A look into the future of esports betting in Canada

By William Davis


Apr 14, 2022

Reading time: 4 min

Canadian gambling laws have undergone huge changes over the past few months and further changes have continued into this year. Prior to 2021, all forms of gambling were prohibited apart from certain provincially approved options.

Single-bet sports betting or single-game betting was banned in all provinces, even though other types of gambling were permitted. While casinos are run by private companies, the suppliers of these services are technically the gambling authorities. 

While the operation of online casinos and betting sites is not allowed within Canada, Canadian players are able to enjoy these forms of gambling on offshore sites. These sites are based outside Canada but are still accessible to Canadians. 

The popularity of online gambling in Canada

Despite Canada’s restrictive gambling laws, online gambling is actually very popular with the Canadian population. It has been estimated that up to 65 percent of the country’s adult residents will place a bet online in the next year.

In the last year, over $15 million dollars has been spent on sports betting in Canada, with this revenue going to offshore betting sites. There is clearly a big appetite for sports betting in the country, with sports such as basketball, hockey, baseball, football and tennis being popular options for online bettors.

The popularity of online gambling and sports betting in particular is on the rise and the Canadian government finally seems to be recognizing the level of demand. As a result, it is now  making changes to the relevant laws and regulations in the country.

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Sports betting laws are undergoing big changes

There are many changes underway but amendment bill C-218 that came into force in August 2021 has had a huge impact. This bill legalizes sports betting with betting on single events within the country.

Legislation has also changed in Ontario to let privately run betting companies offer sportsbooks with single-event betting. No other provinces seem ready to follow Ontario’s lead.

According to bestonlinecasinoontario.ca, it is possible that lawmakers in other provinces are waiting to see what happens in Ontario before making a decision themselves. Ontario has a population of over 14 million residents and it’s now estimated that gambling revenue in the province could reach $800 million this year.

It has also been predicted that as a result of the legalization of single-event sports betting and general market growth, the country’s gambling industry could be worth $28 billion dollars in the next five years.

Esports betting is popular worldwide

In recent years we have seen the esports gaming industry grow significantly around the world, with people not only participating in esports but an even bigger number also enjoy watching esports competitions and tournaments.

Esports is a type of competitive video gaming where players, who are often professionals, compete in an organized setting. While we often picture sports as something that happens outside on a track or pitch, competitive gaming is now viewed as a sport in its own right and huge competitions take place annually in many different countries. 

Esports are often watched by viewers on streaming sites like Twitch, though competitions can also be broadcasted on YouTube, Facebook, or through television networks. 

Many sports betting sites now give customers the opportunity to bet on esports alongside traditional sports. While esports was insignificantly small industry just one decade ago, prizes for competitors in the biggest international tournaments can be millions of dollars and millions of fans tune in. 

Bettors can place bets on a certain player or team winning a tournament, or on a specific event happening within the game. Esports betting works the same as traditional sports betting and is being added as a betting option on many of the top sportsbook sites.

Some of the most popular games that are covered by sportsbooks are:

  • Dota 2
  • Call of Duty
  • League of Legends
  • Counter Strike: Global Offensive
  • Rocket League
  • Valorant

Millions of spectators around the world will log onto streaming sites to watch these tournaments as players progress through the competition. They can place bets before the event has begun or during the competition. 

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Could esports betting become popular in Canada following changes to gambling legislation?

As sports betting becomes increasingly popular in Canada, we can expect esports betting to follow the same trend. Many Canadians already bet on esports competitions through offshore betting sites.

With regulation changes, the number of sportsbook operators offering esports betting within the country is likely to rise, giving bettors more options for both betting sites and the types of games they can bet on. The growth of this market will likely depend on whether other provinces follow Ontario’s lead in relaxing gambling restrictions and how quickly they do so.