While Canada has a number of restrictions on sports betting, the practise remains accessible to residents and it is a very popular one. There is a big focus on gambling in North America right now and while much of the attention is on the US, the Canadian market is also under the spotlight.
The betting community in Canada likes a wide range of sports starting with those US leagues where they have some representation. That involves basketball with the NBA, baseball and MLB plus hockey and NHL. Canada doesn’t have a football team in the NFL but there is interest in the sport both with the US version and also with the Canadian Football League (CFL).
A number of Canadian teams are also involved in soccer and MLS so this is another focal point for the sportsbooks that have opened Canadian markets. But the bettors that live here have global interests too so any bookmaker opening up in Canada will need to take that all into account. Global events in soccer, tennis, golf and much more are under the spotlight and a successful sportsbook will need a choice of markets and some strong prices.
In this guide we will take a look at the betting landscape in Canada and how customers can get involved with bets on the relevant markets that are open. We’ll also advise on what qualities that sportsbook should offer and how to pick the good from the unsuitable. Finally, we’ll round off with our own recommendations for the best bookmakers for players in Canada.
Read on and all will be revealed.
Is Online Betting Legal in Canada?
The answer to this question is essentially ‘yes’ but the practise of betting in Canada is highly regulated. The first point to note is the fact that it is actually illegal to bet on a single sports outcome if you are a resident here. To make a legal bet online, it has to be a Parlay which is two or more bets combined into a multiple outcome.
It is legal to set up an online sports betting company with a base in Canada but once again, things are highly regulated. That’s why Canadian companies such as Sports Interaction are quite rare. There is an anomaly of sorts because it is possible for an offshore company such as Bet365 to provide betting services in Canada. Once a license has been approved it is fine for those companies to open their doors to Canadian customers. Look for our recommendations further on in this guide.
How to bet on Sports Betting Sites in Canada
Once we’ve understood the legal aspects of betting in Canada, it’s time to head online and place some wagers. Here’s how you get started.
Is the sportsbook available in Canada?
If you’ve strayed onto a site that isn’t available to Canadian residents, it may or may not be made obvious that you can’t sign up here. Some operators will automatically block access to their site and put up a message that registration is not permitted. It’s not a particularly nice welcome but at least we know where we stand.
Other sites make it less obvious: You may be allowed to see the home page but when it comes to registration, Canada is not shown on the list of countries. If in any doubt, contact customer services or preferably, use our list of recommended sportsbooks instead.
The exact sign up process will differ depending on which operator you use but they will all follow a similar pattern. It all starts with a simple sign up form which will ask for some essential information. This is likely to include Name, Date of Birth and Address.
You can also expect to enter contact details including an email address and cell phone number. If the operator in question accepts $CAD, you would be able to set this as your default currency. Generally, things are then finished off when you choose a username. It’s all very simple but will then be followed by a verification process.
The first simple step involves verifying that email address and you can then expect to be asked to confirm your ID. A passport is the most common document but others may be accepted. Follow the specific instructions and when verification is confirmed, you are ready to play.
Obviously we need some funds to cover bets so you need to ask whether a choice of deposit and withdrawal options is important to you. If you are the type of customer that only likes to play with debit and / or credit cards then all operators will have you covered. However, if you use eWallets such as instadebit and iDebit then you need to choose more carefully.
Not all sportsbooks will take additional payment options: Most will but the range will be very different depending on who you choose. In order to identify what funding methods are available, scroll to the bottom of the bookmaker’s homepage as they are usually listed there. If in any doubt, simply contact customer services.
Placing a Bet
The act of placing a bet is really very simple and it will differ very little no matter who you are playing with. Once you land on a bookmaker’s homepage you will find a list of sports. These will either be in A-Z order or, you may just find that the more popular events come first.
Choose a sport and then find an event that you are interested in: Consider the lines that the sportsbook has made available and then choose two or more options to combine and form a parlay. These bets will then appear in a betslip: You then choose your stake and press confirm to make the bet stand.
Best Betting Sites in Canada
Having covered the process of placing a sports bet in Canada, we now need to know about the best homes for our money. Here are our recommendations based on a combination of choice, value and flexibility which all add up to make a great sportsbook for Canadian customers.
They describe themselves as Canada’s favourite sportsbook and while you should check them out for yourself, we’re not going to argue with that statement. Promotions are subject to change but you can always rely on a generous welcome offer plus a number of ongoing deals for the life of your account.
Those promos just count as additional value to competitive odds on a daily basis while players in Canada can also enjoy one of the widest ranges of sports that are of interest to them. There are lots of alternatives which we will cover now but Sports Interaction really is a good place to start.
The message may not have got over to Canada just yet but in most parts of the world, bet365 are known as the kings and queens of live play. They are the pioneers of this style of betting and even though other operators have worked hard to catch up, most would argue that bet365 have more live markets and better prices than anyone else.
But even if in-play betting isn’t accessible or you’re just not a fan, bet365 are worth considering for their parlay and general pre-event options. Odds are outstanding – they are frequently ahead of the rest and never out of step with the industry. There is a huge choice of markets too which go up nice and early.
If that isn’t enough, there are parlay bonus offers on your favourite US leagues so we really suggest checking out bet365.
When you sign up with William Hill you are getting involved with one of the oldest names in betting. Trust is important when looking for a bookmaker and that’s a big bonus with Hills. However, since coming online they have always looked to move with the times and keep pace with the competition.
While you’re a customer here, you can therefore look forward to one of the biggest choices of offers around. Many of these are generic deals which means you can tailor them for use on any sport. That gives more flexibility and once again, that value just adds to competitive odds on all North American sports.
This may not be the most obvious name but there is a particular reason to get onboard with Sbobet. The company promises the best prices on football, basketball betting and others but while we think it’s impossible to be number one every single time, the odds here are exceptional.
The choice of prop bets may not be as wide as you’ll find with other sportsbooks but it’s all about that pricing. If you like to focus on the moneyline result betting plus one or two additional markets then the odds at Sbobet may well be hard to beat.
It all starts very positively at 10Bet with a welcome deal that is worth up to $100 as a matched deposit. That may be subject to change but promotions form a big part of the appeal here. There’s always something going on and this is also an innovative bookmaker – introducing a new live betting feature called Pulse which was unique to the industry in 2018.
Choice of markets is wide and those prices are strong once again so don’t leave without giving 10Bet a try.
FAQ for Canadian Bettors
Depending on which sportsbook you are using, some may take you straight to the registration page as soon as you land there. If that isn’t the case, there should be a prominent button stating ‘register’ or ‘sign up’ and this is likely to be located in the top right hand corner of the homepage.
Registration forms will ask for name, date of birth, address and other essential personal details. You may also be asked to set up a username and choose your default currency. Lastly, you should expect to have to provide ID to confirm your status.
Any Canadian company offering sports betting and casino services in Canada has to pass strict government legislation before they can set up business. Full details of the license in question should be set out in detail at the bottom of their homepage.
Those restrictions do not apply to operators from overseas and that’s why Canadian players will see a number of global brands providing those services. In summary, always look for details of licensing and regulation.
Funding options can be down to personal choice but most players will expect to see a good range of deposit and withdrawal methods. The most popular of these are debit and credit cards and all operators should take all the major Visa and Mastercard suppliers.
Anyone wishing to stay loyal to Canadian companies should look for InstaDebit and IDebit. Sportsbooks and casinos based in Canada are likely to have these on their roster while more and more global brands are adding these two to their list.
Players should also look out for eWallets which store your money safely and securely. Examples include PaySafeCard, echeck, entropay, clickandbuy, ecopayz and interact.
Most online sportsbooks and casinos recognise that many players like to bet ‘on the go’ and to be able to place a bet even if they are away from their static PC or home-based laptop.
Virtually every operator now has a dedicated mobile site and an app but for greater flexibility and ease of use, we recommend downloading the app onto your phone. This allows for players to find the site without having to get on their browser and it’s simply the quickest way to get involved.
To download, simply head for the app store, search for the bookmaker in question and follow the instructions. This should be free and you’re ready to go in seconds. If you don’t have enough memory on your phone then you can simply navigate to the mobile site but we would suggest using the app as a preference.
The first point to mention when answering this question is that you should make sure your sportsbook is licensed and regulated. So, head down to the bottom of the homepage to check this point. Your next stop is the about us page where details of security are kept. Study those and you can gain peace of mind in regard to the safety of your deposits and withdrawals.
The benefit of using a third party provider such as an eWallet is the fact that the retailer will not see details of your card. Each of the methods listed above has their own security systems which you should check and you can then see how they will 100% guarantee your safety online.
In the physical world, the age rules for gambling are a little complicated. For example, if you intended to visit a casino in Alberta, Manitoba or Quebec, you can be 18 to play but for everywhere else, you must be 19.
That principle is then taken to the online tables so, if you are resident in anywhere other than those three regions specifically mentioned, you must be 19 to play. Otherwise 18 is fine but remember, you must provide official ID in order to confirm this.
|Legal age to gamble depending on the provinces:|
|Canadian Province:||Legal Age to Gamble:|
|British Columbia||19 years|
|New Brunswick||19 years|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||19 years|
|Nova Scotia||19 years|
|Prince Edward Island||19 years|
The majority of states in Canada provide their own helplines for those who feel that they may have a gambling problem. These are usually toll free and provide professional help.
A full list of these sites can be found via the Canada Safety Council official website – https://canadasafetycouncil.org/gambling-addiction/
Across the world, there are three distinct ways in which to show odds and in Canada, the most common option is the American method. For this example, we’re going to bet on a Hockey team and we find odds listed at +200 on the American scale. We stake $10 and, if that team wins, our return is $30.
The remaining two options are Decimal and Fractional. If we use the above example, American odds of +200 will convert to 3.00 using the decimal system or, 2/1 if we’re talking about fractional. Whichever system you’re using, the return of $30 would the identical providing you use the same $10 stake and the selection wins.
Canadian betting companies are likely to set American odds as the default choice but, if you would prefer either of the other two, it should be easy to go into settings and change it to your own preference.
Rules relating to Canadian betting means that customers based in the country cannot place a bet on a single outcome. While we’ve used a single stake to illustrate odds in the previous section, we did this for the sake of simplicity but it isn’t actually possible to do this in real life.
Canadians would therefore be required to place a Parlay bet. This is a stake made on two or more events coming in. So, if we come back to hockey, we would need to stake a fixed amount – say $10.00 – on two or more teams winning their games.
The straight result is also referred to as a moneyline bet and either term can be used by the sportsbook in question.
Away from moneyline betting, it’s common for Canadians to get involved in points spreads. These stakes are referred to as ‘handicaps’ in other parts of the world and, essentially, they give one team a notional head start above others.
Then we have prop bets: These can be described as bets on events during a game that don’t necessarily affect the outcome of the fixture itself. For example, a bettor can stake on total points in an NFL or CFL game or, they could bet on whether or not a tennis match will include a tie break.
In terms of most popular sports to bet on, all of the regular North American sports can be included. We’re talking about football, ice hockey, baseball and basketball. Outside of the core four, the majority of Canadian bettors also enjoy soccer, horse racing and tennis.
Most sportsbooks will include all of these options but can go deeper with markets for 30 sports or more.