Sports Betting in Canada Keeps Growing, But Regulatory Concerns Remain
Canada has always had a passion for ice hockey, golf, basketball, and other popular sports. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a shock that sports betting has really taken off throughout the country. In fact, it’s fair to say that Canada is fast-becoming one of the biggest countries when it comes to sports betting.
🏒 20% of Canadians have bet on sports in the past year (TGM Research)
🏒 The online sports betting market in Canada is forecast to reach US$0.99bn revenue by 2024 (Statista)
However, despite the major rise in the Canada sports gambling market, there are still some regulatory concerns buzzing around. Here, you can learn more about these concerns and what they potentially mean for the future of sports betting in Canada.
Is Sports Betting in Canada Legal?
Yes — sports betting is 100% legal in Canada. Specifically, it was made legal back in August 2021, when Canadian lawmakers changed Canada’s criminal code so that single-game sports betting could now be allowed. Since then, sports gambling has exploded in popularity and millions of Canadians have started doing it for fun.
As of 2024, many betting operators in Canada have arrived on the market. All of these sites and apps are officially licensed and regulated, which means they’re safe for people to use. The only catch is that you must be aged 19 or over. Or, in some Canadian provinces, including Quebec, Alberta, and Manitoba, you can gamble online at 18 years old.
Regulatory Concerns About Sports Betting in Canada
Now, as mentioned a little earlier on, some regulatory concerns about sports betting in Canada have arisen over recent years. Specifically, these concerns surround the following issues:
- A low level of risk awareness among young Canadian adults
- A lack of responsible gambling programs available to the public
- Match fixing and athletes betting on sports
On top of this, there’s also major concern about sports betting advertisements in Canada. Currently, an intense debate surrounding sports betting ads is taking place in Canada, with many believing that they should be banned entirely. The first step has already been made in regards to this, as athletes (and some celebrities) will officially no longer be allowed to make appearances in commercials that promote online gambling in Ontario. For instance, if Keanu Reeves wanted to appear in a Canadian sports betting ad, he wouldn’t be allowed. This was originally proposed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and could eventually lead to a widespread ban on sports betting advertisements throughout the entirety of Canada.
Because Canada sports betting is still in its infancy, the other regulatory concerns, such as a low level of risk awareness amongst young adults, have yet to be truly addressed by higher authorities. For now, it’s business as usual for operators, but there could be big changes coming in the future.
Is Canada Sports Betting Safe?
Whether you or a close friend want to bet on sports in Canada, you can have peace of mind knowing that it’s a safe activity to do, provided that you’re above the legal gambling age and always gamble responsibly. Many gambling operators are making a shift towards promoting safe gambling practices, which is why you can always contact them directly if you need additional help or advice.