WCLC’s Legal Sports Bets in Canada

WCLC Sport Select: Sports betting rules in Canada

Sports Betting Rules in CanadaCanada has some rather interesting laws when it comes to betting on sports. The activity is perfectly legal throughout every province and territory. However, the types of bets we’re permitted to place are highly restrictive.

Today, we’ll turn to the Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC) for a close-up look at Canadian sports betting rules. WCLC Sport Select is the lottery organization that supplies all sports wagering services in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, as well as the Northwest Territories, Nunavut Territories and Yukon Territories of Canada.

Suffice to say, if you’re located in one of these regions and want to place a bet on sports, you’re expected to do so through WCLC Sport Select. The types of wagers presented by WCLC meet the same legal restrictions as those provided by all other Canadian provinces.

Parlay! It’s Not Just for Pirates

Before I continue, I should point out that, of all sports betting rules in Canada, one causes more controversy than any other. It is not legal to place a straight-up bet on any contest in any form.

I could not, for example, place a bet for the BC Lions to beat the Edmonton Eskimos. Nor could I simply bet on the Over/Under or Point Spread in such a game. All sports bets must be placed as a Parlay.

Per Canadian law, parlay betting requires a wager to be placed on no less than 3 contests, and no more than 6. So if I wanted to bet on the BC Lions, I would have to pick at least two other contests as well. And, all of the picks must be correct, otherwise the entire bet is lost.

The prohibition of straight-up betting is the number one complaint among Canada’s sports gambling community. Fortunately, there is an alternative route wherein straight-up bets can be placed, without breaking any laws.

Online sportsbooks operated by offshore companies provide a much more diverse range of sports betting options, including straight-up bets. The key is to only place wagers with a reputable operator, such as Sports Interaction. While local governments frown on us betting through international websites, there’s nothing illegal about it.

Sports Betting Rules in Canada

The following is a complete list of all legal forms of sports betting in Canada. Please refer to the WCLC Training Camp for more in-depth information.

Note: Aside from Pool Betting, all wagers must be placed as Parlays, selecting 3-6 contests. All picks must win or the bet is lost.

Over/Under: This is a wager on the total score at the end of a contest, and whether it will be over or under the established line. The winner of the contest is inconsequential. [Ex: Game ends at Lions 14, Eskimos 10. Total score is 24. O/U Line is 22. If you bet Over, you win, because the total score is over the line.]

Point Spread: A point spread is set as the amount of points the favored team will win by. This is a bet on whether the point spread will be covered (bet on the spread), or not (bet against the spread). [Ex. The Lions are favored to beat the Eskimos by 3. If the Lions win 14 – 10, a bet on the spread wins because they won by 3 or more points.]

Pool Betting: Pools are bets placed among a group of people on a large number of games. Each bettor chooses who will win each contest. The bettor with the most correct picks wins the pool, or in the case of a tie, the pool is split.

Prop Betting: In prop betting, the bettor can choose various in-game results, like the total bases run in a baseball game, number of points scored in a basketball period, or net passing yards by a quarterback.

Pro-Lines: Pro-Line bets are made by choosing whether the home or visiting team will win, or if the game will result in a tie. However, in Pro-Line, some sports have a different definition of a “tie”. In Hockey and Soccer, the same score is a tie. In Baseball, there can be no ties. But in Football, a game decided by 3 points or less is considered a tie. The same goes for Basketball, where 5 points or less is a tie.

Double Play: This is an amalgamation of Pro-Line and Over/Under wagers. Bettors can bet on the Pro-Line and Over/Under for a single contest at the same time. Each Pro-Line and Over/Under wager is counted separately, so a bet on both would be two bets towards the required 3-6 parlay.

Combo Play: Combo plays are often used to hedge bets on multiple contests. They can include Pro-Line, Over/Under and Point Spread betting. Instead of betting one ticket on 4 contests, a bettor could place up to 5 separate bets on one ticket, covering a combination of them all. The ticket might look something like this:

  • Game 1 + Game 2 + Game 3
  • Game 1 + Game 2 + Game 4
  • Game 1 + Game 3 + Game 4
  • Game 2 + Game 3 + Game 4
  • Game 1 + Game 2 + Game 3 + Game 4

The total cost for this ticket would be 5x the selected bet size. [Ex. $2 bet per contest = $10]

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