Gaming is big in Canada and if you have missed the arrival of Toronto Defiant, Canada’s first Overwatch League team, we are here to jog your memory. With 21.2 million players in the country and game revenues reaching $2.3 billion, the interest in electronic sports is increasing. Not only that, but players are now looking into options to place a bet on the outcome of esports contests in what may soon be one of the largest competitive video gaming markets in the world.
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Is Esports Betting Legal in Canada?
Esports fall under the same category as sports in Canada when it comes to betting. The country provides local residents with a mix of options. There are the fully authorised local bookmakers who run with a license from a governing body and then again, there are the bookmakers that are located offshore and offer bets on esports without actually being physically represented in Canada.
Laws change from one province to the next, but esports betting remains a favorite past-time, although nowhere near at the same levels as traditional sports – yet. In August, 2016, Loto-Québec, the gambling operator in the province of Québec, introduced legal sports betting options, paving the way for an exciting new segment.
It’s important to be excited about the future, as esports betting is going to hit $12 billion in net worth by 2020, estimates NJGames Content Manager Onur Unlu. Meanwhile, the Canadian landscape for esports betting continues to be tied to mainstream sports.
This means that the federal government bans the activity, but provincial state lotteries are allowed to offer parlay betting – meaning a bet consisting of two or more wagers.
In 2016, the “Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act” was introduced by Ontario MP Brian Masse. However, the proposal was struck down.
What Are the Betting Options in Canada Today?
Despite the inherent challenges to lack of single-game bets, Canadians can in fact place legal wagers on esports events. You can opt for some of the best brands in the industry worldwide, including Bet365. However, each bookmaker will have their own rules that a player must adhere to.
In addition, you can check some of the offshore websites that operate in a sort of a grey area. It’s worth noting that whatever your choice of bookmaker is, you should always double-check whether the bookmaker has been licensed by an authorized regulator – whether international or province-specific. To sum up:
- You can place legal esports bets in Canada as long as the province-based regulator approves
- Loto- Québec was the first official operator to introduce esports wagers
- You can still place bets with offshore operators and not be subject to criminal proceedings
We have also put a list of operators that you can bet at legally. All operators on our table have been play-tested and vetted to ensure that your bets will be honored and paid out in full.
Payment Methods for Canadian Players
There are several Canadian-friendly payment methods that are increasingly popular in the country. They are specific to Canadians and guarantee you fast payouts and instant deposits. The methods we recommend to Canadian gamers are:
- Bank Cards
- Pre-paid Cards
- Wire Transfers
These methods are mostly the same. In certain cases, casinos can decide whether a deposit or withdrawal would require an additional fee. The best bookmakers have footed the bill for their customers.
In terms of speed, deposits are instant and payouts will usually take up to 24 hours. Payouts with wire transfers can take slightly longer and you may need to wait up to 5 business days. While some customers dislike the idea, we personally prefer to cash out with wire transfer as they are generally quite safe, even if a little more time-demanding.
How Popular Is It?
Gaming is big in Canada. While we mostly have the numbers for the actual gaming industry, esports are usually in the same vicinity. Nearly every gamer today has some knowledge or experience on one of the main competitive games out there.
Estimated 31% of all online population in the country watches video gaming content. Esports viewers prefer League of Legends over and above any other game in Canada. In 2019, however, a new national team, Toronto Defiant, was created.
Toronto Defiant is owned by OverActive Media, a Toronto-based business. Today, Toronto Defiant is competing in the Overwatch League (OWL) hosted in the United States and viewership for the game is rising. We will have to wait until marketing agency Newzoo has released their numbers for 2019 to see if Overwatch has managed to displace League of Legends in terms of viewership interest.
In terms of betting interest? Again, there are no exact numbers, but we are sure that if you are Canadian and familiar with the concept of esports betting, there is a fairly good chance that you have considered placing a wager.
Top Esports Players and Teams from Canada
As we have discussed, Toronto Defiant are Canada’s pride. The team was just formed in late 2018 and it debuted in the Overwatch League (OWL) in February 2019. They are presently 16th in the overall standing, but this is to be expected for a new team.
Red Bull is one of the biggest sponsors of esports in Canada and the company runs dedicated esports series as well as sponsors various players across the globe. Canadians have been excelling in Dota 2 and Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CS:GO) in particular.
Two of the world’s best Dota 2 players include Artour “Arteezy” Babaev who is from Vancouver, British Columbia, and Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao who currently competes in a Dota 2 squad called “TEAM TEAM”.
Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek is another famous name in the world of esports, with the Polish-Canadian player competing in CS:GO.
Esports in Canada has still a long way to go. The country is definitely becoming a hotbed for competitive video gaming, but once again, Canadians don’t mean to make a big deal out of it. Don’t let their politeness fool you, though. The country’s gripped by an esports fever and the millions of gamers there will only confirm this.