Is Ontario Sports Betting Legal? 

Ontario sports betting is legal. Currently, Ontario’s only legal online sportsbook is PROLINE+, Ontario’s lottery-run sportsbook.

But on April 4, 2022, Ontario will open its sports betting market to private sportsbook companies, like DraftKings, FanDuel, and others. Private sportsbook brands will apply for mobile sports betting licenses from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and reach an agreement with iGaming Ontario.

However, not all the new private sportsbooks will launch on April 4. While some sportsbooks, like theScore Bet, have publicized how ready they are for launch day, others will have to fulfill any remaining regulatory hurdles. 

Each sportsbook will launch on its own timeline, but a few major brands should be ready on or around day one, including:

Those are just the sportsbook operators who’ve been public about their application statuses.

Ontario Sports Betting Rules And Regulations

Ontario’s privatized sports betting industry will have a few regulations that set it apart from other North American markets.

First, Ontario’s online sports betting age will be 19. 18-year-olds will have a retail sports betting option, but they won’t get mobile sportsbook accounts until they turn 19. 

Sports wagers on Canadian minor leagues are prohibited, too. This includes the Canadian Hockey League, which limits the total selection of leagues that Ontario sportsbooks will be able to offer betting markets on. 

Bets that “mimic the structure of financial instruments, products, or markets” are prohibited, too. That could keep sports betting startups that mimic financial exchanges, like Sporttrade, from getting licensed in Ontario.

Ontario is guarding against the perception that sports betting can be more akin to investing than gambling. That same attitude is also behind Ontario’s approach to sportsbook marketing and advertising. 

Sportsbook Marketing And Advertising Limits

Ontario will limit the ways that sportsbooks can advertise to bettors. The greatest marketing limitation is forbidding sportsbook operators from using bonuses to advertise themselves to customers. Other marketing and advertisement limits include forbidding sportsbooks from:

  • Implying that gamblers can win more if they play or bet more
  • Offering promotions that are “not reasonably attainable without incurring substantial losses” 
  • “[Exploiting] the susceptibilities, aspirations, credulity, inexperience or lack of knowledge of all potentially high-risk persons, or otherwise extoll the virtues of gaming”

As a result of these marketing limitations, sportsbook operators cannot offer Ontario sports bettors bonuses until bettors sign up for those sportsbooks. They will force sportsbooks to build brand connections in Ontario instead of bonusing customers into downloading and registering mobile accounts. Ontario’s focus on responsible gaming will transform its sportsbook marketing landscape that will set it apart in North America.   

What About Retail Sports Betting?

Retail sports betting has been legal in Ontario for years. Before single-event sports betting, bettors could fill out a parlay card and redeem it at a lottery location. 

However, their single-event sports betting has a retail counterpart, too. Single-event sports bettors must be at least 19 to participate in traditional sports betting, but a PROLINE retail betting option is available for 18-year-old bettors. Bettors can fill out a bet slip online and scan the QR code at a lottery location. They can also fill a physical bet slip out at a lottery location. 

Since PROLINE offers Ontario’s only legal retail sports betting option, Ontario’s casinos and horse tracks can’t offer sports betting. Lottery slips with sports betting picks through PROLINE are Ontario’s only legal retail sports betting options.

That may remain the case for some time. iGaming Ontario’s regulations don’t address retail sports betting. Private sportsbook licenses are for internet sports betting, not retail sports betting. So, Ontarians shouldn’t expect their new online brands to have retail locations. Ontarians should expect a robust selection of online sportsbooks instead.  

About the Author

Christopher Gerlacher

Christopher Gerlacher is a senior author and contributor for many different sports betting websites, sharing his expertise on the subject for readers across the continent. He's a devout Broncos fan, for better or for worse, living in the foothills of Arvada, Colorado.