The History of the Online Gambling Industry

Canada is a country that combines natural beauty with urban sophistication in a unique way. In terms of total area, the world’s second-largest country has a lot to brag about. This sense of cultural identity extends to their thriving betting sector, as well as the legislation enacted to ensure its smooth operation.

On the subject of online betting, some countries around the world swing drastically from one edge to the other. Despite the attraction of easy money, Canadian residents and legislators have managed to maintain an even-handed stance. In most circumstances, the laws adapt quickly while always keeping the public’s best interests in mind.

History of Canadian betting laws 

Except for horse racing wagering, all forms of betting were formally outlawed in Canada in 1892. Organized crime was mostly responsible for illegal betting. 

The country’s situation remained unchanged until 1969 when the Criminal Code was enacted to allow legal betting in Canada. It allowed local governments to run sports lotteries with the proceeds going to charity.

Certain previously prohibited gambling activities were made available to the general public in 1970. In 1985, provinces and territories were granted the authority to control operations like slot machines, charity gambling, and lotteries.

Illegal gambling is still a major source of income for modern organized criminal leaders. A new generation of tech-savvy independent criminals has taken up the practice. In either instance, these dishonest people defraud consumers, rig sports competitions, and fail to pay their due share of taxes. As a result, city and provincial law enforcers are under more strain.

The Canadian government soon discovered that the betting sector may fill up the treasury for a significant amount of money. As a result, earlier limits began to erode, with the adoption of more and more code modifications. They have considerably increased the authority of local governments to regulate betting.

An amendment was introduced in 1985 that enabled betting in the form of a lottery. This meant that you can purchase a ticket with three to six winners listed on it. However, bookmaker companies’ activities in the kind you’re used to were nonetheless prohibited.

After a while, tickets evolved to include options such as a total over or under, as well as point differential possibilities. It was possible to gamble on basketball and American football in this format. Lottery companies in Canada, such as Proline, sold similar tickets.

With the advancement of technology and the introduction of the Internet, more gamers began turning to online betting. Companies were able to exploit ambiguities in the Criminal Code, that still forbade sports betting, and run their businesses legally. Sports Interaction was the first legally available bookmaker. It was licensed on Kahnawake’s territory.

The grey area in the Canadian betting market

Since 1985, sports betting has been allowed in Canada. However, because single-game wagering was prohibited, it was limited to parlay wagering through provincial lotteries. 

In June 2021, Canada approved the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act. The act gives provinces the authority to regulate single-game internet sports betting. Back then, online betting wasn’t explicitly prohibited.

There existed grey market operators, which were legitimate casinos that had been operating for years in legal limbo in Canada. These were permitted to transition from unregulated to regulated operators. Offshore bookmakers that were operating in Canada before legalization will not be fined or denied access to the legitimate market.

The Canadian C- 218 Bill

For many years, efforts have been made in Canada to authorize single-game betting. Since 2015 and previously, the topic has been discussed in Parliament. One may argue that the legalization of sports betting in the United States was the catalyst for the full legalization of   Canadian sports betting. 

In a similar fashion to the United States, prominent professional leagues and other players who were formerly opposed to legalization changed their opinion. They publicly indicated their support for Parliament’s bipartisan legislative endeavors. 

The most recent attempt to authorize single-game betting was Bill C-218. It was a straightforward bill that would amend the federal code to allow provinces to oversee and control single-game sports wagering. It includes an exemption for horse racing and received widespread approval from practically all key stakeholders in the gaming sector. 

In February 2021, the act was passed by the House of Commons. However, until June 23, 2021, its destiny in the Senate was unknown. Canadian sports bettors will remember this day for the rest of their lives.

Role of C- 218 in online betting in Canada

The enactment of Bill C-218 effectively made single-game wagering legal and viable in Canada. Currently, parlay-style wagering, live casino, and lotteries are available in each of the ten provinces and three territories. These are managed by one of the country’s five lottery commissions.

Bill C-218 empowers each province to determine how and when sports betting is regulated. The provinces must decide who is allowed to offer online gambling and which sports are eligible for wagering. They must also decide which types of betting are permissible.  

If provinces want to do so, adding single-game online gambling to their current regulatory system will be relatively simple. Every province will make its own choice. Current lottery commissions are most likely to introduce single-game wagering to their online web sportsbooks as a result of C-218’s passing.

On Aug. 27, 2021, Canada’s single-game sports wagering law went into force. Surprisingly, few Canadians are knowledgeable about single-game betting. While single-game betting is available in every province, expect a delayed implementation for retail sportsbooks. Several provinces may opt to stay with their current platforms rather than undergo a major makeover of their sports betting operations.

Taxation laws

In Canada, betting operators pay no additional costs besides income tax. Determined by the amount of profit, income tax rates range from 15% to 33%. As a professional gambler, you must pay taxes on your winnings. However, if you play at bookmakers merely for enjoyment then you the state nothing. 


Lastly, Canada appears to have discovered the ideal method for conducting legalized online betting within its borders. The majority of forms of online betting are legal, yet there are sensible restrictions and regulations in place to keep citizens safe. Though no system is perfect, Canada’s legislative model serves as a shining beacon for all other countries. 

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