Sports fans, listen up. The Canadian sports betting industry is alive and thriving, with more and more sportsbook options becoming available. Yet choosing the best sites in Canada that offer online sportsbooks can be daunting. There are plenty of factors to weigh in when choosing the perfect sports betting site. And we will get to that a bit later on. First, let’s start from the beginning and cover the basics. For those new to sports betting with real money, consider this page your how-to guide as well as an updated list of the best sports betting sites Canada has to offer.
Here at Bonusninja, we make it our mission to find you the most trusted Canadian sports betting sites. This is no easy task, as our criteria are stringent. Our expert bettors use their vast industry experience to seek out the best online sports betting in Canada and provide valuable resources in bite-sized bits.
So let’s get to it.
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What is a Canadian Sportsbook?
For anyone brand new to sports betting, it’s important to understand what they are, and how they work.
A sportsbook is a company that accepts wagers placed on sporting events and offers certain conditions that constitute a winning bet. These “rules” come in the form of lines and odds that give the bettor a variety of opportunities to win. The more unlikely the result, the higher the odds, and the more you can win. The more likely the result, the lower the odds is given by the sportsbook.
The best sportsbooks have expanded to offer much more than just sporting events. Some offer betting on political events, horse races, and other heavily viewed media events. As the industry continues to grow, there are more and more events being offered to bettors.
So what are the most popular sports Canadians are betting on? Well, these are the top five:
Not a surprise to any of us! Ice Hockey is Canada’s sport, and also provides a long season (10 months) where wagers can be made. Canadians take a lot of pride in their hockey, and loyalty runs deep. The sport is also set up perfectly for sports betting. It has a long regular season with competitive conference play, as well as an extended playoff schedule that sees seven-game series all the way to the finals. This style of playoff presents ample opportunity for sports betting, and lots of creative wagers are made.
Even though Canada currently is only able to host one NBA team, basketball is still a very popular sport across the country. After the 2019 Toronto Raptors title win, basketball truly won the hearts of fans across the country. This increased interest has certainly been good for the sports betting industry in Canada, and the continued success of the basketball programs will only help this grow.
Canada has previously hosted multiple franchise teams that have subsequently moved to the US market (Vancouver Grizzlies being the most famous), but if the interest grows again there could be another Canadian NBA team in the future.
Canadians have two options for sports betting in football. The most popular is the big boy NFL industry bets which comprise a large and lucrative sports betting niche. Many Canadian bettors follow the NFL and make wagers on this American market sport.
However, some Canadians prefer to support their national league, the CFL. While wagers and betting options are more limited in this league, there is still plenty of fun to be had.
Outside of NFL and CFL sports betting, there is also a smaller demand for American college football. In the US, college football is a huge industry, and Canadians have the opportunity to follow and bet on these young and energetic programs.
For being a relatively neutral and non-violent country, Canadians love their UFC. The sport has continued to grow in popularity, with record-breaking attendance every time the major cities host an event.
UFC and MMA fights continue to provide dynamic sports betting opportunities. It’s a sport that can change quickly, providing the “anything can happen” mentality regardless of the first few rounds. The thrill of the fight has many Canadians hooked, and the top betting sites in Canada are sure to have the UFC as one of their popular offerings.
If you’re a sports bettor that is interested in exploring new betting opportunities, keep an eye on the soccer market in Canada. With a quickly growing popularity starting on the west coast, soccer is gaining a lot of traction in the market. Canada currently has three major league soccer teams, and game attendance is constantly growing.
How do Canadian Sportsbooks Operate
So what’s happening in Canada at the moment, and how do these sportsbooks operate?
According to experts, the Canadian sports betting industry is worth around $11 Billion dollars and is expected to double in the next five years. The Canadian sports betting industry has a history of black and grey areas, with provincial governments making it difficult for companies to legally operate.
Because of these tough restrictions, Canadians have been spending billions of dollars on single-sport event betting often conducted by black market companies, or grey-area companies operating with offshore licensing.
However, as of August 27, 2021, the federal government has given more flexibility to provincial governments to handle single-event sports betting as they see fit. While it may take some time for the industry to reach its potential, the new law certainly paves the way for more legal bodies to regulate the industry. This not only provides an easier and more efficient way of monitoring and taxing these activities but will allow companies to offer more legal options to their bettors.
These new laws and updated rules could bring more money back into Canada that is otherwise being given to offshore companies.
Canadian sportsbooks operate very simply.
The best betting sites in Canada provide a place for sports fans to make wagers on sporting events. They offer a wide variety of sporting events along with a wide variety of wagering options. While single-sport event betting is not allowed (yet), sportsbooks offer parlay betting with options on lines, spreads and totals. With the introduction of single event betting, we could see an explosion of sportsbooks usage in the country, and a shift from illegal sports betting to legal and safe betting.
Are Sportsbooks Legal?
Yes, Canada legalized sports betting in the early 1990s and has seen the industry grow in popularity. However, there have always been heavy restrictions on the Canadian sports betting industry, especially in comparison to the same industry in the US. Due to these limitations, bettors have been led offshore to spend money on black market or grey area betting options.
After heavy pressure by the federal government to enact a change and bring this offshore money back into the country, bill C-128 was passed in June 2021. This bill amendment provides provincial governments to allow single-event betting at their discretion, and issue new licenses.
Previously, Canadian bettors were only allowed to legally partake in parlay betting or multiple events on one wager. In many of these betting situations, if any of the individual events failed to occur, the entire wager was lost. This parlay betting strategy deterred many bettors, causing them to take their betting to offshore sportsbooks allowing for single event betting.
It’s important to understand that the new bill does not legalize single-event betting in Canada, but merely leaves the decision to each provincial government. Ontario and British Columbia were the first provinces to move forward on the opportunity, starting to promote single event sports offerings. Within each province, strict licensing policies prohibit a completely “free open market”, yet increased demand for sports betting services could see more diverse licensing opportunities.
Previously, online sportsbook betting was allowed in these six provinces, but only in a limited parlay betting capacity:
- Prince Edward Island
- British Columbia
- Nova Scotia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
What To Look Out for When Choosing a Sportsbook
Now that you have a better idea of what sportsbooks are legally available in Canada, it’s time to explore the features you should be looking for when making your sports betting choice. Here are some main factors to consider when choosing to look through the best sports betting sites in Canada.
If you are new to sports betting and want to have the greatest variety of choices, be sure to choose a sportsbook that gives you lots of options to choose from. If you’re a hockey fan, make sure to choose a Canadian betting site that has a heavy focus on the NHL. At the moment, Canadians have access to betting options with the following sports:
- Ice Hockey
- American Football (NFL)
- Canadian Football (CFL)
- Auto Racing
- Horse Racing
- UFC and MMA
On top of the variety of sports offered, the best sportsbooks should also have a wide variety of betting options available. Some of the common and fan favourite options are:
- Money Line Bets
- Parlay Bets
- Head-to-Head Bets
- Fixed Odds
- Outright Bets
- Spread Bets
Think a little bit about what you are willing to bet on, and ensure that the sportsbook you choose can offer you what you’re looking for.
Like any other online gambling operator, customer service is key to understanding whether or not you should trust the site. A reputable betting site should invest in customer support and provide access to resources for bettors who need it. Customers should be able to contact this support to get additional information about betting odds, bonuses and promotions. They should also be able to contact customer support if they feel like they are developing a gambling problem or making irresponsible gambling decisions.
There is nothing more important than being able to access your hard-earned money when you need it. That means getting paid your winnings quickly and efficiently.
When looking for the best online sports betting in Canada, make sure to take payout speed into consideration. Payout speed is not only about building trust with the operator, but also about gambling strategy. If players are moving from bet to bet, or game to game, it’s necessary to have access to their funds. If funds are not accessible, it means that players may be forced to go over budget or use money they otherwise would not have used.
Payout speed affects players' game strategy, builds trust with the operators, and ensures responsible gaming practices can be followed.
In addition to the speed of the payout, it is also important to determine which betting sites in Canada offer appropriate and practical payment methods. Some payment methods are better than others, and operators that offer varied methods often cover their customers' needs more effectively. Some of the most popular payment methods are listed below:
A larger percentage of online operators are now offering cryptocurrency as a viable payment method. With fast transaction speeds and almost negligible transfer rates, cryptocurrency is growing in popularity among sports betting.
Cryptocurrency payment also normally has much higher limits than other payment methods, making it more desirable to bettors placing large wagers, or moving money around more often.
We recommend looking for operators that have cryptocurrency as a payment option. Even if you don’t initially intend to use the option, it gives you the opportunity to do so in the future. Cryptocurrency is here to stay and will continue to play a large role in progressing the online gambling industry.
Second only to crypto, e-wallets offer the fastest and most secure payment options for sports bettors. These third-party services act as exchanges between personal banking institutions and operators. They provide safe and secure transfers and offer varying degrees of insurance on your money.
While e-wallets are fast and effective, they can often have widely varying transaction fees. Make sure to pay attention to these fees, as they can add up. Some of the major e-wallets used in Canada are Paypal, Neteller, iDebit and Skrill.
Debit and Credit Card
Even though debit and credit card payments are quickly going out of fashion, many sports betting operators still offer the option. This payment method is “old school” and for many provides a sense of comfort and security. However, the payment delay can be a few days to a week and can be impractical for bettors that need access to their funds.
Here at Bonusninja, customer safety and security comes first. This should also be the priority for any of the top betting sites in Canada. When choosing a betting site, make sure to research what sort of safety and security the operator provides. This comes in many forms, from secure information to proper resources. Operators should instill a sense of safety in their customers, and be clear and concise in their marketing efforts.
By using legitimate payment methods and a reputable operator, online gamers should be able to enjoy their sports better thoroughly and without concern.
Taking it one step further, sports bettors should make sure to check the legality of the site they are using. With limitations always being a part of the Canadian sports betting industry, many offshore companies who do not abide by Canadian legislation have moved in and created a black market.
Many of these offshore gaming companies operate in legal grey areas and should be avoided. If there is no legal obligation to the customer, it jeopardizes their safety.
Everybody likes a good incentive. When looking through the best betting sites in Canada, don't be afraid to take advantage of some of the great incentives that may be offered. Many sportsbooks offer free bets and big bonuses to try and bring bettors into their arena. These incentives are legitimate and are designed to entice people to use their services.
While incentives can be properly used, beware of bonuses that seem too good to be true. Many illegitimate operators use click-bait incentives that are often chock-full of finely printed terms and conditions. Always read the fine print to fully understand what you are signing up for.
Here at Bonusninja, that’s what we do best. We find the best betting bonuses and incentives and hand them to you on a silver platter.
Best lines and odds
There is no point making a bet if it doesn’t have enticing odds. All of the best sports betting sites in Canada can decide their own lines and odds, and it’s important to find sites that offer the most opportunity for their bettors.
If a site offers competitive odds, it means they are giving their customers the biggest bang for their buck.
How Does Bonusninja Review Sportsbooks?
Here at Bonusninja, we take many factors into play when determining which Canadian betting sites we recommend to our viewers. Our review process is quite strict, and we have no issues removing operators who do not adhere to our rigorous standards.
We also take pride in ensuring that our content is up to date, and we expect the same of our operating partners. As gamblers ourselves, we don’t recommend any sites that we ourselves would not place a bet on. This means that we only recommend sites that we would trust our money on, and can ensure our readers feel safe when making the same choice.
We review and update our sportsbook recommended lists based on the following criteria.
The Best Odds
We want our viewers to have the best chance of winning, and do everything we can to ensure we are providing the best operators with the best odds and lines. As these update, so does our list. Sports betting is fun, enjoyable and safe, but we also want to make sure we are giving our viewers the best odds.
Top Promotions and Incentives
The Canadian sports betting industry is competitive, and it is going to get a whole lot more competitive in the future. This means that operators will be offering promotions and incentives to bring in new bettors, and we intend to be the first ones there. By keeping up to date with new promotions, and maintaining good relationships with our operator partners, we can ensure that the promotions and incentives are delivered at warp speed.
While having great promotion and incentives is an important part of our recommendation process, they do not mean that we support illegitimate operators that offer great incentives. Only promotional offerings from legal and reputable operators will be featured on Bonusninja.
Operators that constantly offer quick and painless payouts tend to be higher on our list of the best online sports betting in Canada.
It is important for bettors to have easy access to their funds so they can place more bets and wagers without unnecessary delay. Not only does this make for a more enjoyable gaming experience, but it also allows players to build trust with the operators, stick to budgets, and act fast on research and information.
The sportsbooks that make sure to pay out winnings quickly and efficiently receive a higher recommendation on our site.
Sportsbooks are expected to have adequate customer support in order to educate their customers, respond to questions, and provide necessary resources in case of a problem. While we act as a middle ground between our customers and the operators, we prioritize operators with good customer service. This provides evidence for us as well that the operator has the best interest of the customer at heart.
Here at Bonusninja, we understand the implication of responsible gaming and make sure to only recommend operators who believe the same. By having properly trained customer service, the sports betting industry can ensure that players remain safe and supported. If there is ever a question of a hobby becoming a bad habit, operators are expected to be able to provide support for those seeking it.
We Love Sports Betting
Simply put, we here at Bonusninja love to bet on sports. Our passion for the industry allows us to offer genuine advice for our customers, and expert recommendations for those wanting to get the best odds and lines. We don’t recommend sites that we would not bet on ourselves, and we ensure our partner relationships are solid.
How Do You Start Using Sportsbooks?
After you have done the proper research on which online sportsbook is best for you, it’s time to sign up and get started.
Normally, sportsbooks will ask for the following information off the bat:
- Full Name
- Email Address
- Physical Address
- Date of Birth
- Phone Number
Following the initial confirmation, you may be asked to provide additional information confirming your identity. The necessary documents will differ based on location and local legislation. It is not uncommon for these documents to only be required for withdrawal of funds, not a deposit. So make sure to understand what documents are required for withdrawal. before you make a deposit.
After you sign up, it’s time to get betting. For those brand new to sports betting, make sure to study up on some of the most common terms and bets. This will help you navigate the sportsbook much easier, and allow you to enjoy the experience much more.
To give you a bit of a heads start, we will cover the basics.
Introduction to Betting Odds
When placing bets on sporting events, you will most commonly come on the odds that you are given. This determines how much you can win from your wager. There are various ways that odds are presented in online sports betting.
Fractional odds are one of the most common ways of presenting wagers, so sports bettors may see them on various sportsbooks. The fraction format indicates how much a player has to wager in order to win a certain amount. The bottom number (denominator) is the amount you need to wager, and the top number (numerator) is the amount to win in addition to your initial stake.
A $20 bet made with a 5/2 fractional odds would see a win produce 20*(5/2) = $50 + $20 initial stake = $70.
This is another common way odds are presented, and are also sometimes referred to as US odds or moneyline odds. This type of system is based on wagering $100 on a given bet.
If a number has a (-) in front of it, this means that the bet is a favorite. The number following the (-) sign is the amount you need to wager in order to win $100.
The Canucks are the favourite at -120 odds. This means that a player must wager $120 in order to win $100. If the Canucks win (which is expected with these odds), the player receives the initial stake ($120) + the winnings ($100) for a total payout of $220.
If a number has a (+) in front of it, it means they are the underdog. You must wager $100 in order to try to win these odds.
If the Canucks are the underdog at +300 odds, a player can wager $100 to potentially win $400 (initial stake of $100 + payout of $300). There is a greater risk in this, as the higher the odds, the less likely the underdog is to win.
Decimal odds are the easiest way to present odds and are commonly used in Canada. The decimal number given represents the amount a player can win on every $1 they wager.
The Canucks have a decimal odds of 3.00 in their game against the Minnesota Wild, who have a decimal odds of 1.20. From these numbers, it is indicated that the Canucks are the underdogs. If a bet of $100 is placed on the Canucks to win and they do, the player will win ($100*3.00) = $300. This includes their initial wager.
How Do Sportsbooks Set Lines?
The general idea of setting lines of odds is to keep the balance neutral. This means that the sportsbook is trying to balance wagers on each side of the bet to not create a massive loss. The sportsbooks that offer more attractive lines and odds could be taking a risk, but in doing so are attracting more bettors.
The criteria for setting lines and odds are not finite and differ between sportsbooks. If you want an edge as a bettor, keeping an eye on the lines and looking for an unbalanced discrepancy is the way to go.
For the average sports bettor, you can trust that many sportsbooks over good to great odds and lines in order to encourage wagers. You may find that some sportsbooks specialize in certain leagues or sports and offer better lines. This could be a result of their experience in the industry or their understanding of the wagers that might come in.
How Do Sportsbooks Work?
Sportsbooks offer an opportunity for sports fans to bet on various outcomes of a sporting event. From head-to-head results to score spreads, there are plenty of factors that come into play.
A good sportsbook will offer a variety of wagers to keep bettors engaged. They will also look to balance the spread to avoid risking losing money. After all, when they pay out a winner, that comes from the sportsbooks funds.
Sportsbooks are quickly expanding into Canada, and are beginning to offer sports betting on many different sports. The NFL remains the most popular league for sports betting, but other leagues (NHL, MLB, UFC) are becoming more and more common.
Regardless of your interest, there is probably a sportsbook on our list that can take care of your sports betting preferences.
How Do Sportsbooks Make Money?
A sportsbook makes money by taking a commission on the losing bets. This is called a vigorish (or Vig).
This means that sportsbooks are trying to balance the wagers on both sides of the outcome, to minimize their risk while still cashing in a commission profit, the Vig.
For many sportsbooks, it is hard to balance the wagers on both sides in certain matches. In this case, sportsbooks are forced to either give very poor odds or to diversify into many other sports and leave room for one-sided matchups to still be bet on.
Are Sportsbooks Legal In Canada?
Sportsbooks are legal in Canada and have been since the 1990s. However, up until August of 2021, only parlay bets were allowed with Canadian sportsbooks. This meant that bettors could not bet on a single outcome event, such as who wins, or by how much exactly.
With the federal government giving the provincial governments the final say in single event betting in August 2021, it opened the door to sports betting opportunities.
Prior to this amendment, illegal single-event sports betting was becoming more and more popular, being offered by various sites and companies that operated offshore, or in legal grey areas. By making the necessary changes to the regulations, Canada hopes to regulate the sports betting industry, making it safer, legal and taxable.
Where are Sportsbooks Legal?
Sportsbooks have been legal in dozens of countries around the world for many years. In countries such as Australia and the US, sports gambling is a pastime, and the infrastructure is strongly developed.
Canada hopes to take a page from the US gambling laws, giving the provinces the final say. The US federal government allows states to implement their own laws and regulations when it comes to gambling laws and sports betting, and Canada looks to be following suit.
Which Sportsbook is the Best?
Determining the best Canadian betting site for your needs will come down to some individual research. Once you take into consideration the type of sports you want to bet on, and the payment method available, you will be able to narrow down your search tremendously. After that, have a look for promotions and incentives, especially for first-time bettors. These are a great way to get your foot in the door.
Don’t forget to read the terms and conditions of many of these sportsbook operators. While we can vouch for our recommendations, there are plenty of operators online that don't adhere to regulations and could potentially cause you financial harm. Read the contracts carefully and reach out to customer support should you have any questions.
How Much Can I Wager?
The amount you can wager on any given event is normally determined by the individual sportsbook. However, sports betting sites tend to offer higher winning opportunities because of the decreased frequency of the events. So for big one-off events, high wagers are certainly possible.
Make sure to check with the operator to determine deposit and withdrawal limits, and be prepared with your money should a good line come up.
Deposit and withdrawal methods vary between sportsbooks, so make sure to find one that works for your needs.
What is Live Sports Betting?
Live sports betting is being able to bet on a game as it streams live. This type of sports betting has become wildly popular as it combines the thrill of a live event with the thrill of gambling. Operators that offer live sports betting are continually fine-tuning their offerings and providing viewers with creative and interesting wagering options.
Live betting allows linemakers to continually update the odds as the game progresses. This allows bettors to lock in different bets along the way. Both the linemakers and the bettors are updating the odds and the bets, which creates quite a dynamic betting experience.
Be sure to check out some of our recommendations for live sports betting operators.
Canada is famous for our sports fans, and we take it seriously. From Hockey to American Football to Curling, we want a piece of all the action. Finding the best online Canadian sports betting site that suits your needs is important, and now easier than ever. By following our recommendations at Bonusninja, you will be sure to find an appropriate sportsbook that works well for you.
At Bonusninja we work hard to ensure our readers are getting the most up-to-date information on the best Canadian sports betting sites. We review and recommend sites based on a set of standards, and have no problem eliminating these recommendations if they fail to adhere to them. We prioritize customer service, legal regulations, payout speed and incentives, and give our bettors the safest and most enjoyable sports betting experience.