Canada’s most well-known province, and home to the country’s capital, is Ontario.
You may be familiar with Toronto or Ottawa - the province has the largest population in Canada, and very well known sports teams reside in these cities. Toronto is home to some of Canada’s only professional sports teams in some pro leagues, like the Toronto Blue Jays of the MLB and Toronto Raptors of the NBA. They also host 2 NHL teams and an MLS team.
When it comes to Ontario sports betting, you really only have one province-regulated option, and of course - offshore sportsbooks.
You would think, with such a huge population and booming sports market, that Ontario would have a fantastic betting platform for sports bettors to take advantage of. They actually use Pro-Line, the same software as the Atlantic provinces use, who don’t even have a single professional sports team.
Pro-Line suffers from the same issues that all other Canadian sports betting platforms deal with: no single-game wagers, sub-par odds, and fewer betting options. While we should say, it’s a blessing that there are many forms of sports betting in Canada, as many of their southern neighbors in the U.S. would be thankful to be able to bet on sports at all.
Canada is one of those fortunate places that does have legal sports betting run by local lotteries, and allows parlay betting only - they do not allow single-game wagers in Canada. The issue is with the Criminal Code of Canada, banning single-game wagering. This creates a bit of a hurdle for sports betting.
When betting in Ontario, you have two options that are both run by the Ontario Lottery Gaming Commission (OLG): in-person and online. When you walk into any casino, convenience store, grocery store, gas station - anywhere you are able to buy a lottery ticket, you can bet on sports by filling out your bet slip and taking it to the cashier.
A sports betting platform is run by the lawmakers and regulators can provide some sort of comfort as you aren’t worried about it not being safe or secure, or the website being unsavory, but that also means stricter rules and limitations that could prevent you from making smart betting decisions.
With plenty of hometown talent and enough people to pack stadiums, you’d think there would be more of a push to make better sports betting products than Pro-Line. Ontario doesn’t have the worst sports betting platform in Canada, but to be honest, none of them are even close to comparable to an offshore sportsbook.
Ontario Sports Betting Laws
In the Gaming Control Act of 1992, gambling regulation and ruling was awarded to the OLG, which opened up an avenue for the first casino to be built in Ontario. The Gaming Control Act included sports betting, with one rule: there will be no single-game wagers to be placed at any licensed sports betting venue in Canada.
When it comes to offshore betting, there are no technical rules that prohibit sports bettors from betting on sports at offshore online sportsbooks. The laws only prohibit betting parlors or houses to be run within the province. There is always a risk betting offshore, as you have no protection if you wind up depositing money at a sketchy sportsbook.
Most of the bigger online sportsbooks are safe and secure, so as long as you stick to the popular, well-known names you will be fine.
Ontario Betting Venues
While there aren’t any venues dedicated to sports betting as you’d find in Las Vegas, Ontario casinos are plentiful, and managed by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation as well - so there is potential that you could see sports betting lounges added to casinos in the near future.
The biggest and most popular betting locations in Ontario:
- OLG Casino Thunder Bay
- OLG Casino Thousand Islands
- OLG Casino Point Edward
- Great Blue Heron Casino
- OLG Casino Sault Ste- Marie
- OLG Casino Brantford
- Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort
- Caesars Windsor
- Niagara Casino
Proline sports betting is the predominant wagering method in the Ontario region. Point Spread, Pro Picks, and self-titled Proline, are the three main betting options offered. While hockey wagering is King in Canada, USA and Canadian professional football, American college football and basketball, along with European soccer and pro baseball are also offered. Single and two bet wagering is not available in Ontario as all valid betting slips must have at least three selections.
Sports Select betting falls under the Pro Line group of sports betting games that are furnished by the Ontario Government. Sports Select tickets can be purchased through lottery centers that are located throughout the province. From the local corner store, to land based Casino and Horse betting venues, the Pro Line version of Sports Select is very easy to access. Though not yet equipped for live online betting, the www.olg.ca website provides the daily odds for a variety of seasonal sporting events.
OLG’s Pro-Line Stadium
Pro-Line Stadium was founded in 1992, around the time of the Gaming Control Act, and multi-leg wagers have been accepted in OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming) locations ever since. It’s since moved online as well, offering wagers through the OLG website. Pro-Line offers two to eight leg bets (also known as parlay wagers) which raises the stakes of the bets and also the risk and can result in huge payouts if all of your predictions are correct.
Pro-Line recently updated their offering from simple moneyline, totals, and spread wagering types, to include more variety. You can mix and match different betting types on your Pro-Line bet slip, you just can’t bet on the same game in two different betting styles.
The downside to Pro-Line is their odds. They force you to place parlay wagers, and even then, their odds just are not nearly as competitive as an offshore sportsbook. You could create a four-game parlay on Pro-Line with a $20 wager, only to payout $60 but you could create that exact parlay on a sports betting site like Bet365 or Bodog and the payout would be $85.
Another issue with Pro-Line falls in line with the rest of the country. Betting on single games is a huge part of any sports bettor’s gambling strategy and some nights the multi-leg bet slip is just too risky. If you don’t have the option to just bet on one game, you are missing out big time on the true sports betting experience.
While Pro-Line has improved over the past few years and has added more betting options and sports, like combat sports, for example, it still just can’t compete with the variety that offshore sportsbooks have.
Pro-Line recently added bonuses and promotions to their offering. They have added some bonuses where you can earn small $5 tokens for betting, which is nothing compared to big bonuses you could get at offshore sportsbooks.
Most sportsbooks offer great sign-up bonuses and promotional offers for their customers. Bonuses are very common at the top sportsbooks and online casinos to keep their players happy. Many offer upwards of $200 in sign-up bonuses to their customers once they make their first deposit.
Top Online Sportsbooks for Betting on Sports in Ontario
While there is a great province-run sportsbook option available in Ontario that is regulated by Ontario Lottery and Gaming, we can’t help but focus on the single-game wagering hurdle. It is a huge issue for some sports bettors who want to be able to place these single bets. This explains why offshore online sportsbooks are still quite popular amongst Ontario residents, even the founder of Bodog is from Ontario!
Offshore sportsbooks aren’t as intimidating as you’d think, and many have great bonuses that would get you off to a great start if you’re just starting out. They are home to a huge variety of sports betting options, and if you’re planning to bet on not so popular games like cricket or Aussie Rules football, you can do so.
There are some great betting options that are available to Ontario residents. You just have to find the one that fits your specific needs. Though, if you plan to bet parlays each and every game or week, Pro-Line could be a great option for you and your betting strategy, even if you don’t get the better odds than you would offshore!