In Canada, sports betting and its regulation are quite liberal. The state does not restrict the development of the online industry in any way but prohibits land-based betting sites. Betting is part of the national culture of Canadians. In this article, Telecomasia.net tells more about the history of betting in the country, as well as the current state of the industry.

History of betting in Canada

In 1892, the Canadian authorities officially banned all gambling activities, except for betting on horse racing. This state of affairs in the country persisted until 1969 when the Criminal Code was adopted. It allowed regional authorities to conduct sports lotteries, the proceeds of which would go to charity.

Over time, the Canadian government realized that the betting industry could replenish the treasury for a fairly large amount. Therefore, previously introduced restrictions began to weaken, adopting more and more amendments to the code. They have significantly expanded the powers of local authorities to control gambling.

In 1985, an amendment was passed, according to which betting was allowed in the format of a lottery. This means that it was possible to purchase a ticket in which from 3 to 6 winners were marked. However, the activities of bookmaker companies in the form we are accustomed to were still banned.

After some time, tickets began to include options with a choice of the total over or under, as well as options with a spread (point difference). In this form, it was possible to bet on basketball and American football. Similar tickets were sold by Canadian lottery operators such as Proline, Sports Action and others.

Betting in this form had certain advantages: 

  1. The tickets were printed, so the odds in them did not change. This allowed the player to make a choice right before the game when the lineups were already known. At the same time, the odds remained very profitable.
  2. It was possible to cash out the winnings directly in ordinary stores since many of them were partners of the lottery.

A significant disadvantage was that the maximum bet limit was $100 per ticket purchased.

With the development of technology and the advent of the Internet, online betting became widespread, which many players turned to. Companies successfully found loopholes in the Criminal Code, which still prohibited sports betting, and operated quite legally. The first legal online bookmaker was Sports Interaction. It was registered on the territory of Kahnawake (an Indian reservation in Canada). Rating of other reliable online bookmakers is available on Meta.reviews.

The popularity of betting has steadily increased over time. IpSOS conducted a study according to which the percentage of Canadian citizens aged 18 to 34 who place online bets was as follows:

  • 18% in 2010;
  • 32% in 2014;
  • 52% in 2018.

Betting business now

At the moment, the betting business continues to be regulated by the country’s Criminal Code with numerous amendments, as well as regional laws. Betting shops are still illegal, but sports lotteries, which are very similar to totalizators in their essence, are legalized.

Online bookmakers, which have gained tremendous popularity, are registered legally, taking advantage of the gaps in the current legislation. However, most companies have offshore licenses since the authorities still do not regulate the online betting market and there is still no clear understanding of how the government will treat this area in the future. Therefore, a lot of money goes by the Canadian state treasury. So, it was recently found that residents of the country spend $4 billion every year on betting in online offices, and another 500 million go to participate in local sports lotteries.

Taxation of bookmakers and bettors

No additional fees, other than income tax, are paid by betting operators in Canada. Income tax ranges from 15% to 33% (depending on the amount of profit).

Professional bettors pay taxes on the funds won (this applies to both lotteries and sports betting). Those, for whom the game in bookmakers is only entertainment, owe nothing to the state.

Key facts about betting in Canada

  1. According to the latest public opinion polls, 23% believe that gambling, including betting, is unacceptable, and 55% said that everyone can choose for themselves.
  2. You can bet on sports events in Canada from the age of 18.
  3. The gambling industry generates approximately Can$18 million in revenue each year.
  4. More than 60% of adult Canadian citizens gamble in one form or another.

You can find even more interesting articles on Centreforum.org.