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Sports betting simplified
Sports betting has been legal in Ontario and Canada for decades, but most of that time, it was only available in parlay-style bets via provincial lotteries.
That changed when Canada’s Parliament passed Bill C-218 — the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act — on June 22, 2021, opening the door for provinces to allow single-game sports betting.
Then, in January 2022, Ontario announced that legal sports betting would launch on April 4, 2022. Several companies, such as Bet365, 888, and Unibet, which had previously operated in Ontario’s gray market, jumped into the white market to register with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
Online sportsbooks must pay a $100,000 licensing fee and a tax rate of 20% on sports betting revenue, and they do not have to partner with a brick-and-mortar location. In all, 13 online sportsbooks launched in Ontario on April 4, 2022.
Legal Canadian sports betting consists mainly of the Ontario market, with other provinces offering betting through sites associated with provincial lotteries, as Ontario did with ProLine.
Canadian Province of Ontario Sports Betting Overview
With online sports betting, you can bet anywhere in Ontario where you can find an internet connection within provincial borders. Ontario has 30 licensed online sportsbooks, most of which offer mobile betting apps. Otherwise, people in Ontario have a few options for betting on sports.
There are 11 destinations – all at Ontario casinos – that offer some form of in-person sports betting. Great Canadian Entertainment runs 10 of these locations, and the Caesars Sportsbook at Caesars Windsor is the other.
Four of the 10 Great Canadian Entertainment sports betting locations have dedicated sportsbook lounges called Great Canadian Sportsbooks. Those four lounges contain sports betting kiosks while offering food and bar service and an area to watch games. The other six locations have sports betting kiosks within the casino.
Caesars Sportsbook at Caesars Windsor is the only full-service sportsbook in Ontario, although additional options could open at some point.
Canadian Province of Ontario Sports Betting Timeline
2023: By the first anniversary of the launch of legal sports betting in Ontario, the province had 30 legal online sportsbooks. There was $35.6 billion in total wagers and $1.4 billion in total gaming revenue in the first year.
Ontario’s first full-service retail sportsbook, the Caesars Sportsbook at Caesars Windsor, opened officially to the public. The Caesars Windsor is the largest casino resort in Canada.
2022: At the end of January, iGaming Ontario announced that it anticipates a launch of online sports betting on April 4. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario approves online sportsbooks for launch in early 2022.
As planned, Ontario becomes the first province in Canada to open its borders to commercial sportsbooks. The April 4 launch date includes BetMGM and Caesars, with an expectation for more than two dozen online books in the province.
By the end of 2022, 27 sports betting sites had launched in Ontario.
2021: C-218 — the single-game sports betting bill — clears Parliament. The bill received full House approval in April, and it passed the Senate in June 2021. Individual provinces handle their regulations, with an effective date of Aug. 27. At that point, many provincial lotteries begin to offer betting.
Ontario moves forward with draft regulations for an open market, with books like PointsBet, BetRivers, and DraftKings gearing up for launch.
2020: Private member Kevin Waugh introduced C-218 in February, but there has been little action in 2020. The bill didn’t get its second reading until nearly a year later, in February 2021.
One notable development in 2020 came in June when multiple professional leagues jointly supported single-game betting in Canada.
2016: The decade’s second attempt to legalize single-game sports betting in Canada fails.
2012: An attempt to legalize single-game sports betting in Canada passes the House, but it goes no further. The Senate has failed to act on the legislation for years.
2011: This year sees the introduction of an attempt to end the federal ban on single-game sports betting in Canada that would continue in 2012.
1992: ProLine officially launches in Ontario in October.