Typically, Canadians like the same sports as their counterparts across the border in the United States so that involves a keen interest in Ice Hockey and American Football in particular. Baseball and Basketball are also followed extensively while soccer is also a growth sport with Canadian teams competing in North America’s Major League.
What Makes a Great Canadian Bookmaker?
Canadian betting sites looking to make inroads with the betting public there will therefore have to keep this in mind as the community will demand extensive coverage and plenty of betting markets on these individual sports.
In addition, there may be some limited interest in sports that are generically popular across the world such as horse racing, golf and tennis but in general, they like to focus on their core events.
Best Sports Betting Sites in Canada
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As for the choice of Canadian sportsbooks, that’s obviously down to the individual but there are many familiar and established industry names who are Canadian-friendly. Intertops were the first betting site to officially trade online, having first opened their virtual doors in 1996 and they are happy to accept any betting customer from this part of North America.
Joining them are the likes of Bodog, SportInteraction, BetOnline, William Hill and newcomers such PowerPlay so there you have a good mix of betting operators. Some, like BetOnline have a main focus on North American sports and markets while for others, this is just part of their wider services.
Customers who can place a bet in this country are free to choose but they will look for certain qualities. A welcome bonus is a nice way to start a relationship with your bookie and hopefully there will be ongoing betting promotions further down the line.
Overall value for money is equally important so punters in Canada will want to see strong betting odds, particularly in betting markets for those popular sports that we mentioned above. Anyone looking to succeed here needs to address these points; it’s not enough just to trade here and hope that the business will come in just because you are offering a rare outlet for Canadian punters.
Betting in Canada
Like many countries, Canada’s attitude to gambling was severely tested when the internet came along and the rise in online betting and betting sites in Canada began. Traditionally, this was a nation opposed to the process and while certain laws regulating sport betting in Canada were relaxed from 1970 onwards, it remained extremely difficult to place a bet if you were a Canadian citizen.
It’s much easier now in the digital age and it is estimated that Canadians will stake some 15 Billion Dollars a year through those channels. The law makes it clear that they cannot stake on a single event – only multiples with three events are strictly permissible – but this hasn’t stopped the average citizen from enjoying this pastime.
Present Day Rules
From 1985 onwards, the government gave individual provinces the choice of whether to allow an organisation to establish a gambling operation in that region. Certain provinces relaxed the laws to allow casinos to be created but of course, the internet provides something of a legal grey area.
No online betting operator has to obtain a license in Canada in order to trade here so that can pose a problem to those provinces to wish to keep things heavily regulated. Effectively, the law simply states that any business based in the country that wants to trade in gambling must have an official government license. Therefore, a sportsbook who is based outside of the country and licensed in Malta, Isle of Man, Curacao and in other parts of the world is effectively circumnavigating that restriction.
Sports betting sites that are Canadian friendly will commonly originate from Curacao or possibly the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. It’s not a country that everyone embraces however due to the government’s attitude and there are a number of popular bookies, online sportsbooks who won’t trade here. You may also find that if a betting operator has opened their doors to Canadian business, there may be some exclusions in terms of the promotions that are offered to betting customers. Along with other countries, Canadian players may well be ineligible for some betting promos so do check the relevant offer in order to be completely certain.
History of Gambling in Canada
Prior to 1970, the act of gambling on any sporting event or slot, cards, table game was widely outlawed in Canada. Inevitably, the betting practice was driven underground so the government finally decided to give individual provinces the right to choose whether they would allow betting sites to trade officially.
The applicable law here is the Criminal Code and this was initially relaxed in 1970, but it wasn’t until 1985 that provinces were able to choose whether to allow gambling across their region. From this point onwards, we saw a limited number of casinos being built while state lotteries also began to appear on a sporadic basis.
That law still applies and nothing has really changed since the internet boom. If a betting operator is licensed outside of Canada then the reality is that they can freely trade and offer betting services to its citizens, even if some sites have been slow to get involved with these markets.
There are certain restrictions in terms of the number of events a Canadian can bet on and while single stakes are frowned upon, it is permissible to make a parlay stake involving three or more events. Overall, the attitude displayed by the government is an accepting one: they know that they cannot stop the rise of betting sites in Canada and they cannot stop their citizens from making a bet but they are looking to promote responsible play.
In turn, Canadian bookmakers must be aware of certain rules but in general they can freely trade here. In order to succeed they should be looking to cater for this very specific audience who favour a fairly restricted range of sports but if the company can get things right for this market, there is a lot of betting business to be done.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Canadian Betting Sites Have Mobile Apps?
There is no definitive answer to that question but in the modern day, the vast majority of Canadian bookmakers should have a mobile app. It offers flexibility and convenience for the account holder and as a byproduct of that service, the operators who publish apps will naturally increase their customer base.
All of our recommended sportsbooks will have apps for you to use and you should find that these are available for both iPhone and Android devices. To download an app onto an iPhone, you simply have to head to the store and type the name of your chosen sportsbook into the search box. Click on the ‘get’ button and this should be set up on your device in just a few seconds.
With Android phones, it should be a case of heading to the operator’s mobile website and completing a download from that point. Alternatively, they may provide an OCR code which you simply scan.
No matter what device you have, this should be a quick and simple process taking up no more than a few minutes of your time. The apps should also be free and carry the same functionality as the main website. Once installed, you now have the flexibility and freedom to place a bet, no matter where you happen to be.
What Payment Methods Are Available For Canadian Bettors?
The exact list of deposit and withdrawal options will vary depending on which sportsbook you are using but there are certain minimum methods that all operators should provide. Those minimums are VISA and Mastercard and you should be able to access these options at the very least.
Most operators will also include bank transfers in that package and while that should allow most punters to get on board, a growing number of customers will demand more payment methods.
Those with the widest choice of options tend to be based in Canada or the USA. If we take Sports Interaction as an example, we find that there is a host of alternative methods including iDebit, Instadebit, PaySafeCard, EcoPayz, Neosurf and MuchBetter. The presence of IDebit and Instadebit is important because these are Canadian companies and it’s very easy for Canadian nationals to sign up for an account.
If we look at other North American companies such as BetOnline, 5Dimes and Bodog, the situation is quite similar although iDebit and Instadebit may not be so accessible outside of Canada.
When we move further afield and consider other global brands, there are many that extend their roster to include Skrill and Neteller. Outside of North America, these are the two most popular eWallet providers for betting companies and they are very common amongst those brands who are located overseas.
On occasions, you will find PayPal listed as a deposit and withdrawal option. This is the world’s biggest eWallet provider but they don’t tie in with every gambling operator on the net so they only tend to be attached to the biggest and most established betting companies.
The full list of payment methods should be listed at the bottom of a bookmaker’s homepage and they may also have a separate section showcasing them in full. If you are in any doubt as to what is available, simply fire over a question to customer support.
Is Online Betting Legal In Canada And Is It Safe And Secure?
This is perhaps the most common question that Canadian punters like to ask. We all know that betting is highly regulated inside Canada but is the practise actually legal? The short answer is yes, providing that you are of legal gambling age and that the operator in question is actually licensed to trade here.
Operators who are actually based in Canada have to adhere to very strict licensing and regulation rules and that’s why there are relatively few of them. For those companies who are based overseas, those restrictions aren’t quite so tight. Not all betting sites in the world opens their doors to Canadian customers but there are many who work hard to get a presence here. Once again, as long as they are registered and you are of legal gambling age, you are OK to play.
Safety and Security is another question so read up on the company’s steps to make sure your personal and financial details are safeguarded. Once again, there should be a separate section detailing these measures in full but if you are in any doubt, you can fire over a question to customer support service.
What Are The Most Popular Betting Events In Canada?
Canada may not be seen as the centre of the sporting universe but there is plenty going on here for locals to enjoy. The country has teams taking part in some of North America’s biggest divisions and because of that, they will always fall under the global radar.
Canada provides competitors in Major League Soccer, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association and all of those sports are popular among the nation’s betting community. There may not be any representatives in the NFL but Canada has a thriving equivalent in the Canadian Football League – CFL.
Winter Sports is another thriving sport inside the country, both for recreational skiers and those who are good enough to take it up professionally. Not all bookmakers provide a wide range of winter sports markets but if you follow our list of recommended operators then you should be fine.
Horse racing is hugely popular in Canada and there are a number of top class events taking place across the calendar year. For horses, jockeys and trainers, the pinnacle is the Canadian Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing which combines the Queens Plate, the Prince of Wales’ Stakes and the Breeders’ Stakes.
Elsewhere, the Canadian Open Golf Championship is now starting to attract the best players in the world and the same can be said for tennis’ equivalent. Rugby and Cricket are also growing in popularity as Canada starts to make more of an impact on the global stage.
In short, there are plenty of markets to enjoy here and lots to focus on for the Canadian betting community.