Canada’s betting laws are significantly stricter than in many other developed countries. That said, there are usually ways around these tight regulations as the rules only affect those betting sites based within the country. In summary, you can legally continue your betting strategy with offshore betting companies. Canada is looking to potentially reform its betting rules to allow for single sports bets which could shake up the industry altogether. Read on to find out more about these potential rule changes and what they might mean for you.
Canadians have been waiting a long time for Canada to shake up their betting laws and finally that reform could be on the horizon. For decades there have been attempts to legalize betting on single-event sports but as of yet, there has been no success. However, we could be about to see a significant change as there has been a recent surge in support from government officials at both the federal and provincial level to freshen up and modernize the Canadian betting industry. Their argument is that it needs to be brought back up to speed with other global markets, and it is hard to argue when you see the amount of money making its way out of Canada via offshore betting sites.
Single bets are obviously very popular with bettors across the world, they are the most common type of bet. They are of course popular with Canadians too, however, frustratingly for residents the present-day rules and regulations do not allow for Canadian players to place single game sports bets. This is currently prohibited under Section 207(4)(b) of the Criminal Code which stipulates that Canadians are only permitted to wager bets on sports when it is on the outcome of a combination of multiple sporting events, which is commonly referred to as a parlay or an accumulator.
The sports betting industry has rapidly evolved and there have been repeated calls over the years to bring the Canadian betting laws up to speed with the rest of the world, but these have fallen on deaf ears. One of the biggest issues that law makers have had to face is that by making single bets illegal, they open up a lucrative “grey” market where illegal or unlicensed companies can step in and absorb the demand.
Data acquired by the Canadian Gaming Association suggests that Canadian citizens place around C$4 billion with offshore betting companies. While this is a huge opportunity missed for the Canadian economy, it isn’t quite as large a problem as we are about to reveal. The same source also informs us that Canadians stake nearly C$10 billion a year via illegal channels and unofficial websites, which are often run by large-scale criminal organizations. Both a damning and scary statistic. So, how much do Canadian bettors place through legal, home-based betting sites? Just C$500 million. This highlights the problem that the government is facing, as the potential market is worth nearly 30 times the amount that is currently being processed through domestic legal betting sites.
This is the major reasoning behind a new push for regulation changes as there is a notable financial benefit for the Canadian government to legalize single bets. This will not only open up revenue streams to them in the forms of tax, but also ensure that money is kept in the domestic economy, boosting jobs and helping to reduce the power of criminal networks.
So, after decades of failure, what is on the table when it comes to potential changes? The government is proposing new legislation which will allow the provinces and territories themselves to regulate and offer licenses that allow single-sports betting to companies who are based under their control.
On November 26th, 2020, a bill was introduced – C-13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (single event sport betting) – which could prove to be a landmark moment in Canadian betting history. The proposed legislation will legalize single sports bets and leave it to the territories governments to provide licenses to organizations.
This allows for Canadian based companies to enter the market for the first time which will provide fair competition to offshore betting sites and improve the overall experience for bettors, whether they are betting online or at licensed premises. It also ensures that bettors can place bets worry-free, when there had previously been a cloud looming over Canadian sports betting. Although it has been legal to bet using offshore companies, the lack of clarity often leaves some users feeling unsure. This change also provides a huge opportunity for big players within the industry to move offices to Canada and this could also provide great career opportunities for Canadian locals.
Even before this bill was put forward, certain territories were looking to make advances in the hope that it would arise. On 5th November 2020, Ontario’s governing officials unveiled a plan to freshen up its online betting industry and included financial data to support this in its budget. This showed Ontario’s hand. As soon as the government passes the bill, they will be moving quickly to make the most of such a lucrative market and will be permitting licenses to organisations that can prove they are safe, secure and genuine.
On February 17th, the second bill passed a vote by a staggering 303-15 so it will now be referred to the Commons justice committee for further investigation and debate. As we wait for further information regarding whether the bill will be passed, there is a huge sense of optimism among leading betting companies who are wanting a slice of the action as well as leading figures from major sports leagues such as the CFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and MLS.
As we have already touched upon, it has been perfectly legal for Canadian citizens to place bets on single sports events using offshore companies for years. These offshore companies are usually some of the world’s leading betting names such as Betway, Unibet, LeoVegas and many more, but there are also some smaller scale sportsbooks who have managed to utilize the Canadian laws to continue their growth.
Not only have these companies offered Canadians the opportunity to place single sports bets, but they have done so in an incredibly safe and secure fashion. These sites are proud owners of licenses from some of the strictest regulated licensing bodies and ensure that Canadians can bet safely in the knowledge that their hard earned cash is secure.
The vast amount of betting companies providing services to Canadian bettors has ensured an extremely competitive market and also allowed Canadians to get great value odds and utilize some fantastic promotions and bonuses. New players entering an industry they have dominated for years will undoubtedly cause anxiety and concern. However, this opportunity will also ensure that locals will be funnelled away from illegal organizations and towards fully licensed betting sites which hopefully will see the industry retain its competitive nature and provide a fantastic experience for Canadian bettors.
These offshore sites have also enabled bettors to place single bets on so many of their favorite sports. Whether it is baseball, hockey, football, soccer or lacrosse, keen Canadian bettors have been able to continue their hobby of sports betting thanks to the services provided by these companies, and many will feel some level of loyalty to these providers. One thing is for sure, there will be huge competition for custom and that can only be a good thing for bettors with competitors looking to provide the best odds and bonuses.
Despite its incredible popularity, single bet sports betting has long been strictly illegal for Canadian betting companies, and this has been much to the disappointment of bettors. After decades of campaigning and pushing for a modernization of the Canadian betting legislation, it now looks like Canada will empower their local governments to be able to license and regulate both online and brick-and-mortar betting companies, so bettors will finally be allowed to place single sports bets. This will mark a huge change in Canadian betting culture and will bring the country an economical reward but also provide extra safety, security and value for all Canadian bettors. Although the bill is yet to be passed and we patiently wait for confirmation, optimism sails through the industry that we will soon be heading for a Canada that permits single sports bets.
Yes, it is legal to place sports bets online in Canada. Currently you are only able to place parlays or accumulators with Canadian based sportsbooks, however, it is perfectly legal to place your single bets online with offshore betting sites and with legislation changing in Canada, it could soon be legal here.
At the time of writing, no. However, recent revelations appear to suggest that single bets will be made available to some Canadians depending on what their territorial governments decide.
There is a wide range of leading sportsbooks who operate in Canada. All you need to do is simply sign up to your preferred betting site, deposit some funds and you can get placing your bets straight away.