Nova Scotia Sports Betting

Sports betting has been seeing a massive boom in popularity all around the world over the past few years, but especially in North America. Canada and its provinces have only recently started opening their arms in a welcoming manner to the onslaught of online sports betting, and Nova Scotia is no exception to that.

The country’s Easternmost province has started to create a more gambling-friendly situation for itself in recent months, which is a positive sign for sports bettors in Nova Scotia. The more variety when it comes to sportsbook options, the better it is for the bettor. To help bettors understand what the situation is right now with Nova Scotia sports betting, we’ve put together this quick and concise Nova Scotia betting guide.

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How We Rank Nova Scotia's Sportsbooks

Figuring out which Nova Scotia betting sites are the best for you is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. The sports betting apps you choose to do your gambling with will completely frame your experience, so the choice should not be taken lightly.

To give you an idea of what to look for in top of the line Nova Scotia betting sites, we’ve listed off a few of the most important factors in the decision-making process.

  • Banking → Different people have their own preferences when it comes to how they do their banking. One of the first things you want to ensure when considering a top sportsbook such as Sports Interaction or BetMGM is to take a look at what banking options they offer, because if none of those are compatible with your preferred method, you won’t be able to deposit or withdraw any funds from your account. Also be sure to avoid any methods that include unnecessary fees.
  • Security → You also want to go with a sportsbook that is well-known and reputable when it comes to the safety and security measures they employ for your money and personal information.
  • Promotions → One of the best ways to make the most out of your time online sports betting is to find the sportsbooks that are offering the biggest promotions and bonuses the most often, because these offers will either provide you with risk free betting or increase the value of a bet you were considering.
  • Features → As sports betting continues to grow, the number of features you can find on sportsbooks is doing the same. You simply have to decide which ones are more important to you. Some of the features you’ll come across include same game parlays, early cash out, live betting, live streaming, early payout, and much more.
  • Coverage → You also want to think about which sports or markets you’re going to be betting on the most often. Different sportsbooks have different focuses when it comes to sports, so if you’re big into MLB betting, you want to find a sportsbook that has great MLB odds and provides you with the biggest library of MLB betting markets.

Betting In Nova Scotia

Sports betting has always been in a strange, gray area in North America—until the last couple of years. Before, you had to go with either your illegal bookie or a very limited provincially-run sportsbook to get your bets in. Sports betting in Nova Scotia has changed very much in the last year or so, and we’ve broken down everything you need to know about those changes in this section.

Is Sports Betting Legal In Nova Scotia?

You know what they say, better late than never, right? Nova Scotia was the last province in Canada to give the go-ahead for single-game sports betting following the passage of Bill C-218 (also known as the Safe And Regulated Sports Betting Act) in the summer of 2021, which amended the country’s criminal code to legalize single-game sports betting in Canada.

Nova Scotia announced that they were joining in on the fun with an announcement from the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) on February 11th, 2022. Whether coincidentally or not, that announcement came at arguably the most opportune time just before the biggest single sports-betting day of the year: the NFL’s Super Bowl.

The ALC just so happens to oversee sports betting in the other three Maritimes provinces (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island), with all three launching single-game wagering in August of 2021, shortly after Bill C-218 was passed. One of the major reasons for Nova Scotia’s delay was that the new provincial government, which was voted in in August of 2021, wanted some time to review its sports betting regulations before making any decisions.

All sports betting in Nova Scotia has historically been regulated by the ALC through its Pro Line sportsbook. Before the ALC’s February 2022 announcement, bettors could only bet on parlays, which are tougher bets to win because you’re tying two or more bets together on one wager. However, Nova Scotia sports betting now includes the option to bet on a single event.

While some provinces like Ontario have opened their doors to private sportsbooks, Nova Scotia has not done so yet and has not indicated any intent to do so in the near future. For now, bettors have more options on what they can bet on, but they’re still limited to Pro Line as the only officially regulated sportsbook in the province.

The province and the ALC did, however, recently introduce an online casino in Nova Scotia back on July 22nd, 2022. The platform had previously been available only in New Brunswick and now opens up to Nova Scotia. While this does show some positive attitudes towards expansion, the ALC still controls the entire regulated marketplace in the province.

Sports betting in Nova Scotia will continue to take a back seat to Ontario, which already has 30+ registered and regulated private sportsbooks competing for their constituents’ attention, until they allow top tier private sportsbooks like bet365 to enter the fray. More sportsbooks means more competition, which inevitably leads to a better and more entertaining experience for sports bettors.

Who Can Participate In Nova Scotia Online Gambling?

As in any province, state, country, or territory, there are limits for those looking to get into sports betting in Nova Scotia. Gambling is like any other “vice” such as alcohol, marijuana, or tobacco: there are going to be age restrictions so as to keep the developing minds of youngsters away from these things before they can fully comprehend their effects.

  • Nova Scotia sports betting is limited to those of 19 years or older, as you might have expected.
  • You can also make your bets through your mobile device or online through Pro Line Stadium.
  • There are two casinos in Nova Scotia, one in Halifax and one in Sydney, but neither of them have dedicated sportsbooks. However, those that like to place bets in person can still do so through Pro Line at convenience stores and gas stations.
  • Nova Scotia sports betting is completely tax-exempt, as it is in the rest of Canada. Bettors receive all of their winnings, as all gambling and sports betting winnings are safe from any interference from the tax man.

How Do Offshore Books Work In Nova Scotia?

Offshore sportsbooks, also known as third party sportsbooks or private sportsbooks, are not yet regulated in Nova Scotia, and their legality is a bit of a gray area right now. While Nova Scotia has not opened up their sports betting industry to a free market like Ontario, they do tacitly allow those offshore sportsbooks, such as Betway, 888sport, Bodog, etc., to operate in their province below the radar.

To be allowed to operate in that gray area in Nova Scotia, sportsbooks will have to have the legal right to operate in Canada, and right now, the only way to do that is through an Ontario iGaming license. If a sportsbook has that iGaming license, they should be fine to use in Nova Scotia as well as most other provinces.

How to Start Betting in Nova Scotia

Now that you know all about the legality and safety of Nova Scotia sports betting and Nova Scotia betting sites, it’s time to talk about the actual betting Nova Scotians are now able to do. Almost as important as ensuring you’re betting with a reputable sportsbook is actually understanding how and what you can bet on with these new, lax sports betting regulations.

  1. Choose a sportsbook: Decide what’s the most important for you as a bettor and use those parameters to select the sportsbooks that work best for you.
  2. Register for an account: Sign up for an account with your preferred sportsbooks and provide all of the relevant personal information required.
  3. Claim a bonus: Make sure that you can claim a substantial welcome bonus when you join a new sportsbook so that you can start playing with free money right away.
  4. Fund your account: To acquire those bonuses, you will usually have to deposit at least some of your own money into your account.
  5. Do your research: Look into stats, patterns, trends, and other relevant data to see what you want to bet on.
  6. Make your bets: Decide how much you want to stake on each bet, and when you’ve decided, lock in and place your bets.
  7. Withdraw your winnings: Once you start winning bets, you can start withdrawing cold hard cash from your account. 

Popular Sports For Nova Scotia Online Gambling

Nova Scotia as a whole has a total population of just over 970,000 people, and just under half of those residents (~430,000) live in the province’s capital city of Halifax. That’s not quite enough to warrant many professional sports teams, so Nova Scotia sports betting will largely focus on leagues and teams that operate completely outside of the province. Here’s a list of the most popular sports on Nova Scotia betting sites:

  • 🥍 Lacrosse → By far the biggest pro sports team in Nova Scotia, the Halifax Thunderbirds play in the National Lacrosse League, which features 15 teams across North America and is the third-most watched indoor pro sports league in the world behind the NHL and NBA. The Thunderbirds lost in the conference semifinals to the Toronto Rock in the 2023 playoffs.
  • 🏈  American Football → Nova Scotia almost had the Atlantic Schooners join the CFL in the 1980s only for the franchise to be snuffed out before it took the field. While there are no current CFL or NFL teams based in Nova Scotia, you can still bet on those leagues as much as you want. You can even find odds for NCAA football on most sportsbooks as well.
  • ⚽ European Football (Soccer) → Halifax hasn’t been granted a team in the MLS just yet, but they do have the Halifax Wanderers, who compete in the Canadian Premier League, which is the highest level of soccer in Canada apart from the three franchises that compete in the MLS. You can find odds for a ton of different soccer leagues on most Nova Scotia betting sites.
  • 🏀 NBA → While you can find some university hoops within the province, there is no professional basketball team in Nova Scotia, as the Toronto Raptors are the lone Canadian franchise in the NBA. While you can’t watch any live pro basketball, you can still bet on loads of markets related to the NBA.
  • ⚾ MLB → Like for basketball, baseball fans in Nova Scotia will have limited opportunities to watch their sport live, but they should have no problems at all 🏒 getting bets in on a wide variety of MLB betting markets.
  • 🏒 NHL → There are no NHL teams in Nova Scotia, but there have been a few AHL teams based in the province in the past, and they currently have the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. The NHL is the most popular sports league in Canada, so you will be able to bet on a wide range of markets and outcomes for all NHL games.

Most Common Betting Markets

While you might think betting on different sports means betting on a whole new lineup of betting markets, that is not generally the case. While different sports do have their own caveats and specific markets, the most common types of bets are pretty consistent across different sports. Familiarize yourself with the sports betting markets below so you can start making wagers as soon as possible!

  • Moneyline → The most basic type of wager, this is simply a bet on which team you think is going to win a particular game.
  • Spread → Similar to the moneyline, but the spread bet is about the margin of victory as much as it is about the victory itself. In American football and basketball, this is called the point spread and can vary wildly from matchup to matchup. For baseball and hockey it’s called the run line and puck line, respectively, and is generally locked at 1.5 because of the low-scoring nature of those sports.
  • Total → Here, you’re betting on how many points, runs, or goals are scored by both teams. The bet will be offered in an over/under format where the sportsbook’s handicappers will come up with the most likely total, and a bettor will need to bet on whether they think the game will finish with over or under that number.
  • Player Props → These can be offered in yes/no propositions or over/under formats and are focused solely on the performance of a player in a specific statistical category. You can bet on things like whether a player will score a touchdown or a goal or a run, how many points they might score, how many assists or rebounds, or strikeouts they might have. If there’s a stat for it, you can bet there’s a player prop option for it as well.
  • Parlay → This is a type of bet where you roll several wagers into one. This type of bet drastically increases your payout but also drastically lowers your implied probability of winning. For a parlay to win, all of the bets included, which are called legs, have to be successful. For example, you could get 6/7 correct on a parlay, but because you got one wrong, the whole parlay loses.
  • Futures → These are long term bets concerned with propositions that will usually take around a full season to be decided. Things like who will win that year’s championship, who will win a certain award, whether a team will win over/under this many games, whether a team will make it to the playoffs, etc.

Other Types Of Bets

Nova Scotia betting sites are not limited only to sports, however. Bettors have a few more options they can indulge in when there are no sports on. Below is a list of some of the other types of things you can bet on with the new laws.

  • Politics → You can bet on the results of elections from offshore sportsbooks as well as Nova Scotia’s Pro Line product. The only caveat is, you can’t bet on any elections that are taking place within Canada. This means that the upcoming American federal elections are fair game for Nova Scotia bettors.
  • Awards Shows → You can also bet on which celebrities will walk home with which awards at various ceremonies such as the Academy Awards, the Emmys, the Grammys, and much more. You can bet on these events at offshore books as well as Pro Line.
  • E-Sports → One of if not the fastest growing “sport” right now might just be e-sports, and Nova Scotia betting sites have responded accordingly, offering tons of e-sports betting options to their users as the industry continues to balloon.

What Else Can You Bet On In Nova Scotia?

With the recent and enormous growth of sports betting in North America, some may have forgotten that Nova Scotia sports betting is just a small piece of the Nova Scotia gambling industry. There are several other things you can gamble on in Nova Scotia as we’ve listed below:

Casino → The ALC recently launched an online casino to supplement the two physical casinos that Nova Scotia already houses. You can also play the slots at various bingo halls in the province as well.

Poker → You can play poker on the ALC’s online casino or you can head to Halifax or Sydney to play at the poker tables they have within the casinos there. While the number of tables is limited, there’s cash action every day.

DFS → Daily Fantasy Sports have grown immensely in popularity in recent years as well and they are legal in Nova Scotia. Through FanDuel and DraftKings you can pick your favorite athletes in these fun games and you can try something new every day.

Horse Racing → Betting on horse racing is one of the oldest forms of organized gambling, and it continues to be legal in Nova Scotia even if it’s not quite as popular as it once was. Nova Scotia has a few horse racing tracks where you can make bets, but there’s also a wider lineup of horse racing markets available through online casinos.

How to Bet Responsibly In Nova Scotia

It’s an exciting time for Nova Scotia sports betting, but bettors should still keep their wits about them. If you’re not going to bet with Pro Line - which is completely understandable when you consider all of the limitations they place on their bets and bettors - then betting with an offshore sportsbook is more than okay.

The only thing with offshore sportsbooks is the sheer number of options which can sometimes make it hard to tell the real from the fake. Have no fear, because there are already dozens of sportsbooks that have received their Ontario iGaming licenses, which means they are free to operate anywhere in Canada, including Nova Scotia.

Simply find the list of iGaming approved sportsbooks and start your Nova Scotia betting site search from there. You can also check out our detailed reviews of all the top sportsbooks.

Provincial Betting Guide

There are similarities in the sports betting industries of the various provinces and territories of Canada, but there are also a lot of differences and unique circumstances. To ensure you can bet responsibly and safely anywhere in Canada, we’ve listed all of the provinces and territories where you can bet on sports and linked them to our betting guide for that province.

Licensed vs. Unlicensed Betting Sites

As we have noted here, while Nova Scotia has opened its doors to single-game sports betting, it’s still holding a monopoly on the industry through its Pro Line product. Currently, Pro Line is the only licensed sportsbook in the Maritimes, and the ALC has not indicated that they intend to go down the same open market road as Ontario did last year.

However, sportsbooks that have an Ontario iGaming license are technically allowed to operate anywhere in Canada, which means Nova Scotians have access to those offshore options as well. Here are the main differences between the licensed Pro Line sportsbook and third party options.

  • Licensed sportsbooks are the only ones that are “officially” allowed to operate in Nova Scotia
  • You can make bets both online and in person with a licensed sportsbook
  • Acquiring your winnings is a much more simple process with offshore sportsbooks
  • The odds are much more competitive on offshore sportsbooks which means higher payouts for the same bets
  • Bet limits with Pro Line are still a little bit overzealous as the government looks to limit how much its citizens indulge in vices like gambling

Nova Scotia Sports Betting FAQs

To ensure that we’ve covered all of our bases and provided prospective bettors with all of the necessary information to gamble responsibly and successfully in Nova Scotia, we’re finishing off here with a few of the most common questions we’ve seen on the topic of sports betting in Nova Scotia.

Is Nova Scotia sports betting legal?

Yes, it has been legal to bet on sports in Nova Scotia for a while and in February of 2022 they began offering single-game options.

Is it legal to bet on sports in Canada?

Yes, in the summer of 2021 Bill C-218 was passed which legalized single-game sports betting across the country. The final decision was left up to each province individually, with Nova Scotia the 10th and final province to allow single-game wagers when they announced it in February of 2022.

What is the legal age for sports betting in Nova Scotia?

Similar to tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol, the legal age at which you can begin betting on sports in Nova Scotia is set at 19.

Do I pay taxes on my sports betting winnings?

No, across Canada any money you win from gambling at the casino or sports betting online is all yours and is not subject to any interference. Gambling winnings are tax exempt in all of Canada, including Nova Scotia.

Can I bet on my phone in Nova Scotia?

Yes, there are no restrictions on mobile sports betting in Nova Scotia. You can do so through the official Pro Line sportsbook, or you can download an offshore betting app.

How many Nova Scotia betting sites are there?

There is only one officially regulated sportsbook in Nova Scotia and the rest of the maritimes: Pro Line. However, any sportsbook that has acquired an Ontario iGaming license can operate off the books anywhere in Canada, which is what most of them do in Nova Scotia.

Can I place a wager in person?

While there are no specifically dedicated brick and mortar sportsbooks in Nova Scotia—both of the province’s casinos lack a sportsbook—bettors can still make bets physically through Pro Line at most convenience stores and gas stations.

What does an Ontario iGaming license do?

Ontario has opened up the sports betting industry to the free market, so there have been dozens of offshore sportsbooks that have acquired iGaming licenses to operate officially in the province. However, these licenses also allow them to operate across the country, including in Nova Scotia, in more of a gray area.

Does Nova Scotia have any pro sports teams?

The biggest professional sports team based in Nova Scotia are the Halifax Thunderbirds, a lacrosse team that competes in the National Lacrosse League. They also have a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team called the Halifax Mooseheads and a Canadian Premier League side called the Halifax Wanderers.

Can I play Daily Fantasy Sports in Nova Scotia?

Yes, daily fantasy sports providers such as FanDuel and DraftKings can both be accessed and used in Nova Scotia, though they are not currently licensed or regulated.