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All You Need to Know About Online Sports Betting in Canada

If we ask you to put a stereotype on men, the first thing that probably pops into your mind is sports. But right now, it’s not only the men who enjoy sports. Pretty anyone is entitled to like them or not. From what we’ve seen, people who’re interested in sports are often interested in sports betting too.

This brings us to the topic of our discussion today. Online sports betting. As a whole, sports betting is older than casino games. Many historians agree that in ancient Rome, people used to bet on fights among Gladiators. Although it’s not considered a sport anymore, it was back in the day.

Over the many years, the activity has evolved a lot. Our guide today will shed light on how modern sports betting works and why it is one of the most fascinating online activities you can do in Canada. At the same time, we’re going to focus on the online bonus you can get on these sites.

What is Sports Betting?

Before we go any further with the discussion of online sports betting bonus or anything else, you must understand what sports betting is. Thankfully, it’s not a hard concept to grasp. You “bet” on “sports”. That’s about it. At least, for the first layer of understanding.

From here on, we can go deeper, one step at a time. The next probable question is what sports do you bet on? The answer is very satisfactory in this case as well. You get pretty much all the sports you can think of for betting!

It surely includes soccer, American football, Canadian football, ice hockey, field hockey, MMA, motorsports, golf, rugby, Australian Rules, darts, snooker, Waterpolo, handball, volleyball, and whatnot.

And if you’re fortunate enough to have access to a reputed online bookmaker, you may as well get unique sports like boxing, alpine skiing, cycling, biathlon, padel, lacrosse, Pesapallo (Finnish baseball), and so on.

Last but not least, some operators take matters too far and start offering unique aspects of the activity that no one thought were possible. For starters, betting on political outcomes, reality show winners/eliminations, and award winner predictions.

As you can see, the world of sports betting has become quite wild over the years and Canadian punters seem to enjoy every bit of it! As industry professionals, we enjoy bringing them to you as well!

Is Sports Betting Legal in Canada?

One of the most important questions you can ask before starting sports betting is whether it’s legal in Canada or not. Because if it’s not and you start betting at an offshore site, you might get into legal trouble with the government.

Thankfully, that’s not going to happen in Canada because the government regulated and legalized sports betting way back in 1985. Sure, online sports betting was not a thing back then but it laid the bricks of a very flourished market.

Fast forward to today, you can also participate in online sports betting. Although the government didn’t declare it explicitly, the provincial governments have been offering betting lines on their websites for years!

The only thing that was missing from the paradigm was single-game wagering. It’s exactly what it sounds like. You couldn’t bet on only one or a “single” game for real money. Instead, you had to create “parlay bets” which are known as accumulators in Europe and Asia.

But after the C-218 bill passed, Canada has become a full-fledged online sport betting jurisdiction. You can bet on single matches all you want along with the parlays you’ve mastered over the years. At the same time, the government has allowed provincial authorities to regulate online gambling.

It has already resulted in a massive influx of offshore betting sites. Ontario is the first one to get out of its cocoon and sanction offshore sites left and right. All major US-based sports betting sites are now available to Ontarian people!

Although the rest of the provinces are yet to make a bold move, you can expect an uprising in the industry very soon. Until that happens, you can just keep betting on the offshore sites that are licensed elsewhere.

So, there should be no doubt about the legality of betting in Canada in your mind.

Sports Betting Must-Knows

If you want to understand a concept or an industry, you always need to start from the basics. Without any doubt, the same goes for sports betting. And when it comes to sports betting, we believe there are 3 major areas of concern for punters.

In this section, let us lay down the foundations of the areas so that you know what exactly you’re doing when betting in Canada.

Sports Betting Odds

First up, the odds. It’s one of those terms you’ll keep hearing repeatedly in the online sports betting world. In traditional terms, odds imply probability. But in sports betting, they imply both probability and your winning potential. It’ll become clearer when we explain it with an example. But first, the formats.

In general, there are three main formats that punters use all over the world. The decimal, the fractional, and the American odds. In Canada, both American and Decimal odds are popular. Instead of picking one, let’s just cover both.

ü  Decimal Odds

As the name suggests, this format uses a decimal point system to project the odds. In simple words, it’s a multiplier for your bet. If you multiply your bet with the projected odds, you get the final payout. And if you deduct the bet from the payout, you have your profit. For example, If the odds are 2.00 for Toronto Maple Leafs in a match, it means you can win twice your bet as the payout.

Of course, we’ve simplified the odds here for better understanding. If the odds were 2.35, which is very possible, you may need a calculator.

Decimal odds also tell you which team is the favorite and which team is the underdog. We used 2.00 as an example because it has significance. According to the mathematical law of probability, 2.00 means there’s a 50% chance the event will occur.

So, teams that project lower than 2.00 odds are usually favorites and when it’s over 2.00, it’s the underdog.

ü  American Odds

This format of betting odds is used across the USA. That’s why it’s named this way in the first place. Canadian punters also love this format because it has a sense of technicality to it.

The most important thing you need to keep in mind when you’re reading American odds is that it’s based on a $100 transaction. Also, mathematical operators are used to distinguishing between the favorite and the underdog teams or players. Minus (-) is for the favorite and plus (+) is for the underdog.

If you come across (-150) odds for a team, it means you need to wager $150 to make a $100 profit, if the team wins, of course.

Similarly, (+150) odds mean you can make a $150 profit if you wager $100. It’s a little confusing in the beginning but as you make more bets, it’ll become intuitive for you.

Sports Betting Markets

Once you understand how to read the odds, it comes down to how you can use it in betting. That’s where the markets come in. The odds are actually projected for a market rather than a match or a sport.

In our discussion of odds, we’ve already covered one of the many markets, the “match winner”. It’s the most common market you can find at an online betting site and it applies to pretty much every sport imaginable.

Then, there are other universal markets like over/under, handicap, 1x2, etc.

Over/under is a simple bet where you go against the bookmaker’s prediction. For example, if it’s a football match, the bookmaker may predict that there will be 3 goals in total. Your job is to bet either over 3 goals or under 3 goals. The odds are offered on “over” and “under” separately.

Lastly, there are unique markets, also known as props or propositional markets. These bets usually don’t have a direct impact on the outcome of the match. They’re very entertaining because sportsbooks can really dial in their creativity.

“Who will score the first goal” is a great example of props bets. It often doesn’t matter who’s the first scorer but it’s a fun little way to test your intuition with a twist of real money winnings.

Keep in mind that different bookmakers in Canada may label the markets at their discretion. So, you may not find the exact markets we’ve discussed in this post.


Although this is not one of the fundamentals of sports betting, understanding the caliber of the tournaments can help you bet more smartly. For football, the biggest showdown of strength is the FIFA World Cup. The most elite national soccer teams face each other for the title of world champion.

Naturally, the matches are very high-voltage and the odds are going to reflect it. Many seasonal punters target only high-voltage events such as this to make the most out of their time.

And for regular punters, soccer events like the UEFA Champions League, Premier League in England, Independence Cup in India, Serie A in Italy, and La Liga in Spain are always offered throughout the year.

We’re using soccer as the example for most of our discussion because it’s one of the easiest sports to understand. You can apply the same concept to any of the other ones the site of your choice might be offering.

Sports Betting Bonuses

Finally, the section you’ve all been waiting for! The online bonus offers you can get online sports betting sites. Just like any other online bonus, sports betting bonuses are designed to keep the punters happy in Canada. Let’s take a look at how they are and what they mean.

Free Bets

Free bets are practically vouchers for your bets. You can only get them on online bookmakers which makes them exclusive to this industry. They’re exactly what they sound like. They’re bets that you can place on online betting sites, for free.

For the most part, free bet tokens or tickets are offered on predefined sports. Some reputed bookmakers make things even more interesting by offering the entire sports library available for use.

Throughout the process, you must adhere to the minimum odds requirements for all of your selections. If you don’t do that, the free bets will become null and void.

There’s another variant of the free bets known as risk-free bets. These work in a very similar way as the free bets but they come with the guarantee of no loss. Essentially, if your bet loses, the operator will refund the bet value as real money into your account. And if your selections win, you get paid according to the projected odds.

Free bets are often compared to free spins as the sports betting counterpart of online casinos. While that makes a lot of sense for the average punter, there are some fundamental differences. For starters, you need to use the entire free bet at once. On the other hand, the total value of the free spins offer is usually distributed over 10/20/50/100 free spins.

Match Bonuses

If you’ve read our casino online bonus guide, you may already know what these are. But for our new readers, let’s shed some light on the infamous deposit match bonuses in Canadian online sportsbooks.

When we say “match”, it means that the bonus amount will be tied to your deposit amount. Ideally, “match” means a 100% bonus. But there’s always room for the operators to change the value. It might be a 50% match, a 75% match, a 150% match, or whatever is feasible for the operator.

The biggest benefit of such monetary bonuses is that you can really dial in the bets you want to place. As there are no restrictions on what sports you can choose, you’re not as restricted as the free bets.

Another thing we really like about these bonuses is that they’re withdrawable bonuses in most cases. It means you can withdraw the bonus directly. But for free bets, you can only withdraw the winnings from the bet. It limits how much you can win because it depends on the odds of a particular event.

Odds Boost

By now, it should be clear to you that the odds are the ultimate tool to maximize your winning potential at online sportsbooks. But what if the operator decides to boost your winnings even further by boosting your odds?

That’s exactly what happens when you participate in an odds boost campaign. The concept is simple. Whatever the odds are projected for a particular event, it gets boosted when you add to your bet slip. As a result, the final payout you’re supposed to get improves a lot.

The only drawback of this kind of bonus is that you can’t win anything if the selection loses. Also, if it’s an ACCA boost bonus, all of the selections in your accumulator bet must come true. If you’re not familiar with accumulators, you may know it as a parlay bet.

Bet of the Day

Bet of the Day is not a direct promotion or bonus for the real money punters. Rather, these are boosted events that the operator believes are most likely to win. Although these bets win in most cases because online bookmakers have amazing resources, you can’t blindly trust every single bet.

So, when you’re trying to utilize bet of the day events, make sure you do your own research to verify whether the prediction is accurate or not.


Jackpots in online sportsbooks are not the same as in online casinos. In an online casino, a “jackpot” often refers to a massive win, generated from a progressive or a fixed jackpot game. And when we use the term in real life, we refer to unexpected surprises.

However, in an online sportsbook, jackpots are a kind of competition where you submit your selections. The higher your accuracy rate is, the more you can get paid from a massive prize pool. These bonuses are not very common in Canada but you can still find them.

For example, if a jackpot bonus is letting you submit 10 selections for 10 different football matches, you need to win at least 8 of them to be one of the winners. Some bookmakers may even bump the minimum winning requirement to 9 selections. It’s completely at the bookmaker’s discretion.

If you win less than the minimum threshold, you lose the money you spend on the ticket. However, if some of the matches are postponed or canceled, punters get a refund from jackpots.

Racebook Bonuses

A racebook is not a very common entity in Canada. The main reason is that bookmakers usually don’t label it that way. The ones that do include special bets for horse racing, greyhound racing, motorsports, etc.

If you haven’t guessed already, the sports that can be considered a “race” are listed in the racebook section. As the markets are different from usual team-based sports, the bonuses tend to vary too.

Terms and Conditions for Sports Betting Bonus

All of the bonuses we discussed above come with some terms and conditions. It’s pretty much true for all online bonuses you can get. Let’s go over them real quick so you have a good idea of what you’re getting into.

Minimum Odds

Let’s start with the unique one. You’ll find this restriction only on sportsbook bonuses. You already know how to read the odds. And when you read the terms of free bets or the conditions for the wagering requirements.

As odds are directly associated with your winnings, you would think that online bookmakers would put a restriction on maximum odds while you place the selections. But in reality, they put a restriction on minimum odds.

The reason is simple. Odds not only project your winnings but also project the likelihood of the event. If there are no minimum odds restrictions, punters can utilize the extreme favorite markets only. It’s not fair for the sportsbook operator to do that.

Minimum Number of Selections

Along with the minimum odds, operators put a restriction on how many selections you must add to your bet slip. It’s also written in the T&C section of the website. Just look in there and you’ll know exactly how many selections you need to add.

From what we’ve seen, the operators ask you to add at least 3 selections for a bet that belongs to the promotions. Then again, it’s going to vary from bookie to bookie because it’s going to depend on the overall policy of the bookmaker.

Wagering Requirements

Wagering requirements are also there for sports bonuses, just like you may have read for the casino bonus. However, the multiplier for the bonus is quite low compared to the casino counterpart.

In general, online casino bonuses have a 40x wagering requirement. Keep in mind that it’s not the only wagering requirement, it just happens to be the most common one.

In retrospect, sportsbook wagering requirements range between 1x to 10x. It’s simply because you have more control over the variables when you’re betting. In a casino game, it’s completely reliant on your luck.

You also need to maintain the minimum odds as well as minimum selections requirement while you’re wagering. It’s one of the reasons we covered them both before wagering requirements.

Expiry Dates

Similar to every other bonus you might encounter online, you should look into the terms and conditions for the expiry date. Anything from the free bets to the boosted odds will have an expiry date. Make sure you comply with all the terms within the assigned time.  

Best Picks

This is the section where we list the best bonuses for you in Canada. We have looked into many online sportsbooks in the country and gathered the most generous and most user-friendly bonuses for you.

Powbet Canada - 100% Up to $150

This is Powbet’s welcome bonus for the sports bettors in Canada. On your first deposit, you can win up to $150 as a 100% match. You need to deposit at least $30 to trigger this bonus. Also, you need to wager it 6 times at a minimum of 1.50 odds for multiple selections and at least 2.00 odds for single events.

Melbet Canada – 100% Match Up to $150

This is a very similar bonus to Powbet. You get your first deposit matched up to $150. However, the minimum deposit to trigger this bonus is $1 only! You must wager the bonus 5 times before you can withdraw it. Your bets must include at least 3 selections and a minimum of 1.40 odds.

Betfinal Sports Welcome Bonus – 100% Match Up to $100

Within only 3 steps, you can win up to $100 in Canada with Betfinal. Betfinal is an excellent choice of the online bookmaker in Canada considering all the sports options and ongoing bonuses. As for the welcome bonus, you only need to deposit $30 to trigger it.