In this guide usalegalbetting.com be providing you with the ultimate guide to Ontario sports betting, including the rules in the province, how to sign up, the sports available, the best sportsbooks, and everything else you need to get started.
Let’s start by looking at the legality of Ontario sports betting.
The Legality of Ontario Sports Betting
In June of 2021 the Senate passed Bill C-218 to open the door to expand sports betting in Canada. The new law allowed for Canadian online sports betting on single-game wagers.
This gave provinces the option to legalize and opened the door for online sportsbooks to apply for licenses.
The industry has quickly expanded since then, beginning with the Ontario sports betting launch in April 2022.
Previously, provinces were only able to offer parlay or pari-mutuel bets that were run by their respective lottery system. Bill C-218 added single game betting and allowed for online sportsbooks to operate in the country.
Things happened quickly in Canada’s most populous province, but we have a timeline to break it all down.
Ontario Sports Betting Timeline
After bill C-218 was passed, things happened quickly in Canada’s most populous province.
The so-called “grey market” was already a big draw in a province, boosted by the presence of the casino industry in Windsor. It would take less than a year for the province to become a hub for online sports betting in Canada.
Here is a quick timeline showing just how fast Ontario sports betting has grown: 📰 June 2021
The Canadian Senate passed Bill C-218, opening the door for single-game sports betting for residents 19+ years old.
Ontario’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission created iGaming Ontario to run sports betting within the province.
📰 August 2021
The Ontario lottery opens their new Proline platform to allow residents to begin single-game betting. This marked the first time Canadians were able to legally place single game bets.
📰 December 2021
The Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission announces that any operator registered with iGaming Ontario can begin to offer their products to residents.
📰 April 2022
Ontario Sports betting officially launched with over 20 Canadian betting sites available
What’s Next for Ontario Sports Betting Regulations
While there is some talk about expanding Ontario sports betting sites, iGaming Ontario is currently focused on illegal sportsbooks operating in the province. The biggest Ontario sports betting sites had a great first year, but some of the smaller ones have already bowed out of the market.
One recent example was Coolbet Sportsbook, who announced last month that they would be leaving the regulated market.
It’s not unexpected considering the rising number of sportsbooks, but it is also a result of illegal sportsbooks continuing to operate within the province.
While iGaming hasn’t unveiled any specific plans, chair Dave Forestell made it clear this will be a top priority in 2023.
Things to Consider before choosing a legal sportsbook
While Ontario Sportsbooks must meet certain standards to be approved by iGaming Ontario, that doesn’t mean they are all equal.
Some Ontario sports betting sites are more reliable than others, have better odds, or provides better security.
Before you choose a new Ontario sportsbook, we recommend doing your research to answer the following questions:
What do the user reviews say?
What payment methods does the sportsbook accept?
Do they offer a mobile app?
What security measures do they have in place to keep you safe?
What are deposit and withdrawal times?
Are easy customer service options available?
Are they regulated by iGaming Ontario?
How do their odds compare to other Ontario sportsbooks?
How do their promotions and welcome bonus compare to other Ontario sportsbooks
What sports and leagues are available to bet?
How To Bet on Sports in Ontario
While the industry is still relatively new, there are no shortage of options for Ontario sports betting. Resident can choose from land-based Ontario sportsbooks or from over 30 online Canadian betting sites.
Getting started with sports betting in Ontario is easy, especially for residents of Windsor, Toronto, and Ottawa. You can simply walk into your local casino or create an account with one of the regulated sportsbooks in the province.
Popular markets and betting types
After one year of legal Ontario sports betting, we have been able to learn which markets and bet types are the most popular among residents of the Great White North.
Unsurprisingly, the major North American sports leagues have drawn the most bets. Fans have focused mainly on the NFL, NBA, and NHL as their go-to. The MLB has drawn plenty of action, but those three leagues stand out from the rest.
The most interesting takeaway from the first year is that bettors are choosing to wager on major sports events more so than regular season single-game wagers. Instead, they are focusing on future bets for events like March Madness and the NHL Playoffs.
Those include outright bets placed on the winner of a tournament (i.e., Super Bowl Champion), and group betting on the winner of a group or regions (i.e., NCAA Tournament West Region).
There is already expectation that this will change as more players are beginning to look at more obscure sport leagues, such as curling. While those sports won’t overtake the NBA, NFL, or NHL, expect to see the market continuously grow over the next few years.
Single-game betting and parlays
While April 2022 is viewed as the launch of all Ontario sports betting, that isn’t the case. Before the new law, Ontario bettors were able to place parlay and pari-mutuel bets with the Lottery.
Parlay bets refer to bets with multiple picks made for one large bet. Payouts are large, but they are notoriously difficult to hit.
They are still legal and a popular bet type, especially with better odds and looser restrictions than what Ontario bettors had through the lottery.
Pari-mutuel betting is a common bet type for horse racing. This bet involves going against other players, with the winners getting paid from the wagers of players that lost.
This type of bet is still available for horse racing but isn’t as popular as single-game or parlay bets.
Bill C-218 completely changed this by allowing Ontario Bettors to place single-game wagers. These are bets placed on a single game or event, something that was previously illegal. This was a massive change, as this is by far the most popular bet type.
How to read and understand the odds
Reading odds can look like a foreign language for new sports bettors, but they are easy to understand once you know how to read them. It’s important to always understand the odds before placing a bet, as they will influence the amount you can win.
The most crucial thing to learn is the difference between the plus and minus signs in front of the odds. A plus sign usually indicates the team or pick is viewed as the “underdog”.
The number after the plus sign is the amount you will win when betting a $100. For example, if you bet $100 on the Heat to beat the Bucks at +220, you will win $220 if the Heat win.
The minus usually indicates the favored team or pick. The number after the minus symbol shows how much you need to bet in order to win $100. For example, if you bet on the Bucks to beat the Heat at -250, you would need to bet $250 in order to win $100.
While the plus and minus usually indicates the underdog and favorite, that is not always the case. In close matchups or with many over/under bets you may see both teams or picks with a minus in front of their odds.
When this happens, the larger number after the minus symbol shows who the bookmaker favors.
Top Sports, Leagues, Tournaments, and Teams
After one year of legal betting in the province, we have seen bettors focus on a few popular leagues when placing their bets. Overall, the major North American sports were the most popular as bettors have yet to focus on the smaller sports.
Here are the sports that drew in the most bets in Ontario over the last year.
NBA betting was incredibly popular in its first year in part because the province is home to the Toronto Raptors, Canada’s lone NBA team. While there has been plenty of action on single-game bets, many have focused on betting futures.
Like with other major sports, bettors have flocked to basketball betting sites with the playoffs underway. Bets are being placed on series and conference winners as the first round of the playoffs comes to a close.
The NBA playoffs draw a lot of bets, but nothing close to what NBA Finals betting. The NBA’s championship series offers a lot of different bets available and is a marquee event that bettors in Canada have been focusing on.
Though Canada does not have a team, NFL betting has been incredibly popular. The Super Bowl and NFL playoffs were hugely popular as bettors, especially for prop bets.
Given the league’s popularity, you can expect the NFL to continue to be a top betting option in the province and Canada as a whole.
While not nearly as popular, the Canadian Football League is the next most-bet football league. Ontario has two teams in the league, Ottawa Redblacks and the Toronto Argonauts.
We expect this market to grow, especially since its season runs over the summer. That means football bettors have options during the NFL offseason, making football one of the most popular betting sports in the country.
While Hockey betting is much more difficult than basketball and football, it has been very popular in the province.
The province is home to both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators, meaning Ontario is filled with fans looking for NHL betting. Most hockey bets have been single-game wagers, though futures have also been popular.
Group bets are also becoming popular as the Stanley Cup Finals quickly approach. Bettors can pick conference winners and the eventual champion for their group bet.
This is the top event of the NHL season as they award a team with the most storied trophy in North American sports. This also correlates with the NBA playoffs, making this a very busy time of year for Ontario sportsbooks.
MLB betting hasn’t been as popular across Canada, but it has had more action in Ontario. That is thanks to the province being home to the MLB’s lone Canadian team, the Toronto Blue Jays.
Like hockey, baseball betting is considered more difficult than basketball or football betting.
Given the trend of Ontario bettors focusing on future bets and major tournament, you can expect the MLB playoff and World Series betting to be a major draw.
That is especially true if the Blue Jays can make the playoffs, as the teams fanbase stretches throughout the province and Canada.
Tips and Betting Strategies
Losing is inevitable in Ontario sports betting, but there are certain things you can do to raise your chances.
There are no shortage of sports betting tips and tricks out there, but nothing can boost your chances more than doing your homework on the event or game in question.
Even taking 20 minutes to research a game or event before placing your bet can drastically improve your chances.
Before you bet on any game or event, we recommend you answer the following questions before deciding your bet:
Why are the odds set where they are?
Where is the game being played?
Are there any key injuries?
How have both teams performed from a betting perspective (i.e., against the spread, over/under, etc.)?
Have these teams played each other before?
Finding answers to these questions are easy, but so many bettors choose to go with their gut instead of doing either homework. This is what we call “emotional betting”, and it is a great way to blow through your bankroll.
Answering the five questions above will increase your chances of winning and help you avoid making bad bets
Knowing Which Sportsbooks to Avoid
As we mentioned above, not all online Ontario sportsbooks are created equal. Even regulated sportsbooks can still provide vastly different experiences that could affect not just your overall experience, but also your bankroll.
The first thing to do when choosing a new sportsbook is to verify all your options are legal and regulated by iGaming Ontario.
Those sites will all have a badge or marking showing they are legal within the province. If you don’t see that, avoid the sportsbook and choose another option.
Illegal and unregulated sportsbooks don’t have to follow the rules set forward by Canada and it’s provinces, meaning there is no recourse if they fail to pay out your funds.
Once you have verified your list of Ontario gambling sites are legal, it is time to look at reviews.
Check for things like payment methods, withdrawal/deposit times, promotions, and odds. Each of those vary from sportsbook to sportsbook, so be sure to compare before making your final selection.
That is especially true for promotions and odds, as those can end up greatly affecting your bankroll.
Top Ontario Sportsbooks
Now that we have covered the basics, it’s time to find the right Ontario sports betting site for you.
The number of legal betting sites continues to grow in the providence, but they are led by a group of eight that stand out from the rest. Each has their unique features and strengths that put them above the rest, making them a reliable option for your Ontario sports betting needs.
We have poured through the options and to help determine which are the best sports betting sites in Ontario. We looked at several factors when evaluating, which we will discuss below.
Here is our official list of our top eight sportsbooks in the province. We have included a brief introduction to each, along with their current odds for the winner of this year’s Stanley Cup. Even if you aren’t looking to bet on the winner, this will give you an idea of how the odds for each sportsbook stack up.
Bet365 Sportsbook is a name many Canadians know as they have been in Canada’s “grey market” for years. They are now a legal sportsbook in the province and their extensive betting market has made them a popular choice for bettors.
The BetMGM Sportsbook Ontario has one of the best sports Ontario sports betting sites thanks to their decades of experience in the casino industry. They have a great platform and one of the best loyalty programs available, as points can be redeemed online or at any MGM property.
While they don’t have the most recognizable brand, BetRivers Sportsbook Ontario joined with Rush Street Interactive to form one of the most reliable sportsbooks in Canada. They have yet to expand to the rest of Canada, but BetRivers promotions and betting selections make it a top Ontario sports betting site.
Caesars Sportsbook Ontario is one of the most recognizable brands in Ontario sports betting. It has become a top sportsbook in Ontario thanks in part to its retail location in Windsor. This also gives them a big advantage with their loyalty program, where rewards can be used at the Windsor resort.
From its humble beginnings as a Daily Fantasy Site, DraftKings Sportsbook Ontario has become one of the most trusted names in Ontario sports betting. They feature a great platform, fast and friendly customer service, and the most prop bet options you will find in all of Canada.
Like DraftKings, FanDuel Sportsbook Ontario is another former DFS site turned Sportsbook. They usually offer good odds, but they are also on the forefront of live streaming games. While not available for all games or events, FanDuel will let you live stream certain games you have bet on.
PointsBet Sportsbook Ontario is officially live, and they are pushing hard to gain new users. That means they have some incredible promos that you won’t find elsewhere. They set themselves apart with their various options to tease your bet and improve your odds.
Rivalry Sportsbook Ontario is a great local option that was founded in Toronto. They offer a lot of banking options to make deposits and withdrawals easy for bettors. What sets them apart is their in depth offering of e-sports betting, with the largest selection in the province.
When you are choosing between sportsbooks, you’ll see reviews tout several different betting features that make them great. However, many of these features unique to sportsbooks and are unknown to new bettors.
If you are someone that is new to Ontario sports betting, here are a few of the key features you will see:
Live Betting: Also known as “in-game betting”, this allows bettors to place wagers on events that are already in progress. They have live odds updating throughout the game, allowing you to place a bet at any time.
Live Streaming: Live streaming refers to sportsbooks allowing bettors to watch games they have wagered on. This is hardly unique to Ontario sports betting, but it is becoming increasingly popular.
Cash-Out: This is a nice feature that allows bettors to cash out their parlay bets before the last leg has been completed. The sportsbook will offer you a lower payout as an alternative to risking it all on the final leg. This isn’t always available, but it is becoming increasingly popular among Ontario online casinos.
Tease: “Teasing a bet” refers to creating an alternative outcome to bet on. For example, let’s say you are looking to bet a Raptors game where they are favored by five points. Some sportsbooks will let you change that spread a few points in either direction and provide corresponding odds.
Deposit Bonus: This refers to bonuses where a sportsbook will match part or all your initial deposit. It is a common welcome bonus for new players but be sure to determine how much will be matched before choosing an Ontario Sportsbook.
Bonus Bets and Site Credits: Many sportsbooks will offer bonus bets or site credits for new users, but they usually are usually only available to bet with and are not available to withdraw. Be sure to verify the terms on any bonus bets or credits before choosing an Ontario sportsbook.
How We Rank The Sites
There are many factors we review before recommending any Ontario sportsbook to ensure you can choose the best one to fit your needs. Checking these helps us eliminate the less reliable options and establish which ones are the best.
Here are some of the factors we consider:
As we review and test out each sportsbook, we always consider the overall user experience using it. This includes things like ease of us, betting options available, quality of graphics, and the account set up process. If we aren’t enjoying the site or are having issues with its functionality, it will greatly affect our review.
Safety & Reliability
Just because an Ontario Sportsbook is regulated does not mean it is necessarily safe and reliable. You provide a lot of information when signing up for a sportsbook, which makes their ability to protect that information paramount. That’s why we always check for the security they have in place as well as read user reviews regarding reliability.
This includes what payment methods are available as well as the time to process deposits and withdrawals.
This is something that can be overlooked by new bettors, but it is imperative to check before opening an account. Some sportsbooks offer deposit methods that you can’t use for withdrawals, making the process tricky if you don’t plan ahead.
We have gone through and tested out many of the Ontario sportsbook betting apps, checking to see how well they operate when you are betting on the go. Many bettors prefer to make picks from their phones, so picking a sportsbook with a reliable mobile app makes a big difference.
Customer service is incredibly important in the Ontario sports betting industry. Ontario Sportsbooks are holding onto your money, so it’s important to be able to access help if an issue arises. Customer service options can vary greatly between sportsbooks, so checking for this is always important.
Finally, we compare odds to evaluate every Ontario sportsbook we review. As you can see in the sportsbooks we discussed above, odds can vary significantly depending on who you use. Picking a sportsbook with the best odds can mean more money in your pocket.
How to Open Sports Betting Account in Ontario
Once you have chosen a new Ontario sportsbook to use, it is time to create an account and get started. While each site has their own unique style, the sign-up process is pretty much universal.
Each sportsbook will provide instructions to help you get started, but here is a general step-by-step guide to get started:
Visit the home page of the Ontario Sportsbook you choose
Click on the “Join Now” or “Register” button
Enter your personal information as requested
Create a unique username and password
If applicable, enter your promo code
Hit the submit button once you have everything entered
Make your initial deposit into your new account
Once these steps are completed, you are ready to start betting on sports!
How to make your first deposit
Most Ontario sportsbooks make the deposit process quick and painless. Deposits usually process immediately so you can start playing right away.
You will have the option to make an initial deposit while creating your sportsbook account, but you can do this at any time through your account page.
To make your first deposit, just follow this step-by-step guide:
Find the “Deposit Now” button either on the homepage or in your new account page
Select from the available payment methods
Enter the amount you wish to deposit
Agree to terms and hit submit
Once this is done, you should see the money appear in your Ontario sportsbook account. If you ever run into issues with this, the sportsbook will have customer service options to help you get it resolved.
Popular Sportsbook Payment Methods
For new users, choosing the best payment method is important. Each have their own processing times, fees, etc. that appeal to some players more than others.
Visa and Mastercard debit cards are the most popular choice among sports bettors. They allow you to deposit and withdraw funds directly from your bank account.
The withdrawal times can be a few days, but the ease makes the wait worth it. However, some banks will not allow you to use your debit cards for legal betting. Also, be sure to check to see if there are any fees when using your debit card to make deposits.
PayPal is another option that has become increasingly popular, with more Ontario sports betting sites now offering it for deposits and withdrawals.
PayPal offer a quick and reliable experience when using it for an Ontario sports betting site. Plus, it’s an easy way to implement a solid money management strategy since it is not directly linked to your bank account.
Skrill and PayNearMe are popular alternatives to the above options. They both offer a secure and easy way to deposit and withdraw money from your account.
PayNearMe is the more popular of the two options, as it is more commonly accepted by sportsbooks than Skrill. Plus, PayNearMe allows players to make deposits from participating local convenience and drug stores.
Ontario Betting Apps
One of the biggest benefits to Ontario sports betting at an online casino is that you can do it from anywhere. There are many Ontario sports betting apps to help make the process as easy as possible.
The major sportsbooks all have apps that function well, allowing you the same experience you would get from their site.
They know that many bettors will be accessing their account through their phone, so they have spent time and money ensuring theirs rank among the best. In such a competitive market, a poor mobile app could be enough to push the sportsbook out of the legal market.
While each Ontario sportsbook app has its own design, they will allow you to do the following:
Full access to sportsbook with the ability to place bets
Manage your account
Make deposits & withdrawals
View your bets
Live-stream games (when available)
That is a lot of access you can have right from the palm of your hand.
When choosing a new sportsbook, we always recommend testing out the mobile app before signing up. You can download most Ontario sports betting apps and be able to test them without having to create an account.
When testing out a new sportsbook app, check for things like speed, graphics, and ease-of-use.
This not only ensures the sportsbook’s app is worth using, while also verifying your phone is able to perform well when using it. Older phones may struggle with the graphics of some of these apps, making them not worth downloading.
Ontario vs USA Sports Betting
While the Ontario sports betting laws have created a similar market to the US, there are some key differences. Here are a couple comparisons to show how the province matches up with two of the US’s biggest sports betting states.
Ontario Sports Betting vs Pennsylvania Sports Betting
The biggest difference between these two states is the gambling age. Ontario allows players 19 and older to legally sports bet, while Pennsylvania players must be at least 21.
The betting market in both locations are similar, with many of the same sports and leagues available.
Another difference involves the number of regulated sportsbooks, as Pennsylvania only has 13 while Ontario has over 20.
However, many of the online casinos also have retail locations available in Pennsylvania, something that the Canadian province has much less of.
Lastly, there is a big difference in taxes. All US sports betting winnings is subjected to taxation by the IRS. That is not the case in Ontario sports betting (or Canada), meaning residents can keep 100% of their winnings.
Ontario Sports Betting vs Michigan Sports Betting
Like with Pennsylvania, Michigan sports betting operates a lot like Ontario. The Wolverine state requires players to be over the age of 21.
They have more sportsbooks available (15) than Pennsylvania, but still significantly less than Canada’s most populated province.
Like Pennsylvania, all Michigan residents must pay taxes on their gambling winnings. This can be a decent chunk of the profits, meaning you will win less playing in the US than in Canada.
Licensed Sites vs Unlicensed Sites
While there is a plethora of options for regulated sportsbooks, the “grey market” still is a popular for Ontario sports betting. The “grey market” refers to unlicensed Ontario sports betting sites that operate within Canada.
These unregulated Ontario sports betting sites were allowed to operate before, and the province provided a transition period for those sites to become licensed. That time is now over, making unlicensed sportsbook sites illegal.
While these Ontario sports betting sites may seem similar, there are a lot of reasons why licensed sites are the better choice.
The biggest one is overall safety and reliability. If you run in to any issues with a licensed sportsbook, you have legal recourse and government assistance to resolve them.
That isn’t the same case with an unlicensed Ontario sports betting site, meaning you are on your own if something goes wrong.
A licensed Ontario sports betting site also must meet criteria set forward by iGaming Ontario. That includes fair play rules and transparent odds for bettors. Unlicensed sites don’t need to worry about this, meaning you could run into bets that are rigged, bad odds, or incorrect payouts.
Lastly, licensed sportsbooks must have a certain level of security in place to protect the information of their players.
Ontario sportsbooks must demonstrate their security before being approved for licensing withing the province. Some unlicensed sites may also offer this, but there is no way to verify it. That means your personal and banking information could be exposed or even sold for profit.
Ontario Sports Betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Ontario?
Yes! Canada passed a law in 2021 that opened the door for legal Ontario sports betting, but each province has their own rules. The province was the first to launch in April 2022, and operates in a similar fashion to many US states.
What bet types are available?
Ontario residents now have access to a full range of bet types, including single-game bets, parlays, group bets, futures, and prop bets. Previously, only parlay and certain horse racing betting were allowed. Both were operated through Ontario’s lottery and offered limited options. Now, each Ontario sports betting site allows for a wide range of bet types for you to enjoy.
Can you use DraftKings in Ontario?
Yes, DraftKings is now officially licensed and open for use in the province. Their Ontario sports betting site features a wide range of sports and leagues to bet, making it a top option for many residents. As sports betting laws change in other provinces, you can expect DraftKings to spread quickly.
What is the biggest sportsbook in Ontario?
While the list of licensed sportsbooks in the province continues to shift, BetMGM has remained one of the biggest in the province. They are joined by other larger sportsbooks like Caesars, FanDuel, DraftKings, and bet365.
Which sportsbooks are coming to Ontario?
There are no major sportsbooks with plans to enter the market, mostly because most of them are already there. Instead, you can expect some of the smaller sportsbooks to begin to exit the market as it becomes more top-heavy.
How does Ontario Sports betting differ from the US?
Ontario operates very similarly to many US states, but they offer more sportsbooks to choose from. That means each Ontario sports betting site is competing for your business, leading to more promotions for new users.
They also does not tax any winnings from Ontario sports betting sites, meaning you will win more money than you would in the US.
Also, Ontario only requires players to be 19 or older whereas the US requires you to be at least 21.
How old do you need to be to sports bet in Ontario?
You must be at least 19 years old and be located within the borders of the province in order to use an Ontario sports betting site.
What is the “grey market”?
The grey market refers to unlicensed sportsbooks that are based overseas. They were allowed to operate within Canada but have since become illegal as the country shifts to regulated sports betting. If you’re using a unlicensed Ontario sports betting site, don’t expect it to be around too much longer.