Ontario Gambling and Casinos

Ontario online gambling will explode in 2022 with a huge range of new options for bettors in Canada’s most populous province. Ontario is home to almost 15 million people.

This site is a resource for sports and casino players about Ontario’s betting options and gambling laws.

The goal is to dispel confusion about what Ontario players can and cannot gamble on.

We’ll keep you in the loop by covering the latest changes to Ontario’s gambling laws and the introduction of new legal frameworks.

Our list of the best online casinos in Ontario is also frequently updated to direct you to games and bonuses.

A long list of new legal online casino and sports betting operators are expected to launch in Ontario in the spring of 2022. Consider this your best source for the latest information.

Ontario gambling laws

The province has a very liberal position on gambling. Almost every form of gambling in Ontario is legal, but controlled under strict regulation.

These regulations mainly concern online gambling. All legal online gambling options for consumers are condensed on a single website run by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. This is where you can find casino games, bet single-game sports, purchase lottery tickets, and play instant games.

Ontario residents spend nearly half a billion dollars on offshore gaming sites. That lost revenue has led the government of Ontario to move toward making online gambling legal in the province. Early in 2022, the government is expected to license private companies to run online casinos and sportsbooks through iGaming Ontario, a new agency created in the summer of 2021 to manage the market.

These operators were expected to launch in February or March. However, there are signs these estimates may be too optimistic. The launch of the open market may have to wait until after the provincial election, which will be held no later than June 2, 2021.

Opening the online gaming market will be a historic leap for gambling in Ontario. While it won’t guarantee that players completely shun offshore sites, it will keep a large portion of their spending in the province and stimulate further growth.

When it comes to land-based gambling, things are pretty clear-cut. Commercial casinos with video slots, video poker and table games, and community poker games can operate with the proper license. So, too, can bingo halls and racetracks. OLG’s sports betting service, called Proline Plus, allows for in-person and online single-event and parlay bets.

Here are some of the major rules and facts regarding gambling in Ontario:

  • The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is in charge of regulating the gambling sector in the province. AGCO established iGaming Ontario to license the new online operators.
  • Gambling in Ontario is regulated under the 1992 Gaming Control Act and the 1999 Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation Act.
  • The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. is a government-owned Crown corporation tasked with running the province’s lottery and overseeing the operations of casinos, slot machines, horse racing and charitable gambling.
  • Horse racing venues with on-site and off-track betting, commercial and First Nations casinos, bingo halls and the lottery are all legal in Ontario.
  • Sports betting is legal but limited to the Proline service via OLG. Single-game betting is now allowed through Proline Plus. At physical lottery retailers, only parlay wagering is still allowed on sports.
  • The minimum gambling age for casino visitors in Ontario is 19. You need to be at least 18 to purchase lottery tickets.
Ontario Casinos

Ontario currently has over 70 registered casino establishments scattered around the province, with more expected to open in the coming years. These casinos range from large resorts such as Fallsview Casino Resort, which features over 3,000 slots and more than 100 table games, to smaller casinos with just a few hundred games total. Land-based casino gambling is legal in Ontario and overseen by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Casino visitors must be at least 19 years old to enter any casino in the province. There are currently 28 major casino sites in the province covering all the major regions.

Poker Rooms

Community poker is another very popular form of gambling in Ontario. Casinos can offer a poker room on their premises. However, not every land-based casino in Ontario has one, and only the largest gambling venues have poker rooms with enough tables to play host to mid-to high-level tournaments. If you visit one of these casinos, you’ll find plenty of Texas Hold’em cash games. This is the most popular form of poker in Canada.

Sports Betting

Sports betting is legal in Ontario, but it does come with several significant restrictions. First, you can only legally wager on sports in Ontario by using the Proline Plus sports betting service from the OLG. You can fill out betting slips at a lottery retailer or place bets online. The OLG recently added single-sports betting to its online offerings, meaning you are no longer required to place parlay bets. However, parlay wagering is the only legal way to bet on sports at physical lottery retail locations. Online at olg.ca, the versatility of betting markets is also expanded, with live betting joining moneyline, point spread and over/under bets for most games. More operators are on the way in the spring of 2022.

Bingo Halls

Eligible organisations that work under a proper license can conduct real money bingo events, as bingo is considered a lottery game under AGCO rules as long as there is a money prize involved. There are dozens of bingo halls in Ontario, most notably Six Nations Bingo, a venue that plays host to sessions with hundreds of players. However, bingo is mainly considered a social pastime in the province and is primarily played among seniors and at charitable events. Charity gambling is another legal form of gambling in Ontario.

Horse Racing

Betting on horse racing was the first legal form of wagering in Canada. The Ontario Racing Commission was formed in 1950 to regulate and oversee horse racing activities in the province, including betting on horse races. Even before the establishment of ORC, the province allowed pari-mutuel wagering — meaning bettors compete against each other, not the house. Today, horse racing is regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). There are 14 racetracks in Ontario — 12 Standardbred tracks (harness racing), two Thoroughbred facilities and one Quarter Horse track —  where you can place bets. There are also numerous facilities where you can try off-track wagering. Wagers on horse racing can also be placed online and through mobile apps through the HorsePlayer Interactive (HPI) system, which also controls the physical off-track wagering sites through its 50 Champions network teletheatres in the province. Several racetracks in Ontario also feature attached casinos run by commercial operators. Most tracks have some form of additional gaming.

 

Ontario Lottery

Lottery games in Ontario began in 1975, making it the second legal form of gambling in the province after horse racing. For the first 25 years, the lottery was regulated by the Ontario Lottery Corporation. In 2000, the OLC and the Ontario Casino Corporation were combined to form the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). The OLG is a Crown Corporation owned by the province of Ontario. The provincial lottery offers national games such as Lotto 6/49 and Lotto Max, as well as several daily draw games, including Pick 2, Pick 3, Pick 4, Poker Lotto and Wheel of Fortune Lotto. OLG also operates several land-based casinos, slot machine facilities and bingo halls throughout Ontario. Its official website olg.ca introduced online gambling services with several options, including slots, table games, poker, bingo and sports wagering. Players can purchase lottery tickets online, as well.

Canada’s laws and Ontario gambling

Canada has been very strict on gambling ever since introducing its first gambling laws. The country’s Criminal Code, enacted in 1892, forbade all forms of gambling on a federal level.

However, over time, Canada became a little more lenient when it came to gambling. Betting on horse races was officially allowed in 1969, the same year Quebec established a lottery. In 1985, provinces and territories received the green light to decide how they would oversee gambling activities within their borders.

Ontario is one of the most liberal provinces when it comes to gambling and has the highest number of land-based casinos and gambling establishments in Canada. Almost all of Ontario’s residents are within a few hours’ drive of a casino.

Apart from being found in almost every casino, video slot machines are common at racetracks. Horse racing is immensely popular in the province, and you can find a racetrack in or around most major cities.

Ontario established its lottery in 2000, giving players a choice between several national and local draw games. What’s more, the Ontario Lottery offers sports betting via its Proline service, which allows online betting.

Proline Plus added single-sports betting in August 2021 after the Criminal Code was updated to allow the wagers.

Ontario’s gambling landscape is shifting again with online gambling expected to be legal in the spring of 2022. The provincial government is establishing legal frameworks to license independent online casinos and sportsbooks. Still, Ontarians might need to wait a couple more months before everything kicks off. Ontario’s new online gambling market may have to wait after the 2022 provincial election, which must be held before June 2.

Ontario Gambling FAQ

Is online gambling legal in Ontario?

You can legally gamble online in Ontario, but only through the official website of the province’s lottery. The site features over 100 games, including video slots, video poker and table games. The site also allows you to purchase lottery tickets and place sports wagers through the Proline Plus service.

Who regulates Ontario gambling?

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario regulates all gambling in the province, both land-based and digital, and reports to the Ministry of the Attorney General.

Does Ontario have a self-exclusion program?

Yes, the OLG offers a self-exclusion program to people looking to restrict their access to gambling in the province. The program features three exclusion options: Charitable Gaming Self-Exclusion (applied to charitable bingo halls and other gaming centres), OLG Self-Exclusion (applied to online gambling through the OLG website), and Gaming Self-Exclusion (applied to all casinos and the OLG website). You can choose to self-exclude for six months, a year or indefinitely.

Do I have to pay taxes on my winnings?

In general, no. The law only makes an exception if gambling constitutes a business venture, as is the case with professional poker. Lottery winnings are considered windfalls and are not taxable, either.

Responsible gambling resources

No matter how much fun you’re having, you should always practice gambling with a dose of caution. Gambling addiction is present in Ontario, as it is in other parts of Canada and the world. There are, however, plenty of services in Ontario that help problem gamblers, either through self-exclusion programs or support centres.