One of the most vibrant betting scenes in the world is certainly the Canadian one. While much of the world has shunned and stayed away from online gambling, the Canadians have embraced it and now benefit from one of the most developed betting infrastructures out there. Many sportsbooks offer their services to the Canadian populace and the increase in competition between the different gambling websites has also increased the quality of their services, all to the benefit of local punters.
Here, we will explore everything you need to know about the Canadian betting websites, including the legal aspects, popular betting markets, promotional incentives, commonly used odds and much more.
Legality and Regulation of Sports Betting in Canada
Despite the presence of a healthy betting scene, the legal aspect of gambling in Canada is not as clear cut as that in other countries. In fact, gambling regulations in Canada have a history of drastic changes every few decades starting from the outright ban in the late 1890s. Since then, the government has made amendments multiple times and in the early 1990s, the federal government allowed the individual provinces to have a larger say in their affairs.
As it currently stands, each province sets its own laws regarding regulations, the permitted forms of sports betting, bet types and the legal gambling age. As you can imagine, the specifics vary quite distinctly from province to province. However, one parallel can be drawn for all of them which is that each province runs its own monopoly on gambling, with some allowing a few licensed brands to operate and be based on Canadian soil. Private individuals and companies are prohibited from running their own gambling business, for the most part.
An interesting observation in Canadian gambling law is that while each province bans gambling operations to be based on their jurisdictions, they do not prohibit punters from accessing betting websites based in other countries or territories. It is a bizarre situation where it is not strictly legal, but not illegal at the same time. As a result, Canadian bettors can satisfy their gambling needs simply by visiting a non-Canadian website. This is fully understood and tolerated by the provinces and there is no recourse for individuals who do so. This has allowed the Canadian betting scene to thrive and many companies have shifted their efforts towards the Canadian market.
While most Canadian provinces restrict and limit the number of gambling operations within their jurisdictions, one legal entity has gone in the opposite direction. We are, of course, referring to the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. Back in the late 90s when the federal government loosed the gambling laws in the country, Kahnawake chose to embrace the betting industry and set up the Kahnawake Gambling Commission. This is the only institution in Canada which freely accepts, regulates and licenses gambling operations. For almost 20 years the KGC has allowed companies to run their gambling business within the borders of Canada and as of this writing, hundreds of betting websites, including sportsbooks, casino, bingo and poker, are based in the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. Since this territory is mostly independent of the federal government and the provinces, it can freely see to its affairs insofar as gambling is concerned.
Canada Sporting Events Coverage and Markets
The Canadian sports betting scene is one of the most active in the world and by all accounts, it is still growing on a yearly basis. There are many different sports that Canadian bettors follow and below, we will outline some of the most popular betting markets at Canadian sportsbooks.
The National Basketball Association has always been a popular league and a very active betting scene has formed around it. Every week thousands of punters go online to place a bet on their favorite teams and the operators are more than willing to satisfy the demand. Moreover, since Canada also has a team in the NBA – the Toronto Raptors – it is easy to imagine that a lot of Canadians would be interested in such matches.
The National Hockey League also enjoy significant popularity among the Canadian gambling scene. Unlike the in the NBA, where Canada boasts a single team, the NHL features 7 different Canadian lineups. Moreover, the League itself was established in Quebec back in 1917. As you can probably imagine, Canadians are quite interested in following the league and showing their support for their favorite teams.
Major League Baseball is not only limited to the United States, as one might wrongfully believe. Much like in the NBA, there is a Canadian team in the league – the Toronto Blue Jays – performing the East Division. The MLB is one of North America’s longest-running sports leagues, even if it featured different names over the years. As a result, it is deeply rooted in the hearts of people and millions of viewers tune in to watch the games and place bets.
Football is one of the largest sports in the world and one of the most popular in Canada. While the Canadian Football League is not the most well-known in the world, Canadians are certainly hyped about the matches and will often log on to their favorite online sportsbook to put down money on their favorite team. Of course, many punters also follow off-shore leagues, such as the England Premier League or the Eurocup, proving that there is a lot of interest in this sport.
Popular Odds Format in Canada
There are several different odds types that you will find at online gambling websites. It is important to become familiar with the most popular types, considering that the odds indicate how worthwhile a wager is. Below, we have listed the three most popular odds types in the world and have also provided explanations as to how to read them and what the numbers mean.
Decimal odds are some of the most popular in the world and Canadian gamblers certainly have taken a liking to them, much like most residents of former British colonies. Decimal odds are quite simple to read and understand, so much so that they are the default in many betting websites. They are written with a colon (;) and are read as ‘X to Z’. For example:
- Toronto Raptors: 1.4:1
- Indiana Pacers: 2.3:1
There is a lot of information that you can gain from these two short lines. To begin with, the lower odds always indicate the team that is more likely to win the match. Similarly, the higher odds represent the underdog and with higher risk come larger rewards. As for the payout, the numbers indicate the net balance after the bet is settled. For example, if you place $100 on the Toronto Raptors and win, then you will receive $140 as winnings – $100 being the original stake and $40 as profit.
Fractional odds are mostly limited to the United Kingdom and Ireland but they are supported by many online sportsbooks and are the preferred type for many punters all over the world. Unlike decimal odds, the fractional type is written with a slash (/) or a dash (-), for example:
- Redskins: 2.5/5 or 2.5-5
- Cardinals: 5/3 or 5-3
Unlike decimal odds, fractional odds only indicate the profit that you stand to gain from placing a bet. So for example, if you bet $100 on the Redskins and win, then you will receive $100 as your original stake and $50 in profit, for a net balance of $150. Furthermore, the team with the better odds indicates the underdog in the matchup.
American odds are the third and final type that we will feature on this list and also the one that you will encounter the least. While supported at most sportsbooks, the default type is almost always decimal or fractional. Unless you are registered at a US-based website, then you will likely not have a need for this type. But then again, knowledge is always a benefit.
Unlike the previous two types, American odds indicate the amount of money that you stand to win from betting $100 or how much you would need to wager to win $100. For example:
- Saints: -200
- Falcons: +180
You will have surely noticed the plus (+) and minus (-) symbols feature behind each number. The plus (+) is used to indicate the underdog in the situation and denotes that a $100 bet on the Falcons would yield $180 in profit. On the other hand, the minus (-) shows which team is favored to win the matchup and how much one would need to bet to win $100 in profit.
Payment Solutions for Sports Bettors from Canada
When you join an online sports betting website you will quickly notice that there is no option to deposit in physical cash. This is logical as the sportsbook only exists in the realm of the Internet. Therefore, you will need an alternative method of funding your balance before you place a bet. As it happens, gambling websites support a wide range of online payment solutions that will no doubt be useful to you once you choose the sportsbook you want to frequent. Below, we have outlined some of the most popular payment services that you will be able to use at Canadian sportsbooks.
Credit cards are unrivaled in the sector of online payments and no Internet business can afford not to accept them. Similarly, you will be hard-pressed to find a sportsbook that does not accept deposits via credit or debit cards. There are particular advantages to funding your balance in this way, primarily in the speed of the transactions. Credit card deposits are processed instantly, giving you the opportunity to immediately start placing wagers with your money. Furthermore, credit cards are acquired relatively easy and so is their use. Most online sportsbooks accept payment via Visa and MasterCard, though some also support Maestro, Diners Club and American Express.
Another popular payment solution in the realm of online gambling are the so-called electronic wallets, name eWallets for short. These payment solutions are quite convenient and give users full control of their money. You can easily transact and receive cash with only a few clicks. Deposits made via eWallet go through immediately, while withdrawals are some of the fastest in the industry, being processed in about an hour after the sportsbook issue them. The most commonly used eWallets in the online gambling industry are Skrill, Neteller, and PayPal, though other services such as WebMoney and EntroPay are also supported
If you would like to move the funds directly from your bank account to your sportsbook balance, then you can also consider using an online banking service. These come in a wide variety as they are mostly region-based but the most popular are supported by many sportsbooks. You can always rely on online banking to process your payment instantly and to do so in a secure manner. Withdrawals are also often possible, usually taking a few days at most to clear. As far as Canadian customers are concerned, popular online banking methods include Interac Online, InstaDebit, Instant Banking by Citadel, iDeal, iDebit and more.
The final method worth our attention right now are the prepaid services. There are many of them supported in the online gambling industry, though individual websites tend to support only a few at most. Prepaid services are liked due to the fact that they offer instant deposits, made with relative anonymity. While this is a definite benefit, the downside comes in the fact that prepaid methods cannot process withdrawals most of the time. In such scenarios, users have to rely on bank transfers to receive their winnings. Popular prepaid methods in Canada include Paysafecard, ecoCard, Neosurf and more.
Bonuses and Rewards for Canada Sports Bettors
One of the defining aspects of the online sports betting industry is the numerous promotions offered to users in nearly every step of the way. Often, from the moment that a customer opens an account to the time that they choose to abandon a given website and move on to another, they are treated to a variety of different promotional incentives. Since many sportsbooks feature mostly the same service, with only small changes here and there, what they can offer customers outside of the traditional betting markets is how these websites compete with each other. The sportsbook that offers the most worthwhile rewards will also be the one to draw in a larger number of punters. This way, everyone wins, since the websites retain an active user base, while punters receive some sort of value for choosing that website.
As to the type of bonuses one can expect to receive at an online sportsbook, you will find that every kind is worthwhile in its own way. Deposit matches are the most common in today’s market and punters get more to bet on their favorite teams and players. Online sportsbooks will match the first deposit of a customer up to a certain sum and bettors can use the bonus funds to place wagers. Of course, there are certain terms and conditions that have to be met before this money can be cash in. A turnover requirement is a given, demanding that gamblers wager a given amount before the bonus funds become cashable. This can range anywhere between 3 to 10 times the value of the bonus and it has to be fulfilled within a designated time frame. Moreover, there is often a limit on the amount that you can bet at once and minimum odds at which you have to do so.
Free bets are another popular promotion type at present-day online sportsbooks. As you can already imagine, punters are given the opportunity to place a bet free of charge. The size of the free bet is often predetermined, often in the $5 – $25 range. What is interesting about this promotion type is that punters are often allowed the keep the winnings from these bets without the need to meet any additional requirements. Though, their bet still needs to be at certain minimum odds or greater. The specific bet type will more often than not depend on the nature of the promotion, with some sportsbook offering them on basketball, horse racing, football or other sports.
The third and final common promotion type is that cashback. As you already know, sports betting is an inherently risky activity and there is always the possibility that your bet will lose, no matter how statistically unlikely that outcome is. In such cases, sportsbooks give you the opportunity to claim back some of what you lost. They will return your bet up to a certain amount, either as a free bet or as bonus funds, as outlined above. You will have to fulfill the necessary conditions to see some sort of return from this promotion, but it is a worthwhile one nonetheless.
Customer Support at Canada Sports Betting Sites
Customer support is a major aspect of any given gambling website and punters often demand much from the sportsbooks they frequent. The sportsbook also put in a lot of effort in building up their customer service departments, making sure that punters have an excellent experience at their favorite brands. You will often find support teams standing-by and working around the clock to ensure that all problems are resolved and questions are answered in a timely manner.
Users have several methods of contacting the support staff when the need arises. Email is the most commonly featured means of contact and you will hardly find a sportsbook that does not communicate via email. The downside of this method is that agents can be slow in their responses, with most reaching back to the users within the following 24 hours.
The alternative method available in the vast majority of sportsbooks is live chat. This system allows customers to communicate in real time with the support staff and to receive immediate attention. Live chat is preferred over other forms of communication due to the fact that connecting to an agent happens in seconds and that they remain with the punter until the issue is solved.
Last but not least, punters also have the option of dialing the sportsbook from their personal phone. This method is not as widespread as the other two and only particular websites support this means of communication. Moreover, those who do may only make it available to designated hours of the day. In most cases, punters prefer the live chat option over phone calls.