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Sportsbooks in Canada - Online gaming law, types of bets, odds


With greater acceptance of harmless online casino gaming in Canada comes greater acceptance of an activity in which millions participate weekly anyway: Betting on sports. In fact, Canada finds itself in a unique – and *very* 21st-century – position on this matter, namely that online sportsbooks will be far more prevalent in the country. Truth be told, they’re already quite a ways ahead.


Is sports betting legal in Canada?

Laws on vice (not to mention the taxes levied on the concomitant always-lucrative associated product) are usually incorporated province to province. Gambling games are no exception in Canada, so the situation legally for a given citizen depends on his/her residence.

This is actually positive for those interested in legalization of online sports betting Canada, because prevailing Canadian federal law on the subject dates back to the 19th century and is quite, likesay, restrictive.


The relevant passage in the Canadian Criminal Code reads:

Generally speaking, the Criminal Code of the country defines gambling and conducting any gaming activities in Canada as illegal, unless these activities are included in specific exceptions pointed in the Code itself.

Land-based casinos exist in every province of Canada except the Maritimes. Some provinces (including as of this writing, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec) have government-run and/or -approved sites at which to play casino games with full consumer protection under Canadian law. These offer some limited hockey betting, but this is of the old-fashioned variety which led to the creation of the point spread system itself in the mid-20th century, i.e. multi-team “pick ‘’em” parlays which pay at crummy odds well disproportionate to the skill involves.

However, Canadian law enforcement responds to the millions of Canadians visiting online sportsbooks in a nice fashion: Namely, they ignore such betting. As one Toronto-based lawyer explained to CBC online in mid-2016, “There have been no prosecutions that resulted in convictions or guilty pleas, so the offshore sports books look at Canada as a grey zone.”


What are the types of bets?

What are the types of bets?To some extent, this depends on the sport in question, but all sportsbooks in Canada have similar offerings in the team sports and individual sports as anywhere else. At least three types of bets should be available on any team sport you can think of: money line bets, point spread bets, and the over/under or total points/goals/runs/etc. scored in a given match.

Money line bets are those which involve simply choosing one team to win the game. For hockey and soccer, betting on a tie (or draw) is also available; in hockey betting, this is known as “3-way betting.”

A point spread or handicap bet is expressed in points, with a negative number assigned to the favourite and a positive sign to the underdog. If the Red Sox are favoured at home againstToronto, the line might read something like “Boston Red Sox -1½ vs Toronto Blue Jays.” If you bet on the Blue Jays, you can add 1½ to the total number of runs scored at game’s end.

Proposition bets at sportsbooks are defined as bets which pay on some outcome which is not the final result of a given game/match.


How are odds expressed?

Basically all odds, i.e. the rate at which the winning bettor is paid, are expressed in one of two ways: fractional or American (a.k.a. base-100). Fractional is probably the most traditional of the three, with all payouts expressed in familiar “3/1” form, meaning int his particular case that a winning bet is worth 3x the initial bet beyond return of the original bet.

In the American odds format, all payouts are based on 100 units. So a typical money line offering might read, “Monteal Alouettes +350 vs Calgary Stampeders -200.” In this case, betting $100 on the Alouettes would be worth $450 ($350 plus the original bet) on a winner, while one would have to bet $200 to win $300 ($100 plus the original bet) should Calgary come in.


best-canadian-betting-siteHow to find good online sportsbooks in Canada

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