Yes, betting on sports online is legal in Canada.  It’s the accepting of wagers by a Canadian company or individual that the government does not allow….

Legal To Place Wagers

There is nothing outlined in the Canadian Criminal Code that suggests it’s illegal to place bets online.  Canada does not have an equivalent to the Wire Act in the United States

Sports Betting Canadian Picture

I know several people who bet on sports online professionally and they’ve never had any legal issues with the government.

Illegal To Accept Wagers

Though it’s legal for Canadians to place wagers at online betting sites, it’s illegal to actually run one of these sites if you’re located in Canada.  This is why all of the sportsbooks marketed towards Canadians are licensed and located either internationally or on a First Nations Reserve.

Here’s where our 3 top rated sports betting sites for Canadians are located and licensed:

  • Bet365 – licensed in Gibraltar and located in England
  • Bodog – licensed and located in Antigua
  • Sports Interaction – Kahnawake First Nations Reserve (about 15 minutes outside of Montreal)

Current Sports Betting Climate In Canada

Some people consider online sports betting a grey legal area, but the fact is that until the Canadian government begins taking action against sports betting sites that accept Canadians and promote their sportsbook in Canada then we can consider sports betting as a whole legal in Canada.

Here are some examples that show online sports betting is accepted and thus “legal” in Canada:

  • It’s legal for online betting sites to promote their businesses in Canada.
    • Bet365 has sponsored the Toronto Argonauts.  While I was at a game they gave every one in attendance a prop sheet to fill out for potential prizes.
    • Sports Interaction currently has sponsorship deals in place with several CFL teams.
    • Sports Interaction and Bodog advertise throughout Canada including on prominent sports channels, such as Sportsnet and TSN.
  • Almost every online betting site accepts wagers from Canadians.
  • I’ve never heard of anyone in Canada being prosecuted for placing bets online.
  • Bodog and Sports Interaction only accepts Canadian bettors and are entirely focused on building their Canadian client base.

Do I Have To Pay Taxes On Sports Betting Winnings?

This depends.

If you are a professional sports bettor and your sports betting winnings are your primary income, then YES you must declare your sports betting winnings at tax time.

If you simply bet on sports as a hobby and either maintain a full time job, or do not profit enough to classify sports betting as an expected income then you do not need to claim your winnings as taxable income.

***I’m not an accountant and if you are unsure of which category your sports betting falls into I would suggest consulting your tax accountant.