Last Updated May 4, 2022, 02:14 PM ET
British Columbia was one of seven Canadian provinces to launch single-game sports betting on Aug. 27, 2021.
While some Canadian jurisdictions have decided to take a more deliberate approach following the amendment to Canada’s criminal code (Bill C-218), the British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s PlayNow Sportsbook was well-positioned for an immediate launch. PlayNow remains the province’s lone online and retail sportsbook, but opportunities to expand will undoubtedly present themselves in the near future.
This page will be updated as the B.C. single-game sports betting market continues to develop.
Yes, it is legal to bet on sports in British Columbia. The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) oversees sports betting in the province and has permitted parlay bets since 1985. Online betting has been available via BCLC’s PlayNow.com since 2004, and legal single-game wagers were introduced on Aug. 27, 2021.
However, industry giants like DraftKings, FanDuel Ontario, BetRivers Ontario, and others won't be coming to B.C. anytime soon. These sports betting sites only operate when licensed by a local government and B.C. lawmakers have yet to express a desire for a competitive market.
Single-game sports bets were legalized in B.C. on Aug. 27, 2021, the same day the federal ban on this type of wager was lifted. It remains to be seen if regulators will allow any of North America's most well-known sportsbooks to obtain licences in British Columbia.
The following timeline shows B.C.’s road to single-game sports betting:
2004: The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) launches online sports betting with PlayNow.com. B.C. bettors place provincially-regulated parlay bets online for the first time.
July 5, 2012: The BCLC expands its online offerings, becoming the first province to offer futures and live bets via its newly-branded PlayNow Sports platform.
Feb. 25, 2020: Kevin Waugh, a Saskatoon, Saskatchewan MP, introduces Bill C-218, the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act. The proposed legislation aims to amend Canada’s criminal code and legalize single-game sports betting.
April 22, 2021: Bill C-218 swiftly passes in the House of Commons with all-party support.
June 22, 2021: The Senate approves Bill C-218 by a vote of 57-20. The bill awaits royal assent to become law.
June 29, 2021: Bill C-218 receives royal assent. Single-game sports betting is officially legalized in Canada.
Aug. 3, 2021: The BCLC chooses Genius Sports Limited as its new official data provider as it prepares to launch single-game betting.
Aug. 12, 2021: Justice Minister David Lametti reveals that Bill C-218 will come into effect on Aug. 27, 2021. The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) wastes no time in announcing single-game events will be available on PlayNow.com the same day.
Aug. 27, 2021: PlayNow Sportsbook offers single-game sports betting to British Columbians for the first time.
Nov. 1, 2021: The BCLC releases PlayNow's single-game sports betting handle for September and October 2021. The province's lone online provider surpasses $25 million in single-game bets during the first two months of legalization.
Jan. 15, 2022: BCLC continues to investigate ways to bring single-event wagering to more land-based venues, including casinos. BC is currently home to the only retail sportsbook in Canada.
Feb. 8, 2022: BCLC announces PlayNow.com is projected to rake in over $2 million in Super Bowl bets, doubling its previous record Super Bowl betting handle.
Feb. 22, 2022: BCLC projects PlayNow will see 7% revenue growth for the fiscal year 2022-23 while recognizing the challenge of competing with grey market operators.
Feb. 28, 2022: BCLC says a recent study found that 64% of B.C. gamblers prefer to bet with a provincially-run platform, while just 6% would rather use an offshore website.
British Columbia sports bettors must be 19 years of age to place a legal sports bet.
PlayNow Sportsbook is B.C.'s home for online picks. Only British Columbia residents may register and bet with PlayNow. Physical wagers can be confirmed at a BCLC retailer via the Sports Action platform or at PlayNow Sportsbook in New Westminster.
Here's everything you'll need to know before placing your first bet:
You must be at least 19 years old to bet on sports in British Columbia.
Bettors can place legal online sports wagers on a mobile device or laptop computer in B.C. The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) regulates all sports gambling in the province and allows only B.C. residents to use the PlayNow online sportsbook.
B.C. residents can create a sportsbook account from anywhere in the province. Unlike some other Canadian jurisdictions, players are not required to visit a retail outlet to submit their picks.
B.C. is home to Canada’s lone retail sportsbook, PlayNow Sportsbook. PlayNow can be found at Match Eatery and Public House in the Starlight Casino in New Westminster.
British Columbians, like all Canadians, can enjoy 100% of their sports bet winnings. Gambling profits are not taxed in Canada.
British Columbia has offered online sports betting since 2004. The province’s tried and true PlayNow platform should allow for a seamless transition to single-event wagering.
While B.C. offers both online and retail single-game sports wagering, bettors remain limited to the two BCLC-regulated platforms — PlayNow Sports and Sports Action.
British Columbian bettors now have the ability to place wagers on single events online, at a BCLC retailer, or at Canada’s only retail sportsbook — PlayNow Sportsbook in New Westminster.
Additional sportsbooks could launch in the future, but bettors in B.C. currently have only one choice when it comes to provincially regulated sportsbooks. Consequently, many gamblers opt to bet with legal offshore alternatives.
In order to register online, B.C. bettors must confirm their identity and location. If players are at least 19 years old and physically present in British Columbia, this process should take no more than a few minutes.
The best bonuses can be found with offshore sportsbooks. Risk-free bets, deposit matches, and no-deposit bonuses are the most popular types of promotional offerings for new users.
PlayNow Sports typically has a small welcome offer on tap for B.C. residents, but this offer is usually tied to play-through requirements.
Deposits can be processed quickly. Sportsbooks allow players to use several payment methods, including debit and credit, Interac e-Transfers, eChecks, and more.
The majority of deposits can be made free of charge, but some credit cards may treat sportsbook deposits as cash advances and charge the transaction as such.
PlayNow Sports offers bettors all of the popular types of sports bets — most notably in Canada, single-game wagers. Play the moneyline, point spreads, Over/Under(totals), parlays, futures, live bets, and much more. Offshore sportsbooks offer all of the above as well.
Always make sure you fully understand the conditions of your bet and the risk associated with each wager. Remember, provincially regulated options won’t always offer the same lines as some of the offshore alternatives. So shop around, locate the best odds, and bet with confidence.
While deposits may be completed instantly, withdrawals may take a few days to process. This will vary, depending on your chosen sportsbook and withdrawal method.
American odds, or moneyline odds, is the go-to option for most sportsbooks when displaying betting odds. Favourites are shown with a minus sign (-) and tell you the amount you would need to bet to win $100. For example, -150 odds indicate you would need to wager $150 if you’d like to win $100.
Alternatively, an underdog can be spotted next to a plus (+) sign. The number that follows dictates how much you can win if you place a successful $100 bet. Think of +160 odds as a potential $160 addition to your bank account after a $100 winning bet.
Some sportsbooks, like PlayNow Sports, show decimal odds as the default option. Users can easily toggle between American, decimal, and fractional odds via our odds converter.
Prior to Aug. 27, 2021, the major gripe with British Columbia sports betting was the absence of single-event wagering. Now that Canada’s parlay-only betting law is a thing of the past, there aren’t many restrictions in the Pacific Province.
British Columbians are permitted to place bets on the outcomes of popular celebrity award ceremonies like the Oscars or Emmy Awards.
Political bets are hugely popular in British Columbia. Although PlayNow does not take any action on B.C. or Canadian politics, wagers on the outcomes of U.S. political events are offered.
Esports betting has become increasingly popular and is permitted in B.C.
University sports have not been outlawed in B.C., but sportsbooks are not taking any action on this type of wager at this time. However, some offshore sites allow British Columbians to bet on major events like the Vanier Cup.
B.C. sports bets can be placed online or at Canada's only retail sportsbook. PlayNow is the lone government-regulated option in British Columbia.
Online sportsbook operator
Starlight Casino New Westminster
|Starlight Casino New Westminster|
350 Gifford Street, New Westminster, B.C. V3M 7A3
While the NFL blitzes the competition and captures most of the sports betting interest in B.C., the local and nearby roster of sports teams attracts significant betting attention.
Our sportsbook review page identifies the best sites to place bets and each review is backed by the Covers BetSmart System™. You can also check out our how to bet guides to brush up on all the basics of sports betting.
British Columbia residents are flush with options when venturing outside the world of sports betting. Whether it’s live horse racing, casino gambling, or online slots, B.C. is sure to quench the thirst of the local gambler.
According to the BCLC, there are 34 casinos and community gaming centres found across the province. These facilities offer gamblers a wide assortment of slot machines and table games.
Online casino games like blackjack, poker, baccarat, and slots can be enjoyed on the BCLC-regulated PlayNow website. These games have been offered to B.C. residents since 2010.
Poker tables are commonplace at casinos in British Columbia. Tables can be found at nearly all of the province’s 18 fully operational casinos.
Online poker players can get their poker fix with the PlayNow Poker app.
It is not possible to place a horse racing bet with PlayNow, but offshore sportsbooks provide significant coverage for the main British Columbia racetracks. Bets can be placed through any of the sportsbooks highlighted earlier for races held at these venues: Desert Park (Osoyoos), Sunflower Downs (Princeton), Fraser Downs Racetrack (Surrey), Hastings Racetrack (Vancouver), and Kin Park (Vernon).
BCLC provides free support and treatment services for bettors and promotes responsible gambling practices through education and policy development. The Gambling Support Line is toll-free and available 24/7. The online sportsbooks referenced earlier in the guide also promote safe and responsible British Columbia sports betting.Visit GameSense
With more than 25 years of excellence within the sports betting industry, Covers continues to provide Canadians with independent sportsbook reviews.
Whether you are looking for the best NFL sportsbook or the best site for live NHL betting, Covers has vetted the best places to bet online in British Columbia. Canada is a big place, but we’ve gone local and assembled a list of the best online sports betting sites near you.
The following online sportsbooks should be avoided due to their questionable tactics and failure to provide adequate services.
Yes, sports betting is legal in British Columbia. The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) oversees PlayNow Sportsbook, while several other reputable sportsbooks operate legally in the province.
Sports betting in British Columbia is restricted to adults aged 19 and older.
You can visit British Columbia’s online sportsbook at PlayNow.com, or one of many offshore websites. Alternatively, you can head to PlayNow Sportsbook in New Westminster or visit a BCLC retailer to make your picks with Sports Action.
Single-game betting is the latest addition to British Columbia’s library of sports bet offerings. Prop bets, point spreads, futures, Over/Unders, and live bets are popular options in B.C..
Yes. Mobile sports betting in British Columbia is available via PlayNow.com. Additionally, bets can be placed through non-provincially regulated online sportsbooks.
British Columbia has only one provincially regulated sportsbook — PlayNow Sportsbook. B.C. bettors also have plenty of offshore betting options, and more BCLC-regulated alternatives could be added in the future.
Yes. Las Vegas-based Scientific Games Corporation provides the odds found on the BCLC’s PlayNow Sportsbook.
Yes, Sports Interaction is a highly reputable sportsbook that legally operates in British Columbia.
No. Income earned does not need to be declared on your tax return. According to the Canada Income Tax Act, occasional lottery winnings in Canada are considered a windfall.
Yes. You can watch and bet on live sports at BCLC’s PlayNow Sportsbook at Match Eatery & Public House in the Starlight Casino in New Westminster.
No, but you must reside in British Columbia if you'd like to bet on PlayNow.com. Both B.C. residents and visitors may use legally operating offshore websites.
Jeff Watters is a content editor at Covers. Before he began supporting Covers experts in making smarter sports bettors in 2021, the well-traveled Nova Scotian and Atlanta Braves fanatic spent time writing about education, software, and NHL prospects.