A Beginner’s Guide to Online Betting in Canada

Canadian gambling laws - GamingZion

Online betting is legally licensed and regulated in Canada, but there are numerous restrictions which Canadian punters should know about.

The English-speaking people of the world love to wager money. From bookmaker Mecca Britain to New Zealand, home of the world’s biggest gambling losers, these countries lead the world in betting. Canada is no exception.

While its neighbors to the south have precious few legal ways to bet on sports, the Canadian government takes a more open approach to the activity. However, the market is more restricted than those in Britain and Australia, for example. This piece will take a concise look at how a beginner can get started.

Where to bet online in Canada

There are two main methods used to bet on sports in Canada. The first way is to log onto a Canada-licensed sportsbook. There are no shortage of them as the industry is fully-licensed and regulated. Calvin Ayre’s Bodog is the most popular and prestigious Canadian site, serving bettors across the country as well as worldwide. It is up to standard with the best UK, Gibraltar and Malta-licensed sportsbooks.

• Canadian sportsbetting laws or less restrictive than those found in the US but still ban single-event betting as well as live and prop betting

• Canadians can bet with domestic bookmakers like Bodog or with international sportsbooks

• The most popular online sportsbooks among Canadians are Bodog, Bet365, BetVictor, Unibet and Ladbrokes

That brings us to the second method for online betting in Canada. Unlike in some countries where gaming regulators block foreign-operated sites, Canadians are free to use any online sportsbook they prefer, regardless of location.

And that they do. The UK-based Bet365 and Ladbrokes are two of the most popular in Canada, as well as BetVictor of Gibraltar and Unibet of Malta. While regulators license domestic sportsbooks, gambling laws in Canada actually give bettors incentive to place their bets overseas. That’s brings us to the next section.

How to bet in Canada

Canadian gambling laws say that domestic sportsbooks can only offer parlay betting. This means punters are required to place wagers on three events at once. Potential payouts are smaller, because when you bet on three events there is a good chance at least one of them will be a loser. Most bettors handpick a specific event they want to bet on, so requiring them to parlay is an annoyance.

The reason for this restriction? North American pro sports leagues such as the NHL, MLB and NFL have lobbied governments in both Canada and the US against allowing single-event betting. The thinking is that single-event is more likely to compromise the integrity of sports by leading to match-fixing and point-shaving, and that parlaying prevents that kind of corruption.

In addition to single-event, prop betting is also prohibited in Canada. This refers to the now-popular practice of wagering on in-match events not directly related to the outcome. Will the final goal of a football match be scored by a header, will Sydney Crosby score three goals in a game, will Lebron James receive a technical foul? This type of betting has become big business for UK bookmakers, but their Canadian counterparts don’t have the luxury.

Due to restrictions on single-event, prop betting and live betting (placing a wager after an event has begun), Canadian sportsbooks offer fewer choices than the top international bookies. They are nothing to complain about, but serious punters tend to look overseas to bet on their favorite events.

Proposed legislative changes

Bill C-290, which has been circulating through the Canadian legislature for a couple of years, would amend laws to allow Canadian bookies to offer single-event bets. Proponents of the bill argue that while Canada’s 30+ million residents parlay about $450 million a year domestically, they wager billions of dollars with international sportsbooks.

Passage of the bill would keep money in Canada as well as potentially attract American tourists looking to bet on sports. Currently Americans can only bet on sports in Delaware, Nevada, Oregon and Montana, and only residents of Nevada can bet online with domestic bookies.

Opening the domestic market up to single-event betting could have significant positive effects for the Canadian economy. However, it looks like C-290 won’t be passed anytime soon.

How to deposit money

Unlike the US, which made gambling news in 2006 by making it illegal for banks and credit card companies to process transactions made with foreign-licensed online casinos and betting sites, Canada has no such restrictions. Interested bettors can simply log on the site of their choice and deposit money using their bank or credit card number.

This convenience should be met with caution, however. The internet is full of untrustworthy sites chomping at the bit to steal money from unsuspecting would-be bettors. So before giving any personal information, punters are advised to validate whether a given site is licensed in a properly regulated jurisdiction.

Legitimate sites give licensing information in the “about us” section, and for those looking to place bets outside of Canada, the UK, Gibraltar, Malta, Isle of Man and Antigua are considered to have the world’s best regulatory standards. You can rest easy using sites licensed in any of these countries.

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