Sports Betting Laws in British Columbia


Sports betting is a popular industry around the world and in BC online casinos, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

It's also popular in British Columbia (aka the Pacific Province), a Canadian province with a fast-growing industrial economy. But like in all other parts of Canada, there are also legal issues around gambling in the province which cloud the situation around online gambling.

Having said that, residents of British Columbia have plenty of options when it comes to wagering on sports.

In this guide, we take a closer look at the history of Canadian sports betting laws, BC gambling laws, and popular competitive games to bet on in the Pacific Province.

History of Canada Sports Betting Laws

Since the 19th century, Canada has experienced a significant shift with regards to gambling regulation and laws, including sports betting. The Criminal Code banned all kinds of wagering in the country in 1982. But the attitude towards gaming quickly changed and by the beginning of the 21st century, both raffles and bingo were allowed for charitable causes. Shortly thereafter, the country permitted horse racing as a form of gambling.

Owing to the amendments made to the Criminal Code in the 1990s, Canada's provinces were given individual permission to regulate casinos, slot machines, racing, and lotteries. In 1971, the gambling hall of Diamond Tooth Gertie in Dawson City became the first brick-and-mortar casino in Canada.

These days, you'll find casino games, sports gambling, slot machine games, as well as poker in Canada.

In Canada, the provincial governments and the federal government govern sports gambling laws. The federal system of Canada is set up to share ruling power with the country's 10 provincial governments, including British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia.

Gambling Laws In British Columbia

In the Pacific Province, wagering is legal both online and offline under the 2002 Gaming Control Act. Gamblers can use the PlayNow gaming service to make wagers such as over/under, props,totos, oddset outcomes, and point spreads.

It's worth noting that one-team wagers aren't allowed in Canada, so gamblers must bet on at least two matches. You can do so only at offshore gambling sites, and while there could be legal problems around wagering, the Pacific Province law doesn't bar residents from wagering on sports at sites that are outside of Canada. But what's illegal is if you bet at unlicensed sites. Moreover, the legal wagering age is 19 and over a t all BC online casino sites.

Licensing Bodies in BC

In British Columbia, the BCLC (British Columbia Lottery & Gaming Corporation) runs all sports gambling, casinos, lotteries, electronic gaming, slot machines, and bingo. The 2002 Gaming Control Act regulates all the activities and gaming organizations involved. The agency is also in charge of social responsibility as well as risks that are associated with problem gambling in the Pacific Province.

Since 1985, BCLC has provided numerous responsible gaming programs and fundraised over $19 billion to fund communities, education, and healthcare sectors.

Sports Gambling in BC


British Columbia residents can wager on sporting events both online and offline. With regards to online gambling, they have two options. They can bet through PlayNow, the solitary Canada-based sports wagering site in BC run by the BCLC. Or, they can bet via the numerous off-shore sites, which are legal, too, and many are recommended since they're licensed in accredited licensing jurisdictions around the world.

There are several options when making wagers through PlayNow:

Oddset Outcome: For parlay bets, the wagering opportunities include Oddset-3 and Oddset-2. Players can make as many as six choices and pick which teams will tie or win. You can bet as much as $100 and, to win your Oddset Outcome bet, all your predictions must be correct.

Point Spread: These bets are parlays as well where you can make as many as 12 selections.

Toto and Props: These gambling games also have a prize pool where one person wins it all, or it's shared by several winners.

Over/Under: These parlays allow as many as 10 choices where you predict if a given game will have fewer or more points or goals.

There are some issues with placing bets via PlayNow that mainly stem from the restrictions slapped. For instance, you're limited by your bet size or parlay size. The most frustrating issue for avid gamblers is the ban on wagering on single teams. Therefore, apart from parlays, in which you have to select at least two games, you can't bet on one game only.

Thankfully, off-shore non-BC sites are there to save the day. They offer lots more gambling opportunities, higher bet limits, better odds, and obviously, the chance to wager on single games whenever you want. Moreover, winnings from PlayNow aren't subject to taxes.

Popular Sports to Bet On in British Columbia

The Pacific Province boasts several popular games in BC that you can bet on online. These games offer players the best odds as well as incredible payouts every day.

Gamblers will enjoy a variety of wagering lines on competitive games such as baseball, cricket, basketball, archery, ice hockey, boxing, Canadian football, rugby, mixed martial arts, wrestling, tennis, UFC, badminton, football, golf, soccer, curling, snooker, and horse racing.