The Emergence of Single-Game Sports Betting in Canada


  • John T. Holden Oklahoma State University



sports wagering, gambling, Canada


Canadians, like their neighbors to the south, have been betting on the outcomes of sporting events for many years. Until recently, those wagering on the outcome of a single game have done so either socially, illegally, or in a vast grey market. While many Canadians have had access to parlay-style wagering since the 1980s, single-game wagering has been out of reach until recently. After more than a decade of trying to pass legislation to amend the Criminal Code of Canada, Parliament was finally able to amend the law in 2021, allowing provinces to begin offering wagering on the outcome of individual sporting events. While nearly all provinces turned
to their lottery operators, who had previously offered parlay wagering, Ontario announced prior to the amendment’s passage that it intended to open the market to private operators. A little more than six months after first launching single-game sports betting via the province’s lottery corporation, the market opened to private operators. The “grand experiment” remains young, and many questions remain to be answered including whether revenues will match that of a provincially operated monopoly. This article explores the evolution of the legalization of single-game sports wagering in Canada and discusses the emerging market.

Author Biography

John T. Holden, Oklahoma State University

John T. Holden, PhD, JD, is an associate professor of legal studies in the Department of Management in the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University. His research interests include sport corruption and gambling regulation.






Original Research