How Canadian sports betting landscape has evolved over time

Sports betting in Canada has come a long way. In the past, this favorite pastime offered only limited betting options. Thanks to new laws, there’s now more flexibility in placing bets, as well as a larger number of operators where bettors can place their wagers.

Provinces like Alberta and Ontario also allow for third-party operators, with the latter having dozens of live sportsbooks.

A history that dates back to the 20th century

Sports betting and gambling has existed in one form or another in Canada. However, modern history is often traced back to the Amended Criminal Code in 1985, which permitted only parlay-style bets and pari-mutuel gambling at provincial lottery corporations. These limitations prompted several players to visit offshore sites to enjoy more betting variety and flexibility.

In 2021, lawmakers passed Bill C-218, which amended Canada’s Criminal Code to legalize single-event sports betting in the country. This allowed bettors the freedom to bet on individual games without having to accumulate selections into a parlay.

The bill (known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act) was approved in June 2021 and took effect on August 27 of that same year.

The current regulatory framework

Under the current regulatory framework, provinces have authority over sports betting and other gambling operations within their jurisdictions. Each province must ensure compliance with federal laws. However, this autonomy allows each territory to tailor their regulations to the needs and preferences of its residents. As a result of each province implementing its own set of rules and oversight mechanisms, the regulatory landscape for sports betting varies across the country.

Launch of competitive online gaming led by Ontario

The bill allowed for both retail and online single-game events, and several provinces began offering these services in both formats. Ontario was one of the first to make this available online. On the day the law came into force, they launched PROLINE+, a brand new online product operated by The OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation).

Ontario went further and opened up the market to independent operators looking to offer betting services to players in Ontario. Betting companies must meet the requirements of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to gain approval. This regulated market launched on April 4, 2022, and there are now more than 60 online gaming websites live in the province. There’s often a bonus to use for registration in 2024 at many of these sites.

Following in Ontario’s footsteps, Alberta has also shown a willingness to welcome third-party operators to town.

Canada sports betting at a glance

The Canadian betting landscape has changed quite a bit from what it was a few years ago. Although several provinces still maintain only government-run betting sites, Ontario boasts a highly competitive market with both local and international operators vying for a market share. Canada now rivals other global leaders in the sports betting industry, and continues to grow significantly.

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