Current State of the Betting Market in Canada

Sports have always been an important part of life in Canada, for players and spectators. Sport betting is a great way to feel more involved in what’s happening on the field or the rink, especially if you can’t make it to see a game in person or if your team isn’t playing. This year, the betting market in Canada is set to exceed $2 billion. Currently, Canadians spend roughly $500 million annually on parlay bets, which are far less likely to pay out since they require you to place bets on more than one game and to pick the overall winner. The recent legalization of single-game betting will make sports betting far more attractive to casual gamblers and sports fans.


There are several factors behind this growth. One major factor is accessibility. Sport betting has come a long way from the days of having to phone a bookie to find out what the odds are or go to a betting shop to place a bet. Today, online sports betting is a major industry around the world. The ease of being able to place bets on all major sports from your phone or laptop is hard to beat. In June of this year, the Senate approved Bill C-218, finally making it legal to bet on single sports games. This recent legislation mirrors changes to American gambling laws, as the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May 2018, opening the way for individual states to legalize sports betting as they see fit.


The other main driver behind the growth in the betting market is increased interest in Canadian football. For many people (especially those living elsewhere), Canada is associated only with winter sports – hockey and curling in particular. This is an incredibly limited view. Yes, we all know hockey is popular but so are soccer and football, and Canada is able to compete at the highest level in all three. This can be seen in recent years especially, with Toronto FC finishing as runners-up in the MLS Cup in 2016 and 2019, and winning it in 2017.


Of course, the NFL will always be popular and dominate the image of football in most people’s minds but the CFL’s popularity and reputation continue to grow. The NFL has been able to remain dominant in part because of the popularity of football for kids of all ages and the emphasis placed on camps and training for student athletes. Being able to compete at the same level and keep young Canadian athletes in the CFL requires the same long-term dedication to training. Camps like the CFC National Quarterback Camp are an important part of this process, helping young athletes improve their skills and become serious prospects. The CFL attracts sports bettors because it is a dynamic league that is becoming increasingly competitive and independent.


One of the reasons that interest in the CFL has increased is the number of talented young Canadian athletes playing in the NFL. Canada used to have to rely on importing American players but now the country produces players talented enough to play south of the border. Let’s take a look at some of these young men making their mark on the sport.


Antony Auclair is a tight end who plays for the Houston Texans. Born and raised in Quebec, Auclair was originally drafted by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2017 but instead chose to sign on with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent. He wasn’t on the Buccaneers starting line up for Super Bowl LV due to an injury but he still earned the championship ring, becoming the 10th Canadian to play on a winning Super Bowl team. Following that season he was transferred to the Texans and is currently on a 1 year contract.


Chase Claypool from Abbotsford, British Columbia is a rising star with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Drafted in the second round in 2020, after an impressive career at Notre Dame he has already begun to make his mark on the team. In recognition of his talent as a wide receiver, he was named to the All-Rookie Team and is definitely a player to keep an eye on.


Ajax, Ontario native Nathan Shepherd was drafted by the New York Jets in 2018. Shepherd is a defensive tackle who has had some issues with injury but has always come back stronger. With 41 tackles and 4.5 sacks in just three seasons, he’s a powerful player who keeps improving every year.

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