Ontario Sports Betting 2021 – When Will Apps Launch?

For decades, Ontario residents have only had one option when it comes to sports wagering: placing parlay bets through the lottery corporation. Bettors may have been able to place their wagers online, but have always had to deposit their betting slips at in-person lottery locations. However, this is the case no longer. This Ontario sports betting guide will catch you up on everything bettors need to know about placing wagers in the province.

With the passage of Bill C-218, single event wagers are now legal in Canada and all provinces are looking to expand their sports betting markets. In the coming months, bettors will begin seeing new commercial sportsbook brands enter Ontario’s market. 

Here’s how this development will affect Ontario and explore which sportsbook operators may be the first to bring single-event sports wagering to Ontario residents.

What Legal Online Sportsbook Apps Are Coming To Ontario?

While an official sportsbook list has not yet been announced, several major operators have already stated their intentions to launch mobile platforms in Ontario. However, the only legal online sportsbook in Ontario is currently PROLINE+, which launched on August 27, 2021. The process of accepting commercial sportsbooks is ongoing through early next year.

Who Are The AGCO and OLG?

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) regulates Ontario gaming. Specifically, iGaming Ontario, a new subsidiary organization to the AGCO, will regulate all sportsbooks in the province. iGaming Ontario will manage and control online gambling offerings in this province. 

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) oversees lottery and casinos in Ontario and won’t be responsible for private sportsbooks. As a result, they’re allowed to operate the province’s first legal online sportsbook until the private-owned companies enter the market in the near future.

Popular Sportsbook Brands Launching Ontario Sports Betting

Several private-run sportsbook brands have already announced their intentions to launch in Ontario. DraftKings and FanDuel already provide daily fantasy sports services to residents in Canada. BetMGM is another popular sportsbook that could also launch in the Ontario province.

Additionally, in March 2021, Torstar Corporation (flagship company is the Toronto Star) announced that it wants to launch both an online casino and a sportsbook betting brand. They have a marketing deal with a new gaming platform, Northstar Gaming.

As anticipated, theScore Bet will be a popular sports betting option in Ontario. The Toronto-based company is already established in this area as a digital sports media company. They were early in the betting scene with an app launched in the United States in 2018. Rivarly is another locally-based company in Ontario that will launch an esports-centric sportsbook in the first half of 2022 pending approval.

Meanwhile, the American sportsbook operator BetRivers has said that it wants to launch sports wagering in all of Canada as soon as possible. Ontario will likely be the first province that BetRivers will launch in, as it will be for many commercial sportsbook.

Caesars may also try to launch its own mobile platform in Ontario, as it already owns the Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino in the titular city. OLG is working with casino service providers on sports betting in casinos. However, retail sports betting like what’s in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey isn’t set in stone.

Best Overall Experience

20% deposit match and $50 free bet

Platform Available On: Android, iOS, Web Browser

Allowed In United States: AZ, CO, CT, IL, IN, IA, LA, MI, NH, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY

Best Overall Experience

DraftKings Ontario

Deposit Match Promo

$1,000

20% match up to $5,000

Free Bet

$50

with $5 or higher deposit

Pending License By

AGCO

DraftKings expects to be a significant player within the Toronto market and the rest of Ontario. They already have substantial agreements with the National Hockey League and their media partners. Expect to see marketing for the platform in these areas and throughout the province, along with some retail sportsbook locations. With a launch in the coming months, the welcome promo of a $50 free bet and 20% deposit match may still be available.

Pros

  • Established platform has strong brand recognition in the US
  • Bet slip is accessible on same screen user selects wagers
  • Users can blend DFS account and winnings into sportsbook

Cons

  • Mobile app can have glitches on some devices
  • Payout options are limited

Terms and conditions apply. 19+ in Ontario.

Best For Entry-Level Bettors

Up to $600 risk-free bet

Platform Available On: Android, iOS, Web Browser

Allowed In United States: AZ, IA, IN, NJ, PA, VA

Best For Entry-Level Bettors

Unibet Ontario

Risk-Free Bet

$600

Code: BETBONUS

Pending License By

AGCO

Unibet is a less popular sportsbook, but they’ll likely be in the mix for the Ontario launch and across Canada. While it may not have the bells and whistles of other sportsbooks, the platform is quick and very reliable. A wide variety of sports are available, from popular leagues to niche sports such as rugby and snooker.

The Kindred Group, which owns and operates the sportsbook, is planning to make a push into Ontario. Should it launch in the near future, the welcome bonus could feature up to a $600 risk-free bet.

Pros

  • Simple, clean layout makes it easy to use
  • Wide variety of sports to choose from
  • Provides more days than average to use promotional credit

Cons

  • Single-game parlay lacks availability
  • Mobile app not available in all locations
  • Welcome promotion not as strong as competition

Terms and conditions apply. 19+ in Ontario.

Best For Casino Features

$250 free bet

Platform Available On: Android, iOS, Web Browser

Allowed In United States: MI, NJ, NV, VA, WV

Best For Casino Features

Golden Nugget Ontario

Bonus Offers

$250

free bet (or $100 risk-free bet)

Pending License By

AGCO

Golden Nugget is an established Las Vegas casino, and certainly emphasizes casino gaming on their website. However, the sportsbook still offers a solid experience for bettors. Many similar leagues and sports are available, along with features such as live betting. Some of the welcome bonuses that may be featured in Ontario include a $250 free bet or a risk-free bet of up to $100.

Pros

  • Strong casino gaming platform
  • Mobile app provides fast and easy navigation

Cons

  • Different welcome bonuses, experiences based on location
  • Main website experience can be cluttered

Terms and conditions apply. 19+ in Ontario.

What Sports Can You Bet On In Ontario?

Ontario’s sports betting market will place few restrictions on the types of allowed sports wagers. Ontario’s early draft of sports betting guidelines set standards for the types of events that sportsbooks can offer lines on.

If these same standards make it into the final draft of Ontario’s sportsbook regulations, then all professional, collegiate, and international sports will be available. Examples include the National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), Canadian Football League (CFL), and college football.

Sportsbooks won’t be able to offer lines on events where most participants are minors or on events that profit from the infliction of human misery or suffering. (No SAW events in Ontario.) But even with these preliminary restrictions, Ontario sportsbooks will likely have discretion in whether to offer lines on new and emerging sports, like esports.

Ontario-Based Sports Teams

Multiple franchises in the NHL and CFL are located in Ontario. A few other professional leagues based in the United States also reach into the province, including the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB). Additionally, the NFL is looking into specifically expanding into the Toronto market with select games and a potential franchise.

Four teams are located in the biggest Canadian city, Toronto, with over 2.7 million residents. In the greater area, this expands to over 6.4 million people. Ottawa is the capital city of Canada with over 1.4 million people located in the metro area.

  • Toronto Maple Leafs are an NHL franchise that plays in Scotiabank Arena
  • Toronto Argonauts are a CFL team that plays at BMO Field
  • Toronto Raptors are an NBA franchise that plays in Scotiabank Arena
  • Toronto Blue Jays are an MLB club that plays at Rogers Centre
  • Ottawa Senators are an NHL franchise that plays in Canadian Tire Centre
  • Ottawa Redblacks are a CFL team that plays at TD Place
  • Hamilton Tiger-Cats are a CFL team that plays at Tim Hortons Field

National Football League Outlook

As of now, there are no official plans to bring an NFL team to Toronto. In early 2020, commissioner Roger Goodell said in a State of the NFL address that Toronto needed a stadium “up to NFL standards.” Canada has been mentioned as a potential location for games in the NFL International Series, but no further details are known.

Do Ontario’s Sportsbooks Offer Mobile Apps?

PROLINE+ is the exclusive mobile betting option in the province. Bettors can find it on the Apple App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android). All the major sportsbooks interested in entering Ontario will include mobile apps, too. It’s such a common way to bet that it’d cripple sportsbook revenue to not have an app (or to have a bad one).

What Online Sportsbook Bonuses Are Available In Ontario?

PROLINE+ will offer a deposit bonus to new bettors who sign up at proline.ca. However, Ontario residents can expect a variety of opening bonuses to accompany the launch of mobile betting platforms in 2022, including:

  • Betting tokens, which cover a player’s initial bet and refund them with a matching amount of site credit if they lose
  • Deposit bonuses, which match the value of a player’s initial deposit with a proportional amount of site credit
  • No deposit bonuses, which reward new account holders with free site credit to use to try out an app before putting more money down

But keep in mind that almost all mobile sportsbook bonuses will include critical terms and conditions, such as play-through requirements. These requirements force bettors to play through any site credit at least once before they can withdraw that credit as cash.

What Do I Need To Create An Online Sportsbook Account In Ontario?

In Ontario, you’ll need a few pieces of personal information to verify your identity, like your address and date of birth. You’ll also need a funding method to deposit cash into your sports betting account, such as a credit or debit card, a linked bank account, or an electronic wallet account. (Usually PayPal, sometimes Skrill.)

Legal Online Sportsbooks Versus Offshore Online Sportsbooks In Ontario

OLG’s PROLINE+ will have the same security and trust that they’ve established with their customers over the past 30 years. That’s an accolade that no gray market operator can claim.

Even though private-run online sportsbooks are still months away from launching in Ontario, bettors should wait for them to launch. Legal online sportsbooks will have strong digital security and competitive betting odds.

In contrast, unregulated online sportsbooks may disregard protection for bettors’ personal information and money. Their odds are typically less competitive because they’re only focused on profit. These operators may not pay bettors fairly even if they’re owed winnings.

At their worst, unregulated sportsbooks may steal bettors’ money outright. It is better to look toward sportsbooks that go through regulation to validate that money and personal information is safe and secure.      

Ontario Online Sportsbook FAQs

How old do you have to be to bet online in Ontario?

19, which is the same minimum gambling age you need to be to participate in casino gambling in Ontario.

Is DraftKings online sportsbook legal in Ontario?

Not yet, but we will update this page with information on sportsbook apps, bonuses, and more as soon as private-run sportsbooks are available in Ontario.

Is FanDuel’s online sportsbook legal in Ontario?

Not yet, as no private-run sportsbook app has launched in Ontario. We will update this page as soon as launch information is announced.

Do sportsbooks in Ontario offer bonus offers?

New PROLINE+ users will be eligible for a deposit bonus offer. These new bettors can sign up at proline.ca. The private-run sportsbook apps that will launch in Ontario in late 2021 or 2022 will also offer promotional bonuses to new account holders. They’ll likely be more generous and extravagant than PROLINE+. Private-run sportsbooks have more room to blow massive amounts of money on customer acquisition.  

Is betting on college sports allowed in Ontario?

Yes, but that could change. As long as most of the athletes are at least 18, then it’s fair game for sportsbooks to offer betting lines on. However, the final draft of sports betting regulations haven’t been released yet. The review period has ended, and we just have to wait to see whether that single stipulation has remained in place or been augmented after industry feedback.  

Do I have to visit the casino to create an online sports betting account in Ontario?

No. PROLINE+ users can sign up at proline.ca. When private-run sportsbooks enter Ontario at the end of the year, bettors will be able to create online sports betting accounts from the sportsbook apps themselves. 

About the Author

Christopher Gerlacher

Christopher Gerlacher is a senior author and contributor for Gaming Today. He's a devout Broncos fan, for better or for worse, living in the foothills of Arvada, Colorado.