PointsBet Canada is now one of many legal Ontario betting sites. PointsBet as a company should be applauded for their approach to the sports betting business in Canada and Ontario, with many local hires and unique sponsorship ideas. However, with that being said, we're here to examine what their sports betting offering looks like for Ontarians. As we look at the PointsBet Canada offering, we see some positive aspects, but also some drawbacks. To be fair, they have put in more time and effort to make PointsBet Canada authentically Canadian, unlike some US-facing brands that seemingly copied and pasted their US platforms for Ontario.
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First of all, know that PointsBet Canada is only available to players that are 19+ and physically located in Ontario, though people across the country are allowed to register an account. This means that if you are in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, the Atlantic provinces or the Territories, PointsBet Canada is not available to you for actual play. For the best online gaming options outside Ontario, read our Canadian betting site reviews or see our top Canadian Interac online casinos. All listed brands there are also licensed in Ontario, are owned by top-tier "international" or "offshore" operators & support CAD accounts with banking methods like Interac & Instadebit. Don't risk playing at shady sites based in Central America or Russia.
Unfortunately, when you try to access their website on a mobile device, PointsBet will not even let you continue as per a typical betting site - they ask you to download their app if you want to continue. Given the rather significant drawbacks surrounding data privacy and mobile apps, it would certainly be better if they offered users the choice to play through the app or via a mobile site. (This lack of a mobile site is the same at FanDuel Ontario & DraftKings Ontario.) Not all US betting brand entrants to Ontario force app usage however. Both BetRivers Ontario and BetMGM Ontario have mobile sites, though only the former is in our list of top betting brands for the Province.
Not having a functional mobile site should be a non-starter for any sports bettor that values their data privacy. Most every leading sports betting provider that will enter Ontario will offer a mobile betting site and an app as a secondary option for those that want it. Without the option to play at a mobile site, there is no way we can recommend them as a top provider. All our recommended brands offer players a mobile site, or the option between the two.
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PointsBet Canada has struck some online media partnerships ahead of the Ontario market open. Part of their marketing work has tried to position their brand as 'having the best odds'. You may have also seen that they touted themselves as offering 'the best odds' on their PointsBet Canada placeholder website in advance of the Ontario market-open. As we have clarified in our educational piece on sports betting odds, no sportsbook will ever have the best odds for every event. What we can do is look at the odds margins that they tend to use on various sports or leagues and the associated betting markets (or ways to bet) to see where they are competitive, and where they might not be competitive.
How does PointsBet Canada fare on odds margins? The value on offer has gone down since their launch in Ontario - which is not great for players. For the most popular NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB betting markets, PointsBet Canada's first year or two offered odds that looked like 1.91/1.91 or -110/-110 on games where the odds are even on both results, like for a point spread or over/under market. This reflects a margin of just under 5%. Even if the odds were not equal on either side, the margin stayed at this 5%. However, now in 2024, for many markets within these top leagues, odds now often look like 1.86/1.86 or -116/-116, or a margin of 7.5%. This is a 50% increase in margin on key markets! This is not competitive with top sportsbooks in Ontario.
For other sports and leagues, PointsBet's margins (sportsbook hold) can also be higher, and less competitive, which means the odds are lower, paying out less. On English Premier League and other top soccer leagues, we found margins between 5% and 7% for the main markets. So on some matches, the odds are competitive, while others on the same weekend, within the same league are not competitive. We found similar margins for other sports like boxing. For sports like cricket however, the margins blow out to about 8%, so if you are interested in IPL betting, there is less overall value on offer. So if you intend to bet on events outside the the main four leagues and sports, know that you may not be getting the most competitive odds margins available. Despite the marketing puffery that may be in use regarding PointsBet Canada and their odds, they are certainly not working with odds margins that could warrant boasting of having the "best odds".
For the most popular leagues in Canada, PointsBet offers a solid number of markets for each game, usually in the region of 200 depending on the sport. For soccer, they do have many betting markets for the top European leagues like the UCL, Serie A or Bundesliga - usually around 300 per match. They will certainly tweak their Canadian offering to have markets on curling, a sport that they have identified as a key point of differentiation in the market, which we applaud.
However, PointsBet Canada may also need to make further tweaks on their offering on other important sports within the Canadian market given the multi-cultural demographic makeup of the population. With so many UK and South Asian immigrants and ex-pats, PointsBet could look to improve their coverage of cricket and rugby for many people. With both cricket and rugby, main betting markets had odds margins in the 6% to 7% region, which is not competitive compared to the big international brands that also legally serve Ontario's market. PointsBet also does not offer very many betting markets on these sports, with only a few basic markets for big cricket matches, and perhaps under 20 markets for big rugby union matches.
The international brands that are licensed to serve Ontario, and which we recommend, often have margins at 5% or below on main markets for these sports and offer in excess of 100 betting markets on big matches. So if you maintain an interest in either of these sports, PointsBet would likely disappoint you unless they make improvements. Honestly, given that they started in Australia, where these sports are huge, this should not be a problem.
At the time of launch, PointsBet only offered payments via Visa, Mastercard and Trustly, which is a bank debit solution. However, they have since added both Interac e-transfers and PayPal to the mix.
(Remember that credit card payments at all iGaming Ontario betting sites are treated as cash advances, not purchases. This means that you'll pay interest from the moment of your deposit, even if you always pay your balance. Plus, your bank will charge a ~$5 cash advance fee. If you can, use a debit or transfer service to save on interest and fees.)
In previewing PointsBet and their Colorado offering, before they entered Ontario we found two things. Yes, PointsBet supposedly offered Esports, but they have misnamed it as 'e-Sports'. Unfortunately, while they had the navigation links and icons that showed they might cover these events, at the time of our preview toward the potential PointsBet Ontario offering, the screen loaded no events: "No markets. There's nothing on right now..." Except that there was plenty on at the time. We also checked the PointsBet Australia site, where they covered a handful of events at a time when top esports betting sites, several of which will now legally serve Ontario, covered nearly 50 events, with an array of betting markets across every major esport you could name. Since the launch of PointsBet Canada, unfortunately, nothing has really improved. We still often find the message about "There's nothing on right now." when again, indeed there are events. So in the end, if you at all expect to bet on esports from Ontario, don't expect much of anything at PointsBet Canada.
PointsBet also offers an iCasino gaming vertical, so they can be considered as one of several legal Ontario online casinos with both RNG casino games and live dealer games. They do not have an online poker room. Very few Ontario operators offer this gaming type as a result of the new local regulations.
The big sticking point for us on PointsBet Canada is the lack of a mobile sports betting site that can be used more privately through a mobile Internet browser like Chrome or Safari. We prefer operators to have this option for players that value their privacy. We do not recommend any Ontario sports betting operator that forces users to have their mobile experience solely through an app. It's a non-starter for us. Ontarians deserve an option to better-protect their data privacy, if they so choose, and apps simply do not allow for this.
We have never recommended PointsBet Canada. However, at launch, their odds were far more competitive, so we did note to readers that they may have been worth a try, if you were curious about them. However, with odds that are now far less competitive than they were when they entered Ontario, PointsBet is no longer a brand that we would allow for this kind of note. There are far better options available to you, in terms of just about every aspect of sports betting with our recommended providers, over PointsBet.
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