Online gambling & sports betting laws in Ontario 2024


Legal online gambling & regulations in Ontario

In June 2021, the Canadian Parliament passed Bill C-218 to allow each province to create a regulated sports betting and casino market. On April 4, 2022, Ontario became the first province to launch legal online gambling.

Every commercial operator that launches in ON must be licensed by AGCO and pass the strict testing of iGaming Ontario (iGO), the regulatory arm of the province. iGO ensures that every operator has security measures to protect players, provide fair games, and promotes responsible gambling.

Before the launch of the regulated market, the only ways to gamble in Ontario were through land-based casinos or pari-mutuel horse racing betting. You also used to be able to place parlay sports bets with the government-backed Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG).

The regulations in Ontario are strict in order to protect the public. Gambling operators must not advertise inducements, bonuses, and credits, such as 'free spins'. Advertisements must not contain or make misleading claims directly or indirectly. In addition, players must adhere to the following gambling laws in Ontario:

  • You must be 19 years of age to bet on sports and play online casino games.
  • You must be 18 years of age to play the lottery and bingo.
  • You must be within Ontario’s borders and allow your gambling site to access your geolocation to play on regulated sites.

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Ziv Chen credited author Casino.org

Ziv Chen

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Ziv Chen has worked in the online gambling industry for over two decades in various senior management roles before becoming a full-time writer. Combining his passions for gambling, sports, and writing, he is always on the lookout for the next innovative slots and live-dealer games in Canada. When it comes to sports, Ziv is a huge fan of College and Professional American football and Major League Soccer.

History of gambling in Ontario

Gambling has been a part of Canadian culture for centuries. Historians have found evidence of gambling on foot races in Canada as far back as the 1400s. In the modern era, Ontario became the first province to legalize online gambling in 2022 and is now one of the largest iGaming markets in North America. This timeline summarizes how online gambling laws came about:

  • December 1985

    The Canadian Parliament passes the C-46 to hand regulation of lottery draws, betting pools, and casino gambling to individual provinces. Previously, everything was overseen by the federal government.

  • May 1994

    Ontario opens its first casino in Windsor, Casino Windsor (later Caesars Windsor). The casino attracts millions of customers annually from the US and Canada.

  • July 1996

    Ontario’s earliest First Nations casino, Casino Rama, opens. The revenue supports communities within the Ontario First Nations Limited Partnership.

  • June 2021

    Canada’s federal government passed Bill C-218, the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, which legalizes single-game sports betting and online casino gambling. Before this, sports betting was legal but restricted to parlay betting. This bill also allows any regulated province to welcome third-party sportsbooks and casinos.

  • April 4, 2022

    Ontario becomes the first province in Canada to regulate online gambling. Gambling operators that have been tested and approved by AGCO and iGO can launch. Some of the biggest operators to go live amongst the new Ontario online casinos include BetMGM, bet365, and theScore Bet.

Benefits of playing on a regulated site

Although offshore sites may accept players in Ontario, the only legal way to play is on sites licensed by the AGCO. Our experts have highlighted some of the benefits of playing with regulated sites rather than risking it with offshore gambling operators:

  • Data protection

    AGCO ensures that regulated sites follow privacy and data protection laws in Ontario. Therefore, using a regulated site means your personal and financial information is not at risk of exposure to unwanted parties or fraud. To further prevent fraud, you must verify your identity by completing identity checks such as age verification in the account creation process.

  • Guaranteed fairness

    AGCO registers third-party auditing firms that test the software, ensuring that games are fair. iGaming companies must obtain certification from independent testing labs before AGCO approves operation in Ontario.

  • Ease of reporting issues

    AGCO is committed to providing high-quality service, meaning that every site must promptly and fairly handle complaints and inquiries. If you feel you are still not being treated fairly, you can also bring your case to the iGO.

  • Tools for responsible gambling

    Responsible gambling is one of AGCO’s top priorities. Upon registration, sites must offer limit-setting features (financial and time-based) to prevent harm to you as a player. Sites will also be required to display responsible gambling messages and provide links to support for players, including 24/7 live support.

Playing with regulated gaming sites gives you guarantees of game fairness, payment security, and honest bonus terms. Whether you’re playing with a new Ontario casino or an experienced operator, you can expect the highest levels of player safety.

The best online casinos in Ontario

Casino name # of games Link to site
Spin Casino
800+
Jackpot City Casino
800+
PlayOJO
3000+
BetOnRed
4,000+
AmunRa
3,000+
SmokAce Casino
7,500+
Ruby Fortune
900+
JustCasino
4950
iwildcasino
7000
Qbet
800+

Offline and online gambling

Land-based casinos are physical establishments where you can play different casino games, while online casinos are entirely virtual, and the games take place online. There are benefits to playing with both, and which you choose comes down to personal preference. Take a look at some benefits and downfalls for both types of gambling below.

Online casinos

Online casinos are accessible from anywhere, including from home or on the go. You will not have to spend any money to get to the casino as you would with a land-based casino.

You can start playing in seconds online, making online gambling ideal if you are busy and have limited time for entertainment.

Access the latest titles from top software developers instantly.

You may have to wait several days with online casinos to receive your winnings.

Unlike in land-based casinos, you can’t easily access restaurants and other forms of entertainment with online casinos.

Offline casinos

In a land-based casino, you can interact with others and make friends while playing on the lively casino floor.

Land-based casinos are fun environments and may include restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, and even shopping centers.

Unlike online casinos, you can cash out your winnings immediately at zero cost without worrying about security.

You may prefer a peaceful environment for uninterrupted gameplay and increased focus. If this is the case, you may not enjoy the atmosphere of a land-based casino.

There is less variety of games available in land-based casinos than online.

Online casinos Offline casinos

Online casinos are accessible from anywhere, including from home or on the go. You will not have to spend any money to get to the casino as you would with a land-based casino.

In a land-based casino, you can interact with others and make friends while playing on the lively casino floor.

You can start playing in seconds online, making online gambling ideal if you are busy and have limited time for entertainment.

Land-based casinos are fun environments and may include restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, and even shopping centers.

Access the latest titles from top software developers instantly.

Unlike online casinos, you can cash out your winnings immediately at zero cost without worrying about security.

You may have to wait several days with online casinos to receive your winnings.

You may prefer a peaceful environment for uninterrupted gameplay and increased focus. If this is the case, you may not enjoy the atmosphere of a land-based casino.

Unlike in land-based casinos, you can’t easily access restaurants and other forms of entertainment with online casinos.

There is less variety of games available in land-based casinos than online.

Sports betting in Ontario

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Since Canada’s Parliament passed the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act in June 2021, sports betting is now legal in Ontario. This includes single-game betting and parlay wagers. The most popular sports you can bet on, with the best sports betting sites in Canada include Ontario include hockey, basketball, and soccer. Popular teams include Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Toronto Raptors (NBA), and Toronto FC (MLS).

Lottery in Ontario

bingo

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation allows you to buy tickets for national and provincial draws and play scratch-off games. You can also use the OLG platform to play online casino games and bet on sports. You can purchase lottery tickets in-store or online through Ontario’s only website for lottery play. The lottery is legal online in Ontario for people aged 18 and over. You must verify your age using a government-issued ID.

Play at the best Ontario online casinos

We've ranked the best online casinos in Ontario that are high-quality and safely regulated. Find out what's made the list here.

What you can legally bet on in Ontario

You can bet on a wide range of professional and college sports in Ontario, no matter what sportsbook you choose. We’ve picked out some of the most popular sports in ON and given you an overview of what types of markets you can find. They're all legal and follow the online gambling laws in Ontario:

Basketball

Basketball

Data from iGaming Ontario revealed that basketball was the most popular sport to bet on, with 28% of betting wagers. Bettors in Ontario are wagering on local teams like the Toronto Raptors.

Soccer

Soccer

Thanks to the local MLS team, Toronto FC, you’ll find plenty of soccer markets at Ontario sportsbooks. Ontario betting sites will also provide markets for European soccer, including the English Premier League and UEFA Championship League.

Hockey

Hockey

The Toronto Maple Leafs are Ontario’s NHL representative and attract plenty of bets from local players. Throughout the season, you’ll find plenty of pre-game and in-play betting markets for NHL games.

Baseball

Baseball

The only MLB team in Canada happens to be based in Ontario, with the Toronto Blue Jays playing in the AL East. Most Ontario betting sites will offer moneylines, point spreads, and totals for every MLB game.

Ontario gambling & betting laws FAQs

Is online gambling legal in Ontario?

Yes, Ontario legalized online gambling on April 4, 2022. Gambling operators in Ontario must be registered with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and enter an agreement with iGaming Ontario (iGO). Scroll back up to see where we've covered the gambling laws in Ontario in full.

Is sports betting legal in Ontario?

Yes, the passing of Bill C-218 in 2021 allowed Ontario to legalize single-sports betting. Ontario now has 30 licensed online sportsbooks, including BetMGM and bet365.

Are casino winnings taxable in Ontario?

No, casino winnings are not taxable in Ontario unless you are a professional gambler. If you are a professional gambler, you must include your casino winnings when you pay income tax to the federal and provincial government.

How old do you need to be to gamble in Ontario?

The minimum legal age to gamble online or in land-based casinos in Ontario is 19 years old. You must be 18 years old to play the lottery and bingo.

Are casino bonuses legal in Ontario?

Yes, casino bonuses are legal in Ontario. However, operators are prohibited from advertising inducements, bonuses, and credits to protect customers from being persuaded to participate more frequently in gaming activity.