise of bettors who prefer to bet from their mobile devices. Pro-Line Stadium’s betting odds are much less lucrative – you wouldn’t win nearly as much with Pro-Line as you’d win on the same bet slip at an established online sportsbook like Bet365 or Sports Interaction. Sometimes the difference is 20% more juice in your favour when you go online.
Forcing parlay wagers made sports betting for Canadians extremely risky. You either have to be extremely lucky or know exactly what you’re doing when betting on parlay wagers.
The fact you could bet on all the games leading up to the Stanley Cup final (as long as you parlay them together), but couldn't actually bet on the main event, was extremely frustrating for Canadian sports bettors.
Once single-game sports betting was legalized, the OLG began preparing for the launch and created Pro-Line+, an enhanced betting experience with more competitive odds and simulates a traditional sportsbook. We consider this a huge upgrade from the previous Pro-Line product.
There are two major city centers in Ontario where professional sports are played: Toronto and Ottawa. Toronto is by far the biggest sport city in all of Canada, hosting teams from many of the major professional sports leagues.
Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the most popular Canadian NHL teams, and honoured as one of the ‘Original Six’. They were fierce competitors early on, winning their first Stanley Cup in their first season as a team, but the team hasn’t seen a Stanley Cup victory, or even made it to the championship, since 1967. Even though the Toronto Maple Leafs have the longest drought in the NHL on their hands, fans across Canada are still loyal.
The Ottawa Senators are the second NHL team in Ontario, offering Canada’s capital a taste of professional sports. The Senators can’t rival the Leafs in terms of popularity, and they tend to be faded on betting slips due to the slump they’ve been in for the past several years.
The only NBA team in Canada resides in Toronto, which means the Raptors are a Canada-wide favourite on their own merit. However, after their 2019 NBA Championship, the fanbase exploded – easily making the Toronto Raptors Canada’s favourite sports team.
Basketball wagering is extremely popular in the United States and Canada, and Toronto bettors love when their home team is also a winning team – so plenty of the Ontario sports betting handle goes on the Raptors to win.
The Toronto Blue Jays are the only MLB team in Canada since the Montreal Expos folded in 2004. The Jays joined Major League Baseball in 1977 and established a huge fanbase across the country. They have two World Series titles from 1992 and 1993, and the closest they’ve come in recent years is losing the American League Championship Series in 2015 and 2016.
Toronto FC is the only Major League Soccer team located in Ontario and is still fairly new to the league after only being established in 2007. The team is owned by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which also owns the Raptors and Maple Leafs, among other professional franchises. They have won the MLS Cup just once in 2017, a decade after their first season. Toronto FC competes in the CONCACAF Champions League when they qualify, which has been seven of their 13 seasons to date, only making it to the finals once in 2018.
Three of the four CFL East Division teams reside in Ontario, making the province a big CFL betting hub in Canada.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have been a part of the CFL since 1950, based in Hamilton, Ontario. The team has won eight Grey Cup titles, their last being in 1999. They have the biggest Grey Cup drought in the Canadian Football League.
The Toronto Argonauts are the oldest professional sports team in North America that retained its original name, as well as the oldest CFL team in the league. The Argos have won 17 Grey Cup titles, the most recent being in 2017. The franchise is owned by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which also owns all the Toronto-based professional sports teams from the NHL to NBA, MLS and MLB.
The Ottawa Redblacks are the newest CFL team, only being introduced to the league in 2014. There have been three Ottawa CFL teams in the history of the league, and the Redblacks managed to win their first Grey Cup in 2016, also ending the city’s 40-year drought.
If you’re looking to place some action on the horses in Ontario, you’re in luck – horse racing betting is legal in the province of Ontario, and you can even head to the track to place your wager. There are horse racing tracks spread throughout the province, giving bettors an opportunity to head to the track and not only watch the races, but also bet on them.
HPIBet provides all in-person racebook activity for Ontario horse betting, which includes off-track betting for all Canadian races but also international races. Once Bill C-218 passes, you should be able to bet on horse racing online in Ontario.
|Name||City||On-site Horse Betting?|
|Fort Erie Race Track||Fort Erie||Yes|
|Grand River Raceway||Elora||Yes|
|Rideau Carleton Raceway||Ottawa||Yes|
|Hiawatha Horse Park & Entertainment Centre||Sarnia||Yes|
|The Raceway at Western Fair District||London||Yes|
When it comes to casino betting in the province of Ontario, you can find a few great options. There are several casinos throughout the province that are offered by the OLG, a handful of First Nations casinos and then privately-owned casinos that are licensed in the province.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) regulates all gambling activities in Ontario, and ensure that the operations are all socially responsible, safe and provides fair gambling procedures.
The most popular games to bet on in Ontario are slot machines, Texas Hold’em, Poker, Blackjack and Roulette. All of these can be played online at regulated online casinos in Ontario and allow you to gamble on Vegas-style casino games from the comfort of your own home.
Online operators have great free bet options as well as casino bonuses to help you pad your bankroll and give you more money to play with. You can find promotions, loyalty programs, and free spins or betting offers, while the OLG-owned casinos don’t offer much in terms of bonuses.
Caesars Entertainment also owns a casino in Windsor, Ontario, and they have opened their offering up to sports betting in the United States so we could expect to see an offering there as well.
There are three First Nations-Owned casinos in Ontario:
There are also several other casinos owned by various operators:
|Canadian National Exhibition Casino||Toronto|
|Cascades Casino Chatham||Chatham|
|Casino Niagara||Niagara Falls|
|Fallsview Casino Resort||Niagara Falls|
|Shorelines Casino Belleville||Belleville|
|Shorelines Casino Kawartha Downs||Fraserville|
|Shorelines Casino Peterborough||Fraserville|
|Shorelines Casino Thousand Islands||Gananoque|
Yes, sports betting is legal in Ontario, but currently only parlay wagers can be placed on the OLG’s Pro-Line product.
The minimum age for legal gambling in the province of Ontario is 18 years old.
There are 16 casinos in the province of Ontario. Several are owned by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission, three are owned by First Nations tribes, and there are several independent casinos that are owned by big gambling brands such as Caesar’s Entertainment and Shorelines.
Yes, single-game sports betting is legal and regulated in Ontario, you can currently bet on single events on the Pro-Line+ offering by OLG.
Currently, you can bet on sports in Ontario on Pro-Line, which is offered exclusively through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming board. You can expect independent operators by the end of 2022.
"I'm an avid sports fan and content creator from Nova Scotia, Canada. I have over 14 years of experience in the gambling space, specifically in the sports betting industry specializing in sportsbook reviews and sports betting educational content."