Canada’s online gambling legislation is arguably one of the world’s least clear and most difficult to understand. Since the 1990s, the only way to officially legally gamble in Canada was through state run sports lotteries, that only allowed users to bet on parlays up until 2021. That being said, offshore bookmakers where never exactly outlawed, which made them grow in popularity amongst the Canadian public. With offshore bookmakers still available in all provinces in Canada barring Ontario, with Ontario recently have legalised sports betting, do these provincial sports lotteries stand a chance in the new gambling landscape in Canada?
There are certainly pros, as well as cons with using these provincial state run lotteries. Considering the pros, for one, they’re officially legal in each of the provinces they’re active in. Secondly, they’ve all started accepting single game bets, which is part of the new development of the safe and regulated sports betting act that was rolled out in August of 2021. Lastly, they’ve been around for some time, and offer extensive platforms that users can enjoy.
As for the cons, Canada’s state run provincial lotteries offer less features compared to the legal betting sites available in Ontario, and the offshore bookmakers available in the rest of the country. What’s more, is that the value promised on these provincial lotteries is nowhere near what’s available on commercial bookmakers, especially when it comes to the odds that are on offer. Lastly, features such as bet builders, cash out, and live streaming are seldom available on these provincial run lotteries.
With the pros and cons in mind, could it be that Canada is starting to see the beginning of the end for these provincial platforms? Alex Goldstein from leading bookmaker review website, mybettingsites.com/ca seems to think so.
When asked about what the future holds for provincial sports lotteries in Canada, Goldstein mentioned that while there is a big chance that they will continue to exist, he expects that both licensed online bookmakers, and offshore bookmakers will continue to claim a bigger and bigger stake in a market that is already seeing the number of users on Canada’s provincial lotteries dwindling.
Well respected Canadian news website, CBC, during their coverage of single game betting being legalised, mentioned that the current market share of gamblers playing on provincial lotteries in Canada is a bit of a grim picture for these platforms, as the market is currently dominated by offshore bookmakers, and illegal Canadian bookmakers.
Goldstein mentions that this is largely due to the gap between what is offered on these provincial lotteries, and what users can access on the the list of licensed commercial bookmakers in Ontario, as well as the offshore bookmakers available in the rest of Canada’s provinces and territories. The features, value, and overall experience is quite simply incomparable between what these different platform types offer.
While provincial lotteries have served Canadian users well over the last few decades, and while their platforms continue to improve from a perspective of what they have to offer, the choice of different bookmakers available, as well as all that the features and value available will make it increasingly difficult for these provincial lotteries to continue to exist.