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Why you can’t bet on horse racing sportsbooks in Ontario

Users can still bet on horse racing, but not only in newly licensed sportsbooks in Ontario. 

Ontario’s new gambling market has welcomed some of the biggest sportsbooks in the world, but their platforms appear to have one glaring omission that many sports betting fans can’t quite get over. Across all the commercial sportsbooks (like Bet365 and Fanduel) that are now operational in Ontario, none are able to offer bets for horse racing. Why is horse racing the only sport that has been omitted? 

While sports betting, along with betting on horses is legal, horse racing betting in Canada is regulated at the federal level, and not at the provincial level. What this means is that while provincial governments have the power to regulate gambling on sports, gambling on horse racing remains out of their direct jurisdiction, as a different entity controls it. 

In Ontario, the iGaming industry (sports betting and online casino) is regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, while horse racing bets still fall under the purview of the Canadian Parimutuel Agency (CPMA). So essentially, any entity that offers horse racing betting needs to offer parimutuel betting, which involves players betting against each others, with their stakes going into pools. This form of betting is regulated by a different body (at the federal level) than the one that regulates online sportsbooks in Ontario, and that is why users cannot access horse racing bets on them.

Find horse racing odds in Ontario 

While bettors can access a wide range of horse racing betting sites in Canada’s other provinces and territories, in Ontario, users are limited to two horse racing-only betting apps. Dark Horse Bets, and HPI Bet are the two apps that users can bet on horse races with, and each offer unique horse racing betting features that make up for the lacking horse racing odds on commercial sportsbooks throughout the province. 

Both platforms are owned and operated by the Woodbine Entertainment Group, and each offer something for different kinds of horse racing bettors. Bettors that are newer to horse racing will best be served by Dark Horse Bets, while bettors that are a little more experienced would be best suited to using HPI Bet. 

Will we see a change in legislation? 

The key caveat that may be the change regarding sportsbooks offering horse racing betting lies in the power of the Woodbine Group, which possesses a federal parimutuel betting license in Ontario, and has shown interest in working with commercial sportsbooks to be the provider of legal horse racing odds for these commercial platforms.

Currently, users in Ontario with an interest in betting on sports and on horses are required to use different platforms to do so. However the partnership between the Woodbine Group and commercial sportsbooks could see a new era of convenience for sports bettors who want to bet on horse racing in the province.

Note: The author is Editor of My Betting Sites Canada.

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