In the United States, the rules and regulations surrounding sports betting are often confusing and unclear because they vary from state to state. But what about the neighbors to the north? What are the regulations like for those who wish to sports bet in Canada? The answer may just surprise you.
The History of Sports Betting in Canada
The act of gambling in the country of Canada was first declared illegal in 1892, which would include any and all sorts of sports bets that could be made. But, like many things in this world, the situation in Canada has changed. First Bingo and raffles were made legal in the 1900’s, followed by legalized betting on horse races in the 1920’s. Not to be one to miss out, the Canadian government jumped on the government sponsored lottery train in the 1960’s and 1970’s. And this was the final straw for the 1892 law, as during the 1970’s, casinos started to be built all around the country.
Sports Betting Today
Like the US, the exact rules and regulations as they apply to sports betting depend widely on the Canadian providence you are in. That being said, the sports betting laws in Canada are extremely outdated. While you can place a bet on a horse race in most Canadian casinos, that is about where the fun ends. This is because most providences have restrictions on everything having to do with sports betting, from placing a bet in a casino to placing one online.
To make matters worse, Canadians can only place sports bets that are parlay bets. For those of you who are unfamiliar, a parlay bet is a bet which encompasses the outcome of multiple events. While parlay bets can be fun, they are quite restrictive. This makes it difficult for bettors to be able to apply their capital to bet sports efficiently. It also means that most American online sports betting companies are not allowed to offer their services to Canadians since they offer single event betting.
As bad as this sounds, there is a caveat—those restrictions only apply to Canada and American based casinos. Yes, you read that right, Canadians cannot gamble online or place online sports bets with Canadian or American casinos, but they can indeed gamble and place sports bets online with offshore casinos or those based overseas. The reason this grey area exists is because of the outdated Canadian laws. Basically, the law says that a Canadian cannot gamble illegally in a Canadian institution, but it doesn’t say anything about non-Canadian institutions. Thus this allows you to get around the law by gambling on a website of a casino that is based somewhere outside of Canada other than the United States.
This unfortunately doesn’t solve all the issues Canadians could run into while sports gambling, mainly because these international websites can be difficult to find and may require a VPN for access. And you may also run into currency issues. But if you can download a VPN app and read reviews to ensure you are on a reputable site, you can be sports betting from your Canadian hometown in no time at all!
But Times Are Changing…Again
Although Canada may be a bit behind when it comes to sports betting options, their government is quickly realizing that they may be missing out on some taxable money. And that is why on May 28th, 2021, they announced that there is a current bill pending legislation which would eliminate the parlay only ruling. While this may not seem like a big deal, it is a small step in the right direction for making sports betting completely legal in the country of Canada.
If this bill passes, which it is suspected that it will, this would make sports betting much simpler and more accessible for most people. It would also allow American sports betting sites, like Draft Kings, to be able to consider offering their services to Canadians. The bill is due to be brought up for a vote any day now, and if it doesn’t pass by the end of June, it will likely not be passed at all.
Even if this bill is passed, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Canadian citizens will immediately get to enjoy all the benefits of a site like DraftKings. This is because there are many logistical issues with an American company operating in Canada. Not only do the differing laws have to be considered (like legal gambling age which varies based on providence) but there is also the issue of exchanging currency. Canada uses its own dollar and banking system which won’t be compatible with the way the app is currently set up. Thus, there would need to be some serious development before the app could sweep the nation.
What Can Canadians Do?
If you would like to sports bet, but you don’t want to rely on a law being passed, or you don’t want to wait for a company like Draft Kings to innovate if the law is passed, then there are a few things you can do.
For those that live near the US border, you could also cross into the US and head to an American casino to make your sports bets. This is an especially good option for those who may live in the Vancouver area that can easily head to the Native American run casinos located just outside of Seattle. But if you don’t live along the border, this can be a tall order just for you to place a non-parlay sports bet.
Alternatively you can place sports bets on a website that accepts cryptocurrency like MintDice.com. This will eliminate the exchange issues you will encounter when wanting to place bets with the Canadian dollar. Most cryptocurrency sites only require a simple VPN to access, and you can register with an anonymous account. This will also allow you to place sports bets from the comfort of your own home.
Overall, if you live in Canada, you likely know just how difficult it is for you to place bets on sports. But thanks to the innovation of cryptocurrency and the internet, you can now use sites like MintDice to place non-parlay bets on your favorite sports while you wait and hope that Canada passes new sports betting friendly regulations.