Is Sports Betting Legal in Canada? (Legal Sportsbooks & Legality Breakdown)

Is sports betting legal in Canada? This is the million-dollar question many bettors have before they get started with an operator. It is fair to wonder, as illegal betting is dangerous for gamblers.

At MyBetting Canada, we’re here to help with this guide. We’ll be breaking down sports betting laws Canada, the safe and legal betting sites, what you can and can’t do, and much more.

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Legal Betting Breakdown

If you’ve been wondering is betting legal in Canada, the answer is a yes. There is a lot of grey area and legal wording surrounding this area, but if you are wondering whether you can sign up for a sportsbook or download sports betting apps in Canada, the answer is a yes, for the most part.

There are legal betting sites in Canada that you can use and some that are restricted. Let's explore some of the rules surrounding this issue.

If you’re wondering is single-game betting legal in Canada, the answer is now yes. In August of 2021, the government of Canada allowed for the regulation and taxing of single-game sports betting with the passing of Bill C-218. This means it became federally legal, and both Ontario and Alberta have announced their intent to open themselves to commercial markets.

However, even before that, you could bet in Canada on websites without any fear of government action. You could do this by using offshore betting sites or operators that are run by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. Not every sportsbook accepts Canadian bettors, but many of these do. They are licensed and regulated by governments or third-party overseers in places like the U.K, Curacao, and Malta, and Canadians can use them.

What this means is that they are overseen to ensure security, safety, and fairness. Because these offshore websites are legal and licensed for offshore bettors, the Canadian government can’t legislate that bettors can’t use them. This makes them legal and safe to use, as long as the bettor is the legal betting age in Canada.

Canada gambling laws are rapidly moving towards full legalization and government regulation, so keep your eyes peeled. We are not lawyers, so if you have further questions, contact a licensed legal practitioner.

Where Can I Bet in Canada?

The individual laws dictating sports betting in Canada differ on a provincial basis. The rules in Ontario may not be the rules in British Columbia. With the August 2021 bill that allows provinces to regulate single-game betting within the state, the differences between provinces are likely to become starker.

Ontario and Alberta have already come out and stated that they would be opening themselves to commercial betting websites, with names like MGM being floated as potential partners. Access to offshore betting websites is not limited to any of the provinces.

One of the differences in gambling laws in Canada between provinces is the legal age. In Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec, the legal betting age is 18. In every other province, the legal betting age is 19.

These are all minor differences for now, but in the future, with more provincial control, the differences could become drastic.

How to Choose a Betting Site?

There is much to consider before you sign up with an operator. While legality and safety should be the highest on your list of initial considerations, other factors are important.

If the first question that popped into your mind when you arrived at this webpage was, is football betting legal in Canada? Then you need to find an operator that provides markets for football betting.

There are a lot of different factors that differentiate sportsbooks. Let’s look at some of the most important ones.

  • Bet Types: Bet Types are some of the ways to bet that sportsbooks offer. They differ from markets slightly. These are things like parlays and live-betting sports.
  • Sports Betting Bonuses and Promotions: Sports betting bonuses and promotions are the different offers and incentives that sportsbooks offer. They can include things like free bet offers, betting sites with welcome bonuses, and more.
  • User Interface: The User Interface is how the website looks and functions. Is everything neatly organized? Is it intuitive to find the different areas? These are all things that contribute to an interface.
  • Mobile Experience: The mobile experience allows you to enjoy betting sites from your smartphone. Some sportsbooks will provide betting apps for their users, which can be found on the App Store or Google Play store. Others have mobile-optimized websites, which are websites intended to be used on phone browsers.
  • Payment Methods: Payment methods are the different types of payment that betting sites accept. It varies from operator to operator. Many accept debit cards, Interac, and e-wallets, with some having niche options like cryptocurrency.
  • Customer Support: Customer support is the different ways sportsbooks allow you to get in touch with support staff. It can be email, LiveChat, phone calls, and more.
  • Markets: Markets are the different betting options a sportsbook provides within a game or league. They are the different odds and outcomes bettors are choosing to bet on.
  • Sports Coverage: Sports coverage is the different sports and leagues that a sportsbook allows users to place bets on. There are NBA betting sites, football betting sites, and more.
Legal Betting Sites:
Illegal Betting Sites:
  • Licensed and Regulated
  • Display license at the bottom of page
  • Have a third party overseeing them
  • Fairness and Security is assured, as they must adhere to legal rules
  • Can be trusted and relied on
  • Not licensed or regulated
  • Don’t display their license anywhere
  • Do what they want
  • There is no assurance of data safety or that your money will be paid out
  • Should not ever be used. It can often be a malignant scam.

The Canadian Law for Sports Bettors

We’ve explained a little bit about the different rules and laws surrounding sports betting in Canada. There are certain important rules that bettors need to know.

For starters, we’ve covered that online betting in Canada is legal. This is a result of the federal government legalizing single-game betting for Canadians in a recent bill, pushing the control to the provinces. But what about matched betting?

If you’re wondering is matched betting legal in Canada, the answer is yes. Matched betting is a form of betting when bettors bet on both outcomes, using a sports betting bonus for one of their bets. It is considered a relatively low-risk way to nearly ensure a payout for bettors, and it is fully legal.

Using offshore betting sites is also fully legal. What offshore means in this context is that they are not licensed or certified in Canada. Because they are international legal entities, the Canadian government can’t regulate the usage of them, and Canadians can play with them.

There are no major laws or rules regulating betting sites in Canada right now. Some countries don’t allow bettors to partake in in-play betting, but right now, with all the offshore betting sites in Canada, Canadians can pretty much do whatever they want on a legal betting site. This includes the casinos on those operators.

How to Bet on Legal Betting Sites?

There are a few things you need to do before you can begin betting on a legal betting site. For starters, what we’d recommend is that you first check their online reviews and ensure they’re legal. Look into their license, ensure they have one, and see what other customers say about them.

If you feel confident this is a trusted operator, you should proceed. To do this, you’re going to need to sign up with the operator and create an account. This is a process that will typically take anywhere from 3-5 minutes. They’ll require info like your email and address, but if it is a legal operator, you can trust that info is protected.

Next, you’re going to need to deposit. Many different sportsbooks offer first deposit bonuses. Some of the best sports betting offers are first deposit bonuses that provide rewards for making an initial deposit. Typically, these are in the form of matched deposits that will match a certain amount of your deposit in bonus funds. You’ll have to choose a payment method and input your information, but from there, the money should hit your account.

Once the money has hit your account, you can simply find the sports and markets you want to bet on, input how much you want to bet, and place your bets. Once you’ve done that, you are off to the races.

Top Betting Legal Site Features

Features are the different aspects that legal betting sites in Canada offer their users. They are the different ways to engage with a website the unique additional offerings they provide that set them apart.

There are many different kinds of features, with each sportsbook having different ones on offer. Let’s look at some different features legal betting sites provide.

  • Cash Out: Cash Out is a feature that allows you to opt-out of a bet before the final result is determined. You can cash out at a win, meaning for more money than you bet, if your bet looks likely to hit. You can also cash out at a loss, meaning less than you put in if your bet looks unlikely to hit. It is a great way to ensure some money either way.
  • Cryptocurrency Betting: Cryptocurrency is a massive trend right now for all ages. Some sports betting websites allow for deposits and withdrawals in cryptocurrency. There are some websites that take a large number of different cryptocurrencies, while many just accept Bitcoin and Ethereum.
  • Mobile App: A mobile app allows bettors to take their betting on the go. They can bet from anywhere they have their phone. Mobile apps can be downloaded from the application store on whichever type of smartphone you are using. Most operators don’t provide mobile apps, but several do.
  • Builder: Bet Builder is a feature that allows you to make same-game parlays. You can place stacked multi-bets based on different outcomes within one game, developing highly customizable bets with some potentially massive payouts.

Legal Betting Responsibly

While the first responsibility is on the operator to provide you with a legal and secure place to bet, it is also your own responsibility to have a safe betting experience. Betting is a genuine addiction that some fall into, and it is important you avoid this addiction by betting responsibly.

Don’t chase your losses, budget with an understanding that you might lose it all. Use the limiting features that many sportsbooks offer. Be safe, be responsible, and you’ll have the best possible sports betting experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sports Betting in Canada legal?

The answer to this question is yes. A recent law passed in Canada that is allowing single-game sports betting that is regulated by the government and opening the door to commercial betting sites in Canada. However, even before that, the use of licensed offshore or Kahnawake Gaming Commission operators was allowed.

What is single-game sports betting?

Single-game sports betting is when bettors place a bet on an individual game or one result. Before, the only types of bets the government regulated were parlay bets run by the lotteries. An example of a single-game bet is placing a hockey bet on a single NHL game.

When is single-game betting legal in Canada?

The bill that legalized single-game betting in Canada was passed in August of 2021. That has made it legal for bettors to engage in single-game bets, which is a massive change. It is likely that in early 2022, betting companies will be able to partner with provinces for commercial single-game betting.

Is legal sports betting in Canada safe?

In general, the important rule for sportsbooks is to only utilize the legal ones. For those concerned about safety, the legal betting sites in Canada are safe to use. They are licensed and regulated and often have stringent standards that they uphold, including on things like cybersecurity. While you should always do your own research, especially for new betting sites, it is most fair to say that if an operator is legal to use in Canada, it is likely safe.

Who licenses sports betting sites, and what does it mean to be licensed?

Sports betting operators are licensed either by gaming authorities or governments. What this means is that there are certain standards and rules they have to uphold. Some of the most common places that operators are licensed from are Malta, Curacao, Antigua, the U.K, and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. These authorities protect users and uphold regulations.