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Canadian Dollar sports betting sites: how to avoid scams & bad information

If you want to play in Canadian dollars to avoid currency exchange costs, which is what you would naturally want, you may do so at Sports Interaction, Betsafe, Betway, bet365, BetVictor & ComeOn!.  However, if you look to play outside these brands for some reason, know that you should not take for granted that CAD accounts will be available to you.  Popular betting brands that serve customers in Canada often only offer USD, EUR or GBP accounts.

Why?  This is part of their business model.  Many sportsbooks only offer these currencies because they also make money on currency exchange.  There is no need for you to play at a non-CAD betting site.  Beyond our top five brands, some betting sites will serve you with Canadian dollar accounts and banking methods.  You just need to be vigilant in ensuring that the site that you choose does in fact offer CAD.  

This can be difficult as Canada is a highly-coveted market for online sports betting companies. So below, SNBET helps you in understanding 1) the non-CAD betting sites to avoid, 2) the new and potentially risky CAD sportsbook brands that you might want to avoid and 3) the sportsbook review resources that have poor information that you might wish to avoid as you research your new potential betting provider.

 

Avoid non-CAD betting sites that try to portray themselves as CAD providers

Many companies look to market their new customer offers with ‘dollars’ in the offer alongside Canadian flags and Canadian payment methods. When you combine these ad elements together, no one could blame you for thinking that the given online sportsbook offers CAD accounts - but in many cases the ‘dollars’ quoted in the offer may be used toward a US dollar account.  So you’d actually be converting your funds on every deposit & withdrawal.  In each transaction, you will lose about 3% to 5% of the value, hidden in the exchange.

An example of this is 888sport.  Although they are a popular and reputable brand, and they serve Canada - at the time of writing, they do not offer CAD accounts, but they have a ‘$200’ new player offer and note ‘Interac’ as an accepted payment method in their graphical online ads.  They also advertise heavily to Canadians within iOS and Android app stores for their non-CAD betting app.  Unfortunately, given these elements of their ads, which can now be seen through many ad platforms around the web or even within mobile apps, you might assume that you can play at 888sport in CAD.  Only after you view your card or bank statements might you actually realize that you are playing with USD, and paying hidden currency conversion fees.

 

Example of an 888sport ad served to Canadians on ESPN.com prior to the opening of the Ontario legal market. Note the ‘$’ sign & familiar payment method logo, indicating that they are one of many available Interac betting sites - but CAD accounts were not actually offered.

Which betting sites accept customers in Canada but do not offer CAD accounts?

This list is not exhaustive, but these are some of the most visible brands that accept players from Canada but would require that you play in another currency, thus incurring exchange costs.

 

Avoid new betting sites that may not be in business next year, or next week.

Have you ever heard of the betting brand called ‘MoPlay’?  Founded in August 2018, they went out of business in early 2020, but not before they struck deals to become the official sports betting partners of Manchester United of the Premier League in 2018 and Hertha Berlin of the Bundesliga in 2019.  MoPlay was a new betting brand with a flashy new app and betting site, having splashed out on these expensive sponsorship deals.  

The only problem is that they did not have enough revenue to sustain their huge operational and marketing costs.  As a result, Manchester United was pursuing legal action to recover roughly 9 Million Euros in unpaid funds from the Agents for MoPlay after they entered bankruptcy or ‘administration’.  MoPlay itself could no longer service the player accounts that it held, and it thus sold their databases of players to other betting companies that could.  The UK player database was sold to Betfred and the Canadian database was sold to PowerPlay.com.

So what is the lesson here?  If you are going to bet on sports online, only play with long-established, reputable brands.  Sports Interaction has been serving Canadians since 1997 - from within Canada on sovereign First Nations lands.  The other Canadian betting sites that we list all support CAD accounts & payment methods, and are owned by billion-dollar corporations that have stood the test of time.

 

The MoPlay.com domain was still live in early 2021 with its message of closure, liquidation & account transferals for its former customers.  MoPlay remains a lesson for sports bettors: play with well-established companies that you can trust to be around for a long time.

Which new or ‘young’ sports betting brands might be avoided until proven?

Given the desire to attract Canadian players, there are a lot of new betting brands that accept players in Canada and offer CAD accounts. One of the most visible brands in Canada through their Italian Serie A sponsorship is '1XBET', which has proven to be one of the most disreputable betting sites

Some new brands even advertise their free-to-play dot-net brands on Canadian sports TV networks, hoping to gain brand recognition for their real-money dot-com betting site.  An example of this is the now highly visible offshore brand, 'TonyBet', which has some of the worst odds we've ever seen. 

Several other young brands can also be found as ‘recommended’ in the poor, but highly-visible Canadian sportsbook review resources that we discuss below, or within sites that run pay-per-click Google ads for popular ‘Canadian betting site’ keyword search strings.  Young brands get listed because they offer the reviewer an even larger commission than those available from established sportsbook brands.  As with the example of MoPlay above, you may wish to avoid young brands like these until they have proven their ability to stay in business over a long period of time:

 

TopCanadianSports.com as found on December 27, 2020 through a Google ad for ‘best betting sites Canada’, lists several very young betting brands.

Avoid sportsbook review resources that use poor information for Canadians

Beyond the betting companies that can deceive you into thinking that they have CAD accounts, many sports betting review sites with pages that rank very highly in search engines can have very bad information, or outright lies in order to get you to become a customer at non-CAD sites, or young and unproven sites like those mentioned above.  

For example: Odds Shark has become a big referrer of sports betting players - you may have even seen their ads on TV in Canada.  In their recent list of the 17 best sportsbooks for Canada, they list BetOnline.ag, SportsBetting.ag, Sportbet and 5Dimes - none of which offer CAD accounts.  Yet, somehow these online sportsbooks are in a list of those that are best for Canadians.  Does that sound like good information to you?

Betting.ca also has pages high in search engine results and their #1 ranked sportsbook for Canada is 888sport, which as we showed, had no CAD accounts.  Another well-ranked review site within search engines, CanadaSportsBetting.ca included 888sport in their list for top betting sites for Canada at #4 - despite their lack of CAD accounts. 

Lastly, bookies.com features 888sport and its new customer offer alongside Canadian sports betting news stories and as the top listed betting site for Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, BC and Manitoba.  It also misleads Canadians on its '888sport Review' by showing a Canadian Flag next to 'Licensed & Regulated' as well as a PayPal logo under its 'Accepted Payments' area. 888sport was neither licensed nor regulated in Canada and PayPal was not available to use for payments at 888sport from Canada, or at any other offshore betting site from Canada for that matter.  These are three lies or instances of willful ignorance on a single page - and this from a sportsbook review site that belongs to one of the largest gambling affiliate marketing companies in the world, which is traded on the NASDAQ in New York.

Many of these same ‘resources’ list some of the young betting brands listed above in order to gain inflated commission fees.  Furthermore, some of these same review sites create bogus content with regard to popular payment methods and whether or not they are available at betting sites for Canada.  SNBET explains how this false sportsbook payment method content is meant to deceive you.  

This is what you are fighting against as you do your research to find a great betting site from Canada - a lot of really bad, self-serving information on the part of these sportsbook review sites.  Why?  They get lucrative referral deals from their most prominent brands - even if they are bad for you - the Canadian player.  This situation will continue given that Canadian provinces are separately in charge of iGaming regulation, as opposed to a unified national approach that could create a more cohesive and safer environment for consumers.

(Note that as of Q2 of 2022, 888sport may look to add Canadian Dollar accounts for their offshore site as accessed by Canadians outside Ontario. 888 will be looking to gain an Ontario iGaming license, where they would be required to offer it, so this may spread to their wider offering. This does not change the fact that for years, the above affiliate marketers were promoting a non-CAD betting site as a 'top option' for Canadians.)

 

What is the main lesson to learn in order to avoid Canadian sports betting scams?

The lesson is that even if you want more choice beyond Sports Interaction as you search Google for Canadian Dollar betting sites, you need to be really careful with what you read - use a skeptical eye.  You don’t have to worry about this at Sports Interaction, as they only serve Canada so CAD is the default account currency.  They are located in Canada and have been in business since 1997 from First Nations' territory.  

However, if you decide to play elsewhere, look to see what year your company of interest was founded and look to understand if a large & reputable company owns that brand.  Ideally you want to avoid betting companies that are less than 10 years old.  Then, when you look to register your account, there should be a way to select your account currency.  You should ensure that the company explicitly mentions Canadian Dollars or ‘CAD’ - rather than simply ‘$’ as this will most likely refer to US Dollars. Otherwise, you will be hit with hidden currency exchange fees on every deposit or withdrawal.

 

Here is a brief summary of our top SIA alternative betting sites for Canadians

Betsafe: Established in 2006 & is part of Betsson AB, one of the largest gaming firms on the planet, traded on the Stockholm NASDAQ. Value of the company hovers around US$1 billion. Now a licensed Ontario provider.

Betway: Established in 2006 & has become a global sports betting brand. It has entered the US in several states and was part of a SPAC acquisition deal worth US$4.7 billion. Now legal in Ontario.

bet365: Established in 2000, it is likely the world's premier betting brand, with over 80 million account holders around the world. Regulated in numerous national markets, & now legal in Ontario.

BetVictor: Established in 1946 in the UK as "Victor Chandler". Through its Premier League brand visibility, it has gained many Canadian customers and has now become a legal Ontario sportsbook & casino.

ComeOn!: Established in 2010 & mainly serves Europe including the regulated Danish & Swedish markets, but is big into Canada. Their parent company was recently acquired by a private equity firm for ~US$1 billion. Now a legal online casino in the Ontario market (Their sportsbook remains for the rest of Canada).

Compare these online sportsbooks in detail on our SNBET Review.

 

Above as found on December 7, 2020, Odds Shark recommended BetOnline.ag as #9 on its page for top online sportsbooks for Canada. BetOnline.ag & 3 others listed do not offer CAD accounts.

 

CanadaSportsBetting.ca as found on December 7, 2020, listed 888sport as the #4 ranked sportsbook for Canada - with no CAD accounts.  Do you really want to play in EUR or USD from Canada?

Bookies.com as found on September 16, 2021 with 3 big lies about 888sport for Canada. Canadian Dollar bonuses do not exist as only USD is available. They are not licensed & regulated in Canada & PayPal is not available at offshore betting sites from Canada. (Neither are Skrill & Neteller, shown above with their purple & green logos respectively.)

The level of bad info regarding 'legal' or 'licensed' betting sites by province will rise

This is an important concept to remember as we move into a new period of 'legal' sports betting in various Canadian provinces that decide to open their market through a 'licensing' system as Ontario has done.  With this new approach to license online sportsbook providers in various local jurisdictions, know that the 'grey market' providers that do not have local licenses will still be allowed to serve players across Canada. 

Affiliate marketers know this, and they also know that there will be an increase in the number of people that will be searching online for 'legal Ontario betting sites' or 'licensed Ontario betting sites'. There will be nothing to stop an affiliate marketer from creating a page targeted to Ontario and filling it completely with non-licensed betting providers. 

As we have shown with the examples above, many affiliate marketers have no problem in creating web pages to target the people that search for these terms.  Many of the pages that will be at the top of search results will be filled with lies and untruths in order to promote any brand that suits them and most of them will actually be 'grey market' brands, not locally licensed ones.  SNBET.ca will compile a list of the top licensed sportsbooks for every province that opens their market.

Even if you do not read our lists, know that all officially licensed provincial providers will have a logo at the top of their site that indicates that they are in fact licensed.  Ontario will be the first to implement this.  So if you are looking for Ontario licensed sportsbooks, look for the iGaming Ontario logo on your site of interest.

 

Does any betting site really offer 'the best odds'?

With all the new providers coming to the legal Ontario market in 2022, there will be several that boast about having 'the best odds', whether on their own site, or those of affiliate marketers that work with them.  These statements are meaningless puffery, but they do serve to deceive and attract new and inexperienced players. 

There are some 'grey market' betting sites that approach their business without the costly expense of Canadian sportsbook bonuses, which are designed acquire new customers.  Rather than incentives, instead, they use a low odds margin approach, often only integrating a 2% to 3% margin rate into their odds, which means that their odds will be higher more often, on more potential outcomes - but even they cannot always guarantee the best odds on all potential outcomes. (Note that 1XBET often tries to use odds with these low margins, but we discussed why you should avoid them above).

The providers that take this low-margin approach are few and far between, as most sportsbooks operate with 5% to 6% margins.  Given that this fallacy of 'having the best odds' will be used so often as Ontario opens its legal sports betting market, we decided to write a small piece to help new sports bettors in Canada & Ontario understand betting odds and how sportsbooks actually work, so new players might get the odds value they actually desire. 

 

What about people that want to sell me (or give me) their betting picks?

What's that saying about something being too good to be true?  Whether they be promotional picks as part of a sportsbook-sponsored segment on your favourite pre-game show, or a "tout" that has a documented 58% win percentage, we would advise you to steer clear of looking into picks for the sake of them.  By all means, listen to their analysis, but if you are going to bet, why not go with your own opinions?  Those pundits don't have any concrete information that you don't have access to.  If you want more on this subject, we have compiled our thoughts with SNBET on picks, so you can read even more on why you might wish to avoid this aspect of sports betting content altogether.