Canada‘s professional sports scene has been booming for years on end and now the sports betting industry up North is finally ready to follow suit. Though parlays have long been legal and available through provincial lotteries, the federal government granted provinces the right to legalize single-game wagering in June 2021. Ontario—home to many of Canada’s biggest sports teams, including the Maple Leafs, Senators, Raptors, and the Blue Jays—was the first province to do so, successfully launching its brand new iGaming market on April 4, 2022.
Best Ontario Sportsbooks
The path to legal sports betting in Canada
There have been efforts to legalize single-game wagering in Canada for years, but it wasn’t until 2021 when these efforts started picking up steam in a big way.
After the United States Supreme Court overturned PASPA, the federal prohibition on sports betting in 2018, many, including professional sports leagues themselves, embraced wagering on sports after opposing it for many years. Since most of Canada’s most popular sports teams belong to U.S.-based leagues, it only makes sense that this upsurge in popularity would ripple across the border.
The campaign to legalize sports betting in Canada reached a head in 2021, when a game-changing bill known as C-218 was introduced in Parliament.
The bill was deceptively simple: it would alter the national criminal code to allow provinces to legalize single-game sports betting (the only exception being for horse racing). Since sports betting enjoys broad support throughout Canada, this would naturally mean that single-game wagering would be launched in most, if not all, of the provinces.
The bill passed the House of Commons in February, but languished in the Senate for months. Although there was concern that the bill would not be passed before Parliament’s summer recess (or before the announcement of a snap election, which was already rumored), C-218 finally passed Parliament on June 23. On that day, sports bettors and fans throughout Canada rejoiced.
Date of implementation
For some time during the summer, ambiguity existed regarding when the law would go into effect. When Parliament passes a law, it must receive approval, called Royal Assent, from Canada’s Governor General, the appointed (and largely ceremonial) representative of the Queen. Then, the Prime Minister must set a date for the law to go into effect. While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was initially expected to set that date for late 2021, it was announced that legal sports betting would launch in Canada on August 27.
Now, the rest is up to each individual provincial government. First, specific bills legalizing sports betting will need to pass in each regional legislature. Then, each province will need to determine how to incorporate sports betting into their existing gambling infrastructure; this means that provinces will add single-game betting to their existing provincial-run online sportsbooks.
Ontario sports betting history
Ontario always had a long history of support for single-game sports betting and has been regarded as a potential gold mine for sports betting in Canada. This is because Ontario is the most populous Canadian province (boasting nearly 15 million residents), shares a border with Michigan and New York, both populous American states, and is the headquarters of some of Canada’s biggest sports teams. Even before Parliament passed C-218, the Ontario Legislature had been discussing measures to loosen regulations on sports betting, particularly online wagering.
It’s important to note that sports betting already existed in Ontario prior to the passage of C-218—in one legally sanctioned form and one not-so-legal form. OLG ProLine is a legal betting option in Ontario that allows bettors to wager on parlays, in which each bet consists of two or more wagers. Parlays are better than nothing, but they are not very popular in Canada because of the difficulty of winning a wager.
The other wagering option in Ontario is through unlicensed offshore books, which operate without a license—and take in nearly C$4 billion every year. Prior to the passage of C-218, single-game wagering was not legal but was also not explicitly illegal either, which allowed offshore sportsbooks to operate without being prosecuted. The popularity of offshore sportsbooks, coupled with the C$10 billion that goes through illegal domestic operations each year, is money that Ontario will doubtless be happy to have moving through legal channels.
AGCO and Ontario sports betting
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) spent months developing, discussing, and soliciting feedback for their iGaming program, which finally made various online sportsbooks available to consumers in Ontario on April 4, 2022.
The AGCO’s main objective is to offer fans a market for online sports betting that is also safe and on the legal up-and-up, keeping the market free from illicit ventures like game manipulation and insider betting. Doing so, they hope, will offer a market that balances choice with safety.
Ontario Online Sportsbooks
It took quite some time, but Ontario officially got its first taste of legalized single-game wagering on April 4, 2022. PointsBet was among the first operators to launch their app and website up North, followed shortly after by FanDuel and theScore Bet. With the total count of AGCO-licensed sportsbook operators now well over double-digits, we’ve got you covered with a full breakdown of each and every sportsbook brand going live in Ontario, down below.
|PointsBet||April 4, 2022|
|FanDuel||April 4, 2022|
|theScore Bet||April 4, 2022|
|Caesars||April 4, 2022|
|BetMGM||April 4, 2022|
|bet365||April 4, 2022|
|BetRivers||April 4, 2022|
|888sport||April 4, 2022|
|Unibet||April 4, 2022|
|Coolbet||April 4, 2022|
|LeoVegas||April 4, 2022|
|Rivalry||April 4, 2022|
|Royal Panda||April 4, 2022|
|DraftKings Sportsbook||May 18, 2022|
FanDuel already ranks as one of the strongest online sportsbooks on the market, and it’s also SportsHandle’s top-rated sportsbook on desktop and mobile devices. With that being said, it was only right that FanDuel was among the first sportsbook brands to announce their arrival in Ontario, just minutes after the clock struck twelve on April 4, 2022.
Though it boasts competitive pricing and a number of props and futures options, what truly makes it competitive in Ontario’s sports betting goldrush is its accessibility. FanDuels’ user experience is highly refined, smooth to use, and extremely easy to transfer money into. By the time Ontario-based bettors make the rounds and check out each new app or website, our best guess is that FanDuel will be most players’ go-to sports betting option.
PointsBet Sportsbook is a relative newcomer to the sportsbook world, but it offers an innovative and attractive form of betting that may be of interest to its new customers north of the border. As one of the first brands (along with FanDuel and theScore Bet) to launch in the province on April 4, 2022, PointsBet came prepared to show Canadians what they are all about.
For one, PointsBet offers generous signup promotions, strong pricing, and a quality mobile user experience. But it’s also the only book where you can use its unique PointsBetting system, a high-risk, high-reward form of betting that increasingly rewards bettors relative to where the number associated with their bet lands. This novel and exciting form of betting will surely be a hit for bettors in Ontario looking to make it big.
Unlike the other sportsbooks on this list, theScore Bet is actually a Canadian company, born and bred in the Great White North. Importantly, theScore was originally (and still is) a statistics and news website for sports fans, and that remains its core aim—which makes the user experience of theScore Bet, its sportsbook arm, a bit wonky and confusing, particularly for new users.
But beyond those quibbles, theScore Bet is a very strong virtual sportsbook, offering an organic user experience and a wide array of sports markets. As one of the first brands to launch following the market shift on April 4, 2022, theScore Bet is finally back home and ready to serve Canadian bettors of all sorts!
Caesars already owns a massively successful casino in Windsor, so its brand recognition and popularity in the province are well established. Caesars has long owned and managed casinos throughout the US and Canada, and its success has now translated to its online sportsbook. The company managed to do so by rolling out its new and improved Caesars Sportsbook app and website in August 2021, following their acquisition of William Hill. Packed with fun promotions and backed by a smooth operating system, Caesars Sportsbook has been rising in the ranks over in the U.S. and is ready to do so in Ontario as well!
A joint venture by MGM Resorts International (one of the largest gambling organizations on the planet) and GVC Holdings (one the biggest gambling companies in Europe), BetMGM is a sportsbook whose brand recognition is backed up by its stability. BetMGM offers competitive pricing, a stable app, and a solid betting range.
Though it has some kinks, including a less-than-stellar aesthetic, the resources backing up BetMGM will allow it to grow in exciting ways as it expands throughout Canada. The brand officially launched in Ontario on April 4, 2022, bringing both its iCasino and online poker offerings along with its world-class sportsbook.
This European-based bookmaker had already been serving Canadian bettors for many years through its gray market operations, however following the April 4th market change, bet365 has officially switched over to the regulated market in Ontario. As of April 3, 2022, any pending wagers left in any gray market bet365 accounts will be refunded and closed as the company completes their transition.
As far as the product itself goes, bet365 offers both a quality mobile app and desktop offering that mirror one another. They offer everything from player props to futures to Same Game Parlays, and the library is forever growing. Now licensed and approved by the AGCO, the sky is the limit for bet365 in Canada.
The popular Rush Street Interactive product has been making waves throughout the United States for many years thanks to its footing in areas like Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York. While some states have grown accustomed to the BetRivers offering, other states like New Jersey may recognize the brand from its SugarHouse platform. Bettors up North can get used to the former, as BetRivers officially went live in Ontario on April 4, 2022.
Both the BetRivers mobile app and website offer an incredible user experience, packed to the gills with sports markets and events, different bet types, and ongoing promotions. And unlike the majority of online sportsbooks, BetRivers offers a loyalty program that players can use to rack up extra rewards while placing all of their action! There’s a lot to get into over at BetRivers, and we recommend doing so.
Bettors from the United States may recognize 888sport after its short run over in New Jersey. Tripling as an online casino and poker platform, 888 ultimately decided to do away with its sports betting operations in the United States after struggling to gain any ground in an overly-crowded market. After its parent company opted to use its sports betting licenses in the U.S. on SI Sportsbook instead, it was revealed that 888sport’s branding would be kept and used throughout any Canada expansions.
As one of the more popular bookmaking brands over in Europe, players in Ontario will quickly grow to love the sports betting product offered by 888sport. On top of their sportsbook, the brand was also registered and approved by the AGCO to begin offering its casino and poker services up North. Players can now access the sportsbook at 888sport.ca, the iCasino at 888casino.ca, and the online poker room at 888poker.ca.
Another extremely popular bookmaker overseas, Unibet has yet to make a massive impact on the growing United States sports betting market. Its parent company, the Kindred Group, certainly hopes this will change in Canada, as the brand went live on Day 1 up North on April 4, 2022. When diving into the mobile app or website, bettors will find endless promotions, a strong selection of sports markets and events, and plenty of different bet types. Beyond its sports offerings, Unibet also brings its jam-packed iCasino to Ontario, featuring live dealer options, countless slots, table games, and more.
The self-proclaimed “most transparent sportsbook in the world” was the first non-U.S. sports betting brand to launch in Ontario around midnight on April 4, 2022. According to our counter, Coolbet actually accepted the first ever legal and regulated single-game wager in the history of Ontario’s new iGaming market. At around 12:20am, the brand tweeted that a bettor had placed $100 on Kansas to win the 2022 NCAA Tournament Championship Game, which took place on the same date as Coolbet’s launch.
Despite not offering a mobile app of any kind, Coolbet’s website functions on both desktop and mobile devices. It’s dark, cool color scheme complimented by brightly-colored accents ties together an all-around quality betting platform. Between its custom ‘Betbuilder’, consistent Odds Boosts, and an online casino to go along with it, Coolbet is the total package.
Founded in Toronto back in 2016, Rivalry is one of the only Canadian companies expected to launch their online gaming services in Ontario right out of the gate. When the brand officially went live on April 4, 2022, it marked just the second regulated market to acquire Rivalry’s services after the company was approved to operate in Australia in early 2022. Specializing in esports betting, Rivalry brings its niche offering to Ontario along with a more traditional sports betting platform to go along with it.
Primarily an online casino provider, LeoVegas was founded in 2011 in Sweden and quickly expanded into the sports betting realm overseas by 2016. Powered by Kambi, LeoVegas offers users in Ontario competitive odds, in-app live streaming, and strong banking options all wrapped together in an innovative “mobile-first” application. After spending many years operating in Ontario’s gray market, LeoVegas has now returned, fully licensed and regulated by the AGCO with both sportsbook and iCasino offerings available.
Royal Panda Sportsbook
Originally created in 2014 by a company called Royal Panda Limited, Royal Panda was purchased by LeoVegas in 2017 due to the brand’s popularity in the UK. Much like LeoVegas, Royal Panda was a popular option on the gray market for many years before Ontario recently approved regulated single-game wagering in the province. On April 4, 2022, the brand was reintroduced in Ontario, this time fully approved by the AGCO. Similar to its counterpart LeoVegas, the Kambi-powered sportsbook will also be offering live dealer and iCasino options on its platform.
Ontario Sports Teams
Ontario’s capital city, Toronto, is not only the largest city in Canada but also a hub for many of the nation’s most popular sports teams. These teams will help take Ontario to the stratosphere when it comes to single-game betting.
Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
As the biggest NHL hockey team in a country where hockey is absolutely beloved, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the Canadian sports team. While hockey isn’t an especially large fixture in sports betting in the United States, it only makes sense that that will change now that legal sports betting has reached Canada—and the most popular team to bet on is going to be, without a doubt, the Maple Leafs. With dominating talent and a spot in the hearts of millions of Canadians, the Leafs alone are sure to make a splash on every sportsbook.
Ottawa Senators (NHL)
Residing in Canada’s capital, the Ottawa Senators don’t boast the level of prestige or success that the Leafs do. In fact, the team has fallen on some rough times on the ice, sometimes failing to eke out winning seasons (in fact, they’ve had their share of historically bad ones)—but none of that dims their prospect for Ontario’s sports betting scene.
On the contrary, the size of NHL hockey in Canada is expected to radiate into the Senators’ franchise, and they’re poised to be a fixture of Canadian sports betting.
Toronto Raptors (NBA)
Basketball is the second-most bet-on sport in North America, just behind football, and the Raptors are the biggest reason that you should expect that fact to remain true now that legal betting is live in Ontario. The Raptors have rapidly become one of the most popular teams in Canadian sports, buoyed by their consistently strong performance and their NBA championship season in 2019.
In fact, the Raptors enjoy a strong following throughout Canada, especially as the nation’s only NBA team at present. Now that Canadians can begin placing bets on basketball, they’re sure to flood money into their hometown champion Raptors.
Toronto Blue Jays (MLB)
Since the Montreal Expos moved to Washington, D.C. (and became the future World Series-winning Washington Nationals), the Toronto Blue Jays have been the only Canadian Major League Baseball team. This means that, like the Raptors, they draw a viewing and betting audience from all over Ontario and the country at large—which will mean, in turn, a healthy number of enthusiastic bettors once the first pitch of their season is thrown on April 8, 2022.
An extra boon for the Blue Jays is that baseball is a mainstay among sportsbooks due to its high volume of statistics and its large number of games. That means that there’s always something to bet on, and there will always be people betting on the Blue Jays.
Top Ontario Brick and Mortar Casinos
While we may be a ways off from being able to legally wager in-person at retail sportsbooks in Ontario, there are several large casinos in the province that will no doubt be ready to open large sportsbooks when allowed to do so. Let’s go over some of the biggest retail casinos in the province:
Caesars Windsor is a luxury resort and casino that brings the classic luxury Las Vegas casino experience right to Ontario. From table games to the 2,500+ slot machines, the Caesars Windsor Casino offers a wide range of traditional gambling and betting entertainment activities. Notably, the Caesars brand has a sports app called Caesars Sportsbook, which can be connected to the Caesars Rewards loyalty program, allowing users to gain rewards credits regardless of the outcome of their sports bets.
Casino Niagara is a hallmark tourist attraction in the Niagara region of Canada. Equipped with 40+ gaming tables and over 1,300 slot machines, Casino Niagara has plenty of opportunities to enjoy various games of chance, not to mention restaurants and regular live entertainment. In addition, for Canadians interested in sports betting, Casino Niagara features more than 50 televisions in their sports viewing area, allowing patrons to stay updated on a wide array of current sporting events.
Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort
Managed by the same company as Casino Niagara (and only a short drive away), Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort provides a luxury resort experience alongside a remarkably expansive casino facility. The casino includes over 3,000 slot machines and 130+ table games, allowing for endless hours of entertainment for resort guests. Although sports betting is not currently available at Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort, much like at Casino Niagara, there is ample opportunity to keep up with sporting events in their sports viewing areas.
Casino Rama Resort is an extremely popular resort centered around a high end casino, featuring table games and over 1,700 slot machines. Casino Rama is also Ontario’s only First Nations Resort casino and is located on Rama First Nation. Like other combination resorts and casinos, visiting Casino Rama has the advantage of being able to enjoy both the gambling entertainment and resort amenities, including a spa. In regards to sports betting, Casino Rama does not have an onsite sports betting parlor, but there are plenty of spaces for watching sporting events on television.
Gateway Casinos Sault Ste. Marie
Gateway Casinos Sault Ste. Marie is a full-time casino that features both slot machines and table games. This Gateway Casinos location also includes an in-casino restaurant that offers meals and light snacks throughout the day. Currently, Gateway Casinos only offers horse racing in their British Columbia location, but it is likely that the company would jump at the opportunity to offer retail sports betting in its British Columbia and Ontario locations.
Ontario Sports Betting FAQ
When will single-game betting be available in Ontario?
Fully regulated and legalized single-game wagering is now available in Ontario! As of April 4, 2022, players located in the province will have access to popular brandname sportsbooks such as FanDuel, PointsBet, theScore Bet, and more!
Are online sportsbooks available in Ontario?
Yes, multiple online sportsbook brands are available in Ontario as of April 4, 2022.
Will I be able to bet with American operators like DraftKings in Ontario?
Yes, popular American operators such as DraftKings will offer their services to bettors in Ontario once the market takes its full form. While DraftKings in particular is not live just yet, other American favorites such as FanDuel, BetMGM, and Caesars Sportsbook have all been approved by the AGCO to begin offering their product in Ontario.
Can I use online sportsbooks while I'm in Ontario even if I don't live there?
Online sportsbooks use geotagging to determine whether a user is accessing their service from a region where sports betting is legal. That means that if you attempt to log on from a region where sports betting is not legal, you won’t be able to access the services. However, you are free to use a sportsbook while visiting Ontario, even if you live somewhere else. You also do not have to be an Ontario resident to open a sportsbook account.
Can you bet on sports in Ontario retail casinos?
Not at this time, though there is hope that legalized single-game sports betting will eventually be extended to retail casinos throughout Ontario and the rest of Canada.
Can Canadians bet on American sports?
Yes. While the location where you can place bets will be different, you can place bets on any sport that’s available on the book, which can be from all over the world.
Does Ontario tax sports betting?
Yes, sports betting is considered taxable income and the sportsbooks will also be taxed on the revenues they gain from sports betting. However, the precise details of taxation have not yet been determined for mobile sports betting.
What is the legal age to bet on sports in Ontario?
The legal sports betting age in Ontario is 19. Each Canadian province sets its own rules on gambling and the minimum gambling age. In Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec, the minimum age is 18, while in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan, the legal age is 19.