On April 4th, 2022, the online sports betting market officially opened in Ontario. It quickly became a thriving ecosystem, with some of the world’s top sports betting operators entering the region. Typically, the top betting sites online today offer both sports betting and esports betting markets, attracting a ‘hybrid’ crowd. This is the case in Ontario, and now, thanks to changes in laws and the creation of governing organisations, esports fans in Ontario can place wagers on their favourite games.
So, how can you be absolutely certain you’re placing legal, safe bets when taking part in esports betting in Canada?
Is Esports Betting Legal in Ontario?
In June of 2021, an agency was formed known as ‘iGaming Ontario’. As part of a grand push to legalise sports betting markets, the AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario) assembled the agency, putting in place a chief goal to roll out and regulate sports betting markets. It was a relatively quick journey from conception to launch, and within a few short months, online sports betting markets were opened up across the province.
As a part of this revolutionary change in regulations, esports betting markets were also made available in the region. Together with the AGCO, iGaming Ontario produced and published a list of approved betting operators, many of which offer esports betting odds and markets. This list contains all of the top esports betting sites in Ontario, every one of them safe, reputable, and popular. If a bettor is placing wagers on esports markets using one of these platforms in Ontario, they’re operating within the confines of the law.
In the last decade or so, esports betting has been on a rapid rise, expanding globally and attracting millions of bettors. It’s a lucrative market, and there are plenty of esports fans in the province of Ontario eager to place wagers on some of the world’s top esports games. As of mid-2022, Ontario esports betting is alive and well, thanks to progressive changes in the province’s laws.
Ontario Esports Betting: A Timeline of Events
It may have been a short journey, but it was a long time coming. For esports fans in North America, betting on esports tournaments has been a difficult subject for quite a while. However, between June 2021 and April 2022, several changes put into place in Ontario opened up at least one new market on the continent. From start to finish, here are the steps that were taken to legalise esports betting in Ontario:
- June 2021: iGaming Ontario is established by the AGCO, and Bill C-218 is passed by the Senate. As a key part of the process, this allowed sportsbooks to apply for a sports betting license in Ontario.
- August 2021: The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) officially launched single-game betting options.
- December 2021: iGaming Ontario grants any registered operator the ability to offer sports betting services to Ontario residents.
- April 2022: Online sports betting markets in Ontario are launched in full – several top operators enter the market.
By mid-2022, the province’s betting markets were thriving, and several esports betting sites in Ontario were enjoying positive growth. As time pushed on, more legal gambling sites were approved by iGaming Ontario, expanding the list and giving bettors more options to potentially make money through betting. From the start, the venture was designed to be as well-regulated as possible, with iGaming Ontario serving as the governing body to support the entire endeavour.
As per the organisation’s operating statement, the agency’s goal is to:
‘Build a leading iGaming market in Ontario to help protect consumers and provide more choice and opportunities while creating a level playing field for new businesses.’
However, it isn’t just the approval of new betting platforms that falls within iGaming Ontario’s remit. As an end-to-end agency, iGaming Ontario also operates a rigorous anti-money laundering program. It’s also an agency put in place to protect gamblers, ensuring all platforms have strong player protection mechanics in place, and that they’re following responsible gambling practices.
Advantages of Using a Legal Sportsbook in Ontario
There’s no real sense in using an unlicensed, unapproved betting platform to place wagers. In Ontario, legal gambling sites enjoy the advantageous position of being fully supported by iGaming Ontario. It’s a badge of honour, and it proves that the betting site is technically and logically sound, secure, and safe. Before these betting sites can be approved, they must pass tests and meet criteria put in place to protect gamblers and deliver the strongest, most stable betting products possible.
As a result of the work done by iGaming Ontario, the roster of betting sites approved to operate in the province makes up some of the best sites in the business. If you’re looking for esports betting sites in Ontario, you can’t possibly go wrong with a single approved platform on the list put forward by the agency. It’s important to stress that the use of a non-approved, unlicensed platform in the province could leave you, the bettor, in a sticky, risky situation.
If you were to use an illegal sportsbook in Ontario and something went wrong, you may not be in the strongest position, legally speaking. If you’re trying to find esports betting odds on an unlicensed platform in Ontario, you may need to use a VPN, which in itself isn’t at all advised. By doing this, you’re circumventing laws put in place to protect bettors, both esports gamblers and otherwise.
If you’re betting on a legal gambling site in Ontario, you can rest assured you’re as safe as can be.
What Features Should a Strong Bookmaker Include?
It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to take part in Call of Duty League betting or trying to place wagers on The International, you’ll want to be doing so in as safe an environment as possible. Fortunately, the Ontario esports betting scene is made up almost entirely of top-tier betting sites that are inherently safe and responsible. This is arguably one of the most important aspects of a ‘strong bookmaker’, as a safe bettor is a happy bettor.
For the best esports betting sites in Ontario – or sports betting sites, for that matter – it’s often the aesthetic that draws in users. While many users will avoid judging a book by its cover, it must be said that a great-looking betting site will pull in and retain more users than a bad-looking platform. It’s not a requirement for iGaming Ontario’s approval process, but an attractive platform will usually fare much better in the popularity stakes.
Ultimately, it can’t be an argument of style over substance – some of the best betting sites in Ontario back up their appearance with a wide range of markets and odds. At the top of the table sit some impressive platforms, which will often boast sports and esports markets, virtual sports betting options, and even online casinos. They’ll typically boast competitive odds, tournaments, and certain programs designed to retain users.
Finally, there’s the transparency of a platform to consider. If it’s relatively easy to find out background information on the platform or to get help and support when needed, the average bettor will feel a little safer. Traditionally, the best betting platforms will have clearly-marked terms and conditions, a breakdown of policies, and even dense, informative FAQ sections.
With all these features combined, a strong bookmaker can be easily identified in Ontario.