The Rise of Online Betting: Exploring Ontario’s Digital Wagering Platforms

Since the legalization of online gambling in Ontario in April 2022, we have witnessed a large increase in regulated online sportsbooks in Ontario.

Only 13 sportsbooks were regulated on the opening day of iGaming Ontario. That number has more than doubled, with 28 legal sportsbooks in Ontario and many more preparing to enter the popular market.

Interestingly, the popularity of casino games still outweigh sports betting by almost a 6:1 ratio, with $11.6 billion in wagers made at online casinos in Q2, compared to $2 billion on sports betting.

Before Online Betting:

Before online betting was legalized in Ontario, people could still bet, but primarily through offshore sportsbooks. A few sportsbooks approached the edge of legalization. One of those was Sports Interaction, which was licensed in Kahnawake. Although online gambling wasn’t yet legal in Ontario, they were a prominent force sponsoring various Canadian sports teams and advertising in local newspapers and media.

The majority of people preferred to bet via OLG pro-line, which was only available at convenience stores or retail locations where one could buy lottery tickets. At the time, you could only bet in parlays as opposed to single bets.

Notable Changes:

The most notable change with the legalization of online gambling in Ontario was, of course, the ability to make single bets. The next biggest change was deposit bonuses. Now, when you sign up at a sportsbook in Ontario, you are offered various deposit bonuses.

Sportsbooks will offer the likes of a 100% match bonus on your first deposit up to $100, as well as various specials. This can include free bets, reduced lines, tournaments, and more. None of these features were available prior to the launch of these programs in Ontario.

Competitive Bonuses:

One big feature in Ontario now is sportsbook bonuses tailored specifically for the Ontario market. As it is a limited market, we are seeing online sportsbooks offer bigger promotions than they normally could.

BetMGM for the 2023 NFL season, for example, offered a $1500 bet promotion. Deposit, wager $1500 on an NFL game. If it loses, you would then receive $1500 in your bonus bet balance.

Bet365 are offering a great promotion for players with a small bankroll. Deposit $10 and make a bet of just $1, then get $100 in bet credits. They also offer “bet boosts” in most events, where they offer slightly better odds than normal.

This competition has been great for the Ontario market as it has given gamblers in Ontario opportunities that they never had before. Even prior to legalization, when the offshore sportsbooks were available, the bonus systems never came close to being as rewarding as they now are.

Better Withdrawal Options:

One big plus with sportsbooks in Ontario is how easy you can deposit and withdraw your funds. Bet365 has recently added the option to deposit and withdraw via Paypal. You can now deposit via the likes of Apple Pay or your credit card, and also receive transfers to your bank account promptly.

On top of that, now that they are regulated, these sportsbooks offer much better customer service and are required to have various checks in place to keep your account secure.

More Sports:

One great thing about digital wagering platforms in Ontario these days is the number of sports that you can bet on. You aren’t limited to the major sports anymore.

Want to bet on the 1st period of a Finland SM Liiga hockey game? Or the total goals market in an Argentina Nacional B game? You’re able to do that. You can even bet on esports now, which is something not offered legally prior to April 2022.

Finally, you can also do live betting on games, which wasn’t available previously. If you’re watching a game and think a team is going to score, it’s easy to use the mobile app offered by any sportsbook to quickly place your bet.

New features are rolling out every week. Additionally, sportsbook bonuses are getting more competitive than ever as more sportsbooks enter the market. The outlook for online wagering in Ontario is very positive, and the players are the ones that are reaping the benefits.