The sports betting landscape across Canada is in the midst of dramatic changes, and all of them for the better as the number of betting options in Ontario continues to grow.
Best sports betting sites in Canada
The days of being limited to parlay-style games from the lottery are over as the introduction of single-game betting has opened the door to even more options for users. At the same time, the launch of online sportsbooks in Ontario allows a huge segment of the population to take advantage of those choices.
Among the many many options for bettors in the Great White North is the Canadian Football League, which has been a staple in the collective consciousness of sports fans for more than six decades. While wagering on the league has been common for a long time, the legalization of online sportsbooks in Canada is sure to take things to a new level.
Some of the biggest names in the sports betting industry are now offering their services and below, we’re offering up key details on each to help educate Canadians on what they stand to gain from each site.
Top sportsbooks in Canada
Before too long, the legal sports betting landscape in Canada will feature many options, including many of the most popular brands in the business. This ensures bettors will have access to a wide range of markets in addition to a steady stream of generous offers and promotions.
Let’s take a look at some of the Canadian sportsbooks that you can expect to see as legalized betting becomes available.
While legal sportsbooks tend to have a huge menu of options, BetMGM is one of the best for offering prop betting markets that aren’t available everywhere. It features a simple one-game parlay builder plus an ‘easy parlay’ option to help you with multi-leg wagers. The site is an easy one to navigate and all of that combined helps BetMGM live up to the hype.
- Strengths: exclusive props, parlay features
- App rating (out of five): Apple 4.8, Android 2.4
Featuring a range of ongoing promos coupled with a variety of wagering options, BetRivers is building a name for itself in every market it arrives in. BetRivers also has one of the best layouts for individual game props in the business, and visitors will even find stats and betting tips provided inside the app.
- Strengths: NFL, NHL, parlays, props, futures
- App rating (out of five): Apple 2.8, Android 3.0
Caesars is another iconic gambling name that has lived up to its lofty standards while expanding its online sports betting offerings. Competitive odds are at the top of the list of its features, and there’s also a regular assortment of promos and boosts. When you add in the big menu of sports and wagers, Caesars has a lot going for it.
- Strengths: boosts, promotions, props, favourable odds
- App rating (out of five): Apple 4.6, Android 4.5
While there are a number of outstanding betting platforms out there, DraftKings just may be the best of the bunch. The app works seamlessly and is easy to navigate, while there are a truly massive number of options available, including live markets and props. DK is also known for its wide-ranging promotions for new and existing players.
- Strengths: betting menu, parlays, props
- App rating (out of five): Apple 4.8, Google 4.8
Types of Canada sports betting offers
One of the things to look out for when signing up for online sportsbooks in Canada is welcome offers presented to new players.
Each is generous in its own way and designed to put the bettor ahead of the game from the very beginning. It’s important to know what each entails and the differences between them, so we’ve laid that out below:
Bonus bets/no deposit offer
Sportsbook bonus bets are rewards that new players are given without having to invest in the site. It is usually awarded in the form of site credit or a bonus bet, so it is oftentimes promoted as the latter.
Regardless of the name, anything awarded upon signup without you putting any money in is a no deposit offer. These are common when new market launches and are typically included as part of a welcome offer that may include a deposit match.
For example, DraftKings has been known to offer a $50 bonus bet upon signup in addition to a 20% deposit match.
Bonus bets or bet insurance
One of the most common welcome offers to receive, bonus bets focus on your first wager. After signing up and making a deposit, place your first bet. If it loses, the site will reimburse the wager in site credit up to a certain amount.
If your very first wager results in a win, congratulations, you’ve got some instant profit. But even if it loses, you’ve covered and will have the chance to place another wager without having to risk any of your own funds.
It’s worth noting that most initial bonus bets are quite large and it entices players to take a big swing on their very first bet with the site. In Canada, they may be more commonly referred to simply as ‘bet insurance’, which means the same thing.
Deposit match offer
If you come across a site with a match offer, stop right there and inspect further because this is an operator you should be interested in joining. When it comes to welcome offers, this is the one that is preferred by most bettors, and it is commonly offered in new markets when the betting population is first getting its feet wet.
With a deposit match, the sportsbook will match your deposit in either cash, site credit, or bonus bets. In many cases, you’ll get a match bonus, which essentially doubles the amount you have to wager with right from the very beginning.
Match offers are capped at a certain amount, but the potential is there to build the bankroll in a big way before even placing any bets.
Keep in mind that even if you receive a match offer, these are not direct cash payments that can be immediately withdrawn. Each site has its own wagering requirement attached, though it is usually a feasible request that a consistent bettor can easily overcome. But always check terms and conditions for exact rules on a match offer, or any kind of welcome offer.
Canada sportsbook offers
Signup offers are popular among sportsbooks but luckily, that isn’t where the advantages stop.
Most sites also feature a wide set of promotions and other amenities to make the betting experience more enjoyable. Here are some of the most common ones that you’ll come across:
- Profit Boosts: This involves the sportsbook enhancing the odds of your wager, usually as part of a promotion involving a specific sport or game.
- Parlay Insurance: If all legs of your parlay win except one, the site will reimburse your original wager up to a certain amount.
- Reload Match: Similar to a match offer, just for existing customers. Have your investment matched in site credit up to a certain amount.
- Referral Offer: Receive bonus bets or site credit for referring new players to a sportsbook that you belong to.
- Sportsbook Rewards: Accrue redeemable points just for remaining active on the site.
Some promos are basically bonus money. Others you may need to make a deposit or place a wager for. There are a lot of options out there, and you can try as many as you like, including signing up at multiple sportsbooks to see which ones work best for you.
Sportsbook promotions and amenities are not universal, so it helps to continuously check what sites may be offering, especially before signing up. One way to take full advantage of this aspect of sports betting is by creating multiple sportsbook accounts, which opens up the door to bonus bets and profit boosts on a regular basis.
Why should you download multiple sports betting apps?
There’s nothing wrong with having a favourite sportsbook or two, but there’s also a lot to be said for keeping your options open. Sports bettors have many choices to consider these days. It makes sense to expose yourself to as many options as possible.
For starters, the industry is incredibly competitive. As such, sportsbooks are offering some great incentives for both new and existing users. By signing up at multiple books, you can get access to more promotions.
You may find that you prefer to bet on certain sports or place certain types of bets at one sportsbook. There could be a pattern that one sportsbook has better lines for a certain sport compared to the others.
How to bet on sports in Canada
Options abound at online sportsbooks in Canada. For decades, bettors have been limited to parlay-style wagers on certain sports but with single-game betting allowed, it’s a whole new world.
All of the most popular North American sports are well-represented, beginning with football and the CFL. But regardless of which sports or league you choose to wager on, you’ll be covered at online sportsbooks. Below is a list of the sports offered at BetMGM, which accounts for nearly any betting market you can think of.
Beyond the most popular sports, there’s also curling, soccer, golf, tennis, and mixed martial arts. You can dabble in things like cricket or rugby, darts, and table tennis, and really ramp up the rooting interest when it’s time for the Olympics. And as for the specific bets you can place on these sports, the options are nearly limitless.
Types of bets explained
To newcomers, all the betting choices can seem overwhelming. But it’s the huge range of choices that allows all bettors to find something that works for them. Here is a quick summary of the major bets and how they work:
|Bet Type||How it Works|
|Moneylines||A simple and straightforward bet that involves picking the winner of a game or event.|
|Spreads (puck lines & run lines)||Factor the margin of victory into your wager. A favourite will need to win by more than the spread, while an underdog will need to keep it closer than the spread number or win outright to ‘cover’ the number.|
|Totals||Sportsbooks set a line for the total combined score of a game. Bettors can wager that the final result will be over or under that number. Also offered for quarters, halves, and periods.|
|Props||Wagers not on the conventional moneyline, spread, or total. Generally based on individual player or team accomplishments or specific game circumstances.|
|Parlays||Multi-leg wagers with two or more selections, and all legs must win. There are also same-game parlays for individual contests. Can include moneylines, spreads, totals and alternate lines.|
|Round Robin Parlay||Takes one larger parlay and breaks it down into smaller parlays. Offers a way to profit even if all selections don’t win.|
|Live Betting||The act of placing bets after a game begins. Odds and lines will adjust to reflect what’s happening on the field of play.|
|Futures||Wagers of a long-term nature, such as on the winner of a league championship (Grey Cup) or individual award (NFL MVP).|
|Alternate Lines||Alternative options to pregame spreads and totals, with the prices (juice) shifting to reflect the buying or selling of points.|
|Teaser/Pleasers||Combination bets (similar to parlays) with at least two legs. Lines are adjusted a uniform amount for all selections and payout is based on amount of points and selections.|
How to compare sports betting sites
When considering where to wager your money, it’s important to go beyond the hype and buzz that sites may generate. Navigation, usability, odds and banking options are just a few of the important areas to check out. While conducting your due diligence, here are a few other key points to dig into:
How early are lines available?
You don’t want to be waiting around for your sportsbook of choice to release the numbers on games while others are already betting. It’s a super important factor for NFL and CFL betting, as half-point shifts can alter the appeal of wagers in a hurry. DraftKings and Caesars are among the sportsbooks that are typically very quick to market.
Which sites offer single-game parlays?
The places that you play should have all of the features that you’re into, as well as newer innovations as they become available. For example, SGPs have been growing in popularity. If your book is behind the curve in offering them, it’s not a great sign. Thankfully, all of the top books make them readily accessible including DraftKings, Caesars, FanDuel, and BetMGM.
Which sportsbooks have the best regular promotions?
Many sportsbooks will promise you a lot just to get you in the door. But which ones keep the good times rolling for existing players? Luckily, most of the top books are on point in this regard, but some step their game up much more than others. DraftKings, Caesars and BetMGM are some of the best when it comes to regularly come up with new offers.
Where can you find the most player props?
At a restaurant, a massive menu can be overkill, but it’s a welcome feature at a sportsbook. You should have a range of choices to consider for all of the bets you’re into, including player props. Using the NHL as an example, you can wager on shots, points, and goals (among other things) for many of the game’s top players at FanDuel, BetRivers, and DraftKings.
What is the best app to use for betting on sports?
The online presence for many top sportsbooks is strong. Those that can turn the double play and offer a similar experience on mobile are even better. An app is only as good as its performance, and one that frequently crashes can be a massive headache.
DraftKings and FanDuel are two books that consistently receive high marks for the mobile experience, and Caesars is another high-ranking option due to its promotional offers.
How online sports betting works in each province
Single-game wagering has been officially legal in Canada since August 2021. While the overall framework was set at the national level when Parliament passed Bill C-218, the individual provinces and lotteries have their own rules and regulations.
- British Columbia Sports Betting (British Columbia Lottery Corp.): Fans of the BC Lions and Vancouver Canucks are among the potential users as sports betting expands out west. Due to its proximity, the province is also home to fans of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.
- Alberta Sports Betting (Western Canada Lottery Corp.): Loyalties have been traditionally divided among Alberta sports fans, but that has only helped to enhance the overall entertainment value. Regardless of which of Alberta’s home teams you may root for, legal single-game betting is something to cheer about.
- Saskatchewan Sports Betting (Western Canada Lottery Corp.): The fanbase of the Roughriders stretches much farther than Saskatchewan. We can certainly expect the home team to be among the biggest draws at legal sportsbooks, along with the NHL.
- Manitoba Sports Betting (Western Canada Lottery Corp.): Home to the defending CFL champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, Manitoba doesn’t bring as many potential customers to the table as the nation’s top population centres. However, the passionate fan base can still make plenty of noise.
- Ontario sports betting (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.): If there’s a crown jewel for Canadian sports betting, this is it. Sports are a massive draw in heavily populated Ontario as is, but we can expect interest in the province’s CFL and NHL teams to ratchet up even further.
- Quebec Sports Betting: As a CFL and NHL hotbed, there’s already a massive built-in market for sports betting in Quebec. While it may not seem possible, the Habs could become an even hotter ticket as a result.
- Atlantic Canada Sports Betting: The maritime provinces may not have any teams to call their own just yet, but the area is often pointed to as a potential expansion spot for the CFL. While we patiently wait on that, expect wagering to be heavy on the league’s nine current teams.
Legal sports betting in Canada | key facts & frequently asked questions
Legal online sports betting is a new development in Canada. Naturally, there are lots of questions about what is or isn’t legal. Here are the answers to some frequent queries:
Is it legal to bet on sports in Canada?
In 2021, Parliament passed a law removing the national prohibition on single-game sports betting and allowing individual provinces to regulate sports betting as they wish. So while you can legally bet on sports in any province, the specific rules may vary
What is the legal age for betting online in Canada?
The legal age for wagering depends on the province. In Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec, you must be 18 or older. Elsewhere, the minimum age is 19.
Which sportsbooks are live right now or on the way soon?
Now that the legal Canadian sports betting market is opening up, many of the top North American sportsbooks are planning to launch there. DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars, BetRivers and PointsBet are among those that could be on the way.
Are all of the major types of bets available?
Yes. In the days when sports betting was limited to the provincial lottery system, bettors could only play parlay-style games. Legal single-game wagering expands the options, so you can bet on spreads, totals, props and much more without issue.
What sports can you bet on online?
Virtually all sports that have at least a decent amount of interest will be available for wagering. The major sports like the CFL, NFL and NHL will likely be among the biggest draws, but you can also bet on things like soccer, golf and tennis.
Why are same-game parlays so popular?
Canadian sports bettors are more than familiar with parlays. We’ve been able to bet on them legally since the 1990s via the games from the provincial lottery system. You can bet on parlays at legal online sportsbooks, too, but you can also expand your horizons.
Same-game parlays have been around for a bit, but the possibilities have expanded recently. You can tie together your favourite pregame bets with props and alternate lines on one single betting slip.
Just like a regular parlay, you have to be correct on all of your selections to win. If you do, you’re in line for what could be a large return. As a result, same-game parlays — SGPs for short — continue to rise in popularity.
They’re now a featured offering at all of the top legal online sportsbooks. There are some absolutely awesome betting platforms out there these days, so building an SGP is pretty easy.
Many bettors enjoy the chance to make a lot off of a little. Regular parlays and SGPs are a huge source of handle for sportsbooks as a result. While they can be challenging to win consistently, the entertainment factor remains a big draw.