Betting on sports has always been a popular activity around the world. As much fun as it is to play sports or to watch your favourite major league teams playing, it adds an extra little kick of excitement to have a bit of money riding on the outcome of a game.
The most popular betting sports in Ontario are football — both the NFL and the Canadian Football League (CFL) — hockey, soccer and baseball. Certain special sporting events also attract a lot of betting attention. The most recent big one-off event was the PGA Tour’s Canadian Open.
Single-event betting is still very new in Canada. This guide will help you navigate this new betting territory.
Is sports betting legal in Ontario?
Yes, as of August 2021, single-event sports betting is legal in Ontario. Before then, only parlay betting and betting on horse races were legal. This change has had a huge impact on betting culture in the country and the province.
What is still tightly controlled is how sportsbooks are able to advertise in the province. This doesn’t impact bettors thankfully.
How to start betting in Ontario
Betting in Ontario is easier than ever. You can bet in person or online. Betting in person requires going to a regulated and licensed outlet. Betting online can be done from a desktop site or on mobile.
The first step to start betting is to decide on the sport you want to bet on. It’s a good idea to focus on a single sport if you’re new to sports betting. From there, visit the different sportsbooks and check the odds they are offering. Once you’ve found the odds and betting options that look best to you, all you need to do is make an account, choose a payment method and make your first deposit.
At many online sportsbooks, you’ll also be given a welcome bonus. Collecting and using your welcome bonus, which is typically a deposit match or a free bet, is another important step as you get ready to start betting.
Reading the odds
Learning to read the odds is a very important step towards placing smart bets. If you can’t tell if -200 or +200 is a better bet, or you don’t know whether you want to place a spread bet, a single bet or a prop bet, then you won’t be able to place a bet that makes sense.
The most basic thing to know about reading betting odds is that there are three different ways of writing odds: fractional, decimal and money line. Fractional odds are most common in the United Kingdom and money line odds are usually found in America. Money line odds are common to see in Canada since most sports leagues, such as the MLB, NFL, MLS and NHL, are cross-border leagues.
With money line odds, the +/- indicate how likely the bookmakers think a team’s chances are. A low negative, such as -100, indicates a team has very high odds of winning. On the other end of the spectrum, a team with +1000 odds is considered a major underdog.
The legal betting age in Ontario is 19 years old.
Mobile betting is one of the most popular ways to place bets since it is so convenient and can be done on the go. Placing bets from your mobile phone is legal across Canada, with the exception of Saskatchewan. You can even phone in bets instead of using a betting app in some cases.
Within provincial borders
Single-event sports betting is now legal in almost every province. Both Manitoba and Quebec also allow sports betting, however, in Manitoba, you only need to be 18 years old to place a bet. There is little reason to travel to other provinces to bet since Ontario has so many options for online sports betting.
What else can you bet on in Ontario?
Alongside major sports, you can also bet on horse racing in Ontario. Horse racing is regulated at the federal level, so it has been legal for much longer than any other kind of sports betting.
Online sports betting sites – Best legal sportsbooks in 2022
Ontario has the most sportsbook options of any province. There are 26 sportsbooks that are already approved to operate, and many others have applied and are being considered. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission oversees all of them, which adds an extra layer of protection.
The best betting sites in Ontario are DraftKings, FanDuel, bet365, BetRivers and PointsBet. All these brands are international brands with great reputations. The province’s sportsbook is Proline.
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