Ontario Online Sports Betting
Canada’s biggest province, Ontario, became the first jurisdiction in the country to expand their legal sports betting laws… and it happened fast. The home of high-profile teams in the NHL, NBA, MLB and the Canadian Football League, Ontario is poised to become not only the template for other Canadian provinces to follow on their own legal mobile sports betting path, but also the standard to which all other jurisdictions across the country will measure themselves.
Ontario Online Sportsbooks
Sports Betting Legalization in Canada
The date August 27, 2021 will long be remembered as the day that Canada moved past their archaic, primarily lottery-based, parlay-only sports betting focus, to one that would welcome many iconic and recognizable sports betting brands and their slew of exciting bet-types. It was the day that Canadian lawmakers finally amended its Criminal Code with Bill C-218, which allowed individual provinces to legalize and regulate single-game wagering however they wish and ultimately paved the way for single-game betting. The Bill passed by a 57-20 margin on June 23, 2021 and was officially enacted into law two months later. This was a hard-fought victory after years of legislative wrangling, periods of optimism and periods of pessimism.
After receiving federal approval, Ontario lawmakers and regulators moved fast to launch their own iteration of legal sports betting. The application process for mobile operators started soon after August 27 and just a few months later, April 4, 2022 to be exact, a dozen mobile sportsbooks, some with a global reach, launch in the Ontario market. This launch gave 15 million Canadians (40% of the overall Canadian population) a chance to bet on one game at a time, and a host of bet-types previously untouchable and provided a legal, regulated marketplace for those hoping to avoid offshore, unregulated markets.
Canada’s Journey Toward Legal Sports Betting
Canadian legislators took their time deciding whether to expand the existing legal sports betting platform. There had been discussion for decades with no real movement toward legalization of single-game betting. While not directly mentioned as a catalyst for the increased momentum for a broad legal sports betting platform in The Great White North, the smooth and successful launch of a complete platform in the U.S. in 2018 can take some credit for inspiring the legal sports betting debate among Canadian lawmakers.
Canadians have actually had a limited sports betting platform for decades, consisting of parlays only. In Ontario, Proline, the sports betting product run by the province’s Lottery Corporation has been active since 1992. Their mobile sports betting platform launched back in 2000.
What was lacking in Canada was the ability for its citizens to place a bet on one game at a time. Bettors were forced to combine 3 or more wagers to legally place a parlay bet or seek unregulated, offshore sportsbooks in order to place a single game bet on any sporting event, down to a singular Maple Leafs game.
That was until August 2021 when Canadian lawmakers moved to expand sports betting options and more recently April 4, 2022, when 12 mobile sportsbooks launched in Ontario and started taking bets, including single-game wagers for those 19 years and older. A new open market for private and Lottery based sportsbooks expanded the betting potential for an Ontario market that would rank as the 5th most populated U.S. state. Some analysts expect the Ontario scene to generate an estimated $1.3 billion per year.
Ontario Leads on Sports Betting
It is no surprise that Ontario became the first Canadian province to welcome a broad retail and mobile sports betting platform. The Province’s gambling regulator, he Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) had consistently been a regulatory body looking for an edge. The AGCO ran the only legal parlay-only sportsbook in the province for decades was acutely aware of the estimated $4 billion per year that the company was losing to offshore sports betting operators and the estimated $10 billion total supposedly wagered per year in the province.
Ontario has teams in three of North America’s four major professional sports leagues – the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators of the NHL, the Toronto Raptors of the NBA and the Toronto Blue Jays, former champions in Major League Baseball. The province also shares a border with Minnesota, Michigan, and New York (and is right across Lake Erie from Ohio and Pennsylvania), two of which (NY and MI) rank in the top-10 legal sports betting jurisdictions in the United States.
Ontario’s move to launch a wide-ranging and comprehensive legal mobile sports betting platform was a logical step for Ontario, one that would allow them to modernize an out-of-date system, to keep up with their neighbors to the South and to ultimately generate a fair amount of tax dollars to be used for needy provincial and federal programs.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario went to work right away with the licensing process. Up to 30 licenses have been approved, and at the end of the first month of legalization, 15 sportsbooks were taking bets, with more promised down the line.
Sportsbooks in Ontario
The following sportsbooks are currently operating in Ontario. This page will be updated as additional sportsbooks open up in the province.
It is imperative to first talk about the sportsbook that started it all in the Ontario market. Proline+, the Ontario Lottery sportsbook brand has been around since 1992 and launched a mobile sportsbook back in 2000. It has been seen as an OK option since but has run into issues with their betting lines not being quite as competitive as the rash of global sportsbooks that came to market in the province. Proline+ also has some catching up to do with regard to their sports betting menu, bet types and banking options compared to other sportsbooks in the Ontario market.
Sports website theScore has been a recognizable name in Canada for decades. The company started out as one of Canada’s leading media, news and statistics websites and transitioned to television for a period of time. theScore Bet became a relatively successful name to watch in the U.S. market, before being bought out by American gambling heavyweight Penn National Gaming. The company is still based in Canada and has already proven that their name recognition and Canadian focus will help with their northern aspirations.
theScore Bet came out of the gate strong in Canada, quickly becoming the most downloaded sports betting app in the Ontario market over the first two weeks. Part of the credit could be given to their ground-breaking sponsorship deal with Canada’s MLB team, the Toronto Blue Jays.
European-based sportsbook Bet365 also started their tenure in Ontario in impressive fashion, almost matching theScore Bet for the most downloads in the first two weeks of operation in the Ontario market. Bet365 had been active in the Canadian market for years prior to the legalization of single-game betting as one of Canada’s “grey market” operators. Bet365 closed their “grey” operation April 3 and transitioned to a regulated focus April 4, 2022.
As a global provider, Bet365 brought with them to Ontario a wealth of experience, a healthy set of sports and bet-types and a recognized name in Canadian sports betting circles.
FanDuel’s exposure in Ontario will certainly be enhanced by their deal to exclusively provide odds for TSN, one of Canada’s main sports networks. FanDuel is also an official sports betting partner of the Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Toronto FC (MLS), and the Toronto Argonauts (CFL), among others.
PointsBet hasn’t been around all that long, but they have certainly made a splash in the markets that they are active in – Ontario included. The company has been a player in the U.S. market thanks to their competitive promotional focus and overall quality and innovation of their wagering experience. Their proprietary PointsBetting system is a new and exciting form of wagering – one that we are sure will catch on in Ontario, just as it has in some of the most successful jurisdictions south of the border.
PointsBet has been active in their attempt to elevate the profile of their brand. Integral partnerships with Curling Canada, Alpine Canada, the NHL Alumni Association, the Ottawa Redblacks and Canada’s iconic Trailer Park Boys (insert raised eyebrow emoji) should give the company some much needed exposure in Ontario going forward.
An iconic name in the U.S. gambling scene, Caesars already had a presence in Ontario prior to launching its mobile sportsbook on April 4, 2022. Caesars Windsor Casino has been a provincial landmark in Ontario for decades. Caesars Sportsbook has been one of the most aggressive sportsbooks in the world with regard to expansion – they took over European giant William Hill in 2021 and have remained one of the top global brands, while checking all of the boxes necessary to be a serious player in the Ontario market.
BetMGM is another one of the iconic gambling names that made their way North of the Border on April 4, 2022. Bet MGM has managed to forge its way to the top on the global market with brand recognition, as complete and competitive odds as there is in the industry and almost unmatched experience catering to gamblers.
It doesn’t hurt that BetMGM has iconic Canadian Wayne Gretzky as a brand ambassador and has a partnership deal in place with the National Hockey League.
The popular European brand 888sport made its way to Canada after struggling to gain traction in the U.S. market. The company partnered with Sports Illustrated in 2021 but will launch under the 888 name in Canada. 888sport has quite a following in Europe and brings with them a wealth of experience and markets as well as casino and poker options in the Ontario market.
Another popular European bookmaker that has everything you could want in a sportsbook, including a huge range of sports and bet types. The Kindred Group product has failed to make many inroads in the U.S., but it shouldn’t deter bettors from Unibet’s excellent mobile app. Unibet boasts an impressive menu of betting options as well as an iCasino that is complete with a massive selection of slots, table games and live dealer options.
Rivalry was the only Canadian company other than theScore Bet to launch in Ontario April 4. The company has also been licensed in Australia and has an esports focus, with a respectable sportsbook to back it up. It’s going to be a struggle to keep up with the big guys in the Ontario market, but Rivalry has a nice alternative to some of the behemoths.
LeoVegas has been around in Sweden for over a decade as primarily an online casino. Kambi-powered LeoVegas has been operating in Ontario’s “grey market” and boasts competitive odds, quality live streaming options and an impressive iCasino.
Royal Panda has been a popular option in the U.K. since 1994. LeoVegas bought the company in 2017 and has been operating under the Royal Panda name since. Royal Panda has been operating in Canada’s grey market, so they are somewhat familiar with the Ontario market. The sportsbook is powered by juggernaut Kambi and brings a quality iCasino to the regulated Ontario scene.
DraftKings wasn’t in the first wave of sportsbooks to go live in Ontario, but it wasn’t going to sit out for long. The operator went live in the province about seven weeks after “opening day” and will surely be successful, due in part to its familiarity among sports bettors who have used its DFS platform.
Unibet is live in Ontario, but has been operating as a gray market sportsbook in the country for a long time. Unibet is a huge brand across the world, and it will no doubt be a popular option among Ontarians.
Pinnacle Sports is a large online casino and sportsbook that is available in many countries, including Canada. Pinnacle is licensed in Ontario and has been operating in the province since October 2022. It is a great option for international sports due to its global presence and reach, but of course, all the biggest Canadian sports are available on the website and app as well.
Additional operators live in Ontario
- North Star Bets
Mobile apps in Ontario
Most of the competing websites in the Ontario market have been active in other places for some time and realize the importance of access to their site. All are available on iOS, Android, and Desktop and most are available for download from the App Store and Google Play.
There are exceptions of course but availability is not a problem for the majority of competing sportsbooks in the Ontario market.
Wagering Options for Ontario Bettors
Previously home to a parlay-only sports betting platform, Ontario bettors have been afforded a whole new menu of bet types. The list includes:
- Parlays (including same-game parlays)
- Live/in-game wagering
Canada’s legal sports betting providers have most of the banking options available to bettors in America, including:
- e-wallets (Neteller, Skrill, and PayPal), and Play+ Card are all popular banking options in the U.S. and global markets (expect the number of banking options in Ontario to increase and include e-wallets and other banking alternatives as the overall market matures)
Right now it is not expected that retail sportsbooks will be coming to Ontario, so wagering with cash at the casino cage is not an option.
Ontario Sports Teams
Ontario is a sports-crazed province, as passionate about their sports as any place on earth. Leafs Nation is legendary. Along with the Leafs, Ontario is also home to the Ottawa Senators and Canada’s only representative in MLB, the Toronto Blue Jays and the NBA, the Toronto Raptors. The Canadian Football League is also a popular summertime sport in the province.
A few American markets will also get their share of bettors’ attention. The Buffalo Bills are very popular in Ontario but Ontarians root for all different NFL teams. Michigan teams are also heavily followed in Ontario. The Detroit Lions and other Michigan-based sports teams are popular with southern Ontario residents.
What Regulated Sports Betting Means for Ontario… and Canada
There are endless benefits to having a regulated sports betting industry in Ontario. Firstly, is the financial gain. Provincial and local government programs will benefit from the tax revenue being collected off an activity that had been going on anyway – through offshore sportsbooks or unregulated markets. Tax revenue from legal sports betting will help Ontarians.
Secondly, bettors in Ontario get the assurance that the licensed operators to which they are trusting their personal information with is legit. All licensed sportsbooks in Ontario have passed stringent regulatory hurdles – most have gone through similar vetting in other jurisdictions across the world.
Next is the huge menu of sports betting options that the new legal sportsbooks bring to the Ontario market. Global sportsbooks brought with them a huge variety of sports and expertise from around the world as well as a host of bet types previously not afforded to Canadian bettors.
The banking options are also better with the casino behemoths that are now operating in the Ontario market – depositing and withdrawing funds is as easy as ever.
Ontario Sports Betting FAQ
When was single-game betting legalized in Ontario?
In August 2021, the Canadian government changed their Criminal Code to allow for single-game betting and an expansion of Canada’s sports wagering platform. On April 4, 2022, Ontario launched its comprehensive mobile betting platform which includes over a dozen operators (and counting) providing single-game betting.
Are online sportsbooks available in Ontario?
Yes, as of April 4, 2022, 12 sportsbooks launched with more promised. FanDuel, theScore Bet, Caesars, BetMGM and PointsBet are a few of the options.
What is the minimum age to bet on sports in Ontario?
The legal age to place a bet in Ontario is 19. Provincial age requirements may vary but in Ontario you must be 19 to legally place a wager.
Which American sportsbooks are available in Ontario?
Most of the more iconic names in the bustling U.S. legal sports betting industry are present in Ontario. included are FanDuel, Caesars, and MGM. DraftKings is slow to market but will be a factor in the Ontario market as well.
What sports are available for wagering in Ontario?
There is no shortage of sports to bet on in Ontario. All of the major sportsbooks have extensive menus consisting of all four major North American sports and the CFL. Most operating in Ontario will take wagers on other major global leagues such as soccer and have odds on some more obscure sporting events as well.
Do I have to be a resident of Ontario to place a bet?
No. But you do have to physically be in Ontario to place a wager. Geofencing technology has made it so no bets can take place outside provincial lines. Visitors to Ontario from around the world are permitted to place a sports bet, as long as they are within Ontario provincial boundaries.