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History of sports betting in Canada

History Of Sports Betting In Canada

There are many pastimes that Canadians enjoy, but few have gained the same amount of popularity in recent years as sports betting. Whether it is hockey, football, basketball, tennis, or sailing, betting in Canada is at an all-time high and shows no sign of stopping. One of the reasons betting has become such a favourite are the relaxed laws that the government maintains concerning sports betting, where citizens are generally free to bet online as they please.

This online freedom has also opened up further betting avenues for Canadians on an international level, as more sites now offer full support for Canadians, covering all their international betting needs. Before the internet came along, however, Canada had a rich history of sports betting that has persisted for as long as people have lived in the country.

Canadian Betting History: Before Europeans

Long before the Europeans travelled westward and settled in Canada, the native people of the region were known for sports betting. Betting on canoe races, spear throwing, running, and archery events was common. This provided entertainment for the bettors and spectators, but also allowed those taking part to hone their skills.

Canadian Betting History: The Settlers

After the Europeans had settled in the country and brought their own forms of betting, some laws were established to regulate betting throughout the country. The first of these laws was created as early as 1774, and were based on laws already established in France and Britain. These laws were not heeded by most of the population, because the population was so scattered that there was no real way for the government to enforce any gambling laws.

Canadian Betting History: 1850 Onward

Gambling laws would only find change later in 1867, where the Canadian government made use of British gambling laws, but with their own added regulations. In 1892, criminal code was added to gambling laws, meaning that for the first time, people could face federal punishment for breaking any laws. These laws were enforced much more readily than prior laws, and many unlicensed gambling houses were shut down, as well as any instances of public gambling. Sports betting, on the other hand, remained untouched, and people were able to bet freely as long as it was done privately. Betting through a bookmaker was illegal and punishable by law.

Canadian Betting History: Modern Betting

Betting laws remained largely unchanged for the next century, and only some minor changes were made to horse racing, making horse race betting much more regulated. Modern online betting in Canada is completely unregulated by the government, and bettors are free to gamble online as much as they please. Many consider the current online sports betting industry in Canada to be in a grey zone, although the government may add regulations later on.

Sports Betting in Canada

As it stands right now, Canada is one of the best countries in the world to indulge in sports betting. While local bookmakers are technically not legal, there are many foreign bookmakers that offer their full services to Canadian bettors.