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Ontario

A wide variety of gaming options are available in Ontario, including land-based and online casinos, lotteries, horse racing, and provincially-operated sports lotteries with a growing online presence. Gaming and sports betting enthusiasts can also take advantage of a number of online gaming, poker and sports betting sites that are operated offshore.

However, the current government monopoly on gaming and sports betting, which is regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, forbids the operation of privately-owned online and land-based casinos, poker rooms and sportsbooks, with the exception of certain First Nations-owned/operated land-based casinos.

Gaming Laws in Ontario

In the Province of Ontario, gaming and sports betting are legally regulated by the Gaming Control Act, which came into force in 1992 to control the growth of the gaming industry in the province, and cleared the way for the opening of the province's first land-based casinos in Niagara Falls and Windsor.

Gaming laws in Ontario are enforced by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which was established by the Province of Ontario in 1998 to regulate the sale, service and consumption of alcoholic beverages, and ensure that casino and charitable gaming is conducted in a manner that is socially responsible, and in the public interest.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation

Established in 1975 to operate lottery games sold through private retailers across the province, today the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, also known as OLG, also owns and operates online and land-based casinos, slot machine facilities at Ontario racetracks, four e-Bingo centres across the province, and paper-based sports betting games.

Over the past three years, OLG has taken significant steps to modernize lottery and gaming in the province. While recent efforts to open a land-based casino in the heart of downtown Toronto proved unsuccessful, OLG is continuing its efforts to modernize its operations, including partnering with qualified third-party service providers that can operate OLG facilities across the province, and better integrating horse racing into the province's overall gaming strategy.

Sports Betting in Ontario

OLG currently operates sports betting games in the province of Ontario under the following brand names: PRO-LINE, Point-Spread, Pro-Picks Pools and Pro-Picks Props.

PRO-LINE

PRO-LINE is an odds-based sports betting game that allows players to predict outcomes on three-to six-event parlays. All selections must be correct for the parlay to be declared a winner. The minimum wager is $2, while the maximum wager on a PRO-LINE ticket is $100.

Point-Spread

With Point-Spread, players can predict the outcome of two to 12 sporting events, selecting a visitor or home win. Each game selected is handicapped with a point spread. Sports available to wager on include professional and college football, college basketball, baseball and hockey.

Pro-Picks Pools & Props

Pro-Picks Pools is a card-based game where the player wagers on the outcome of specific game or player/team props as outlined in a Pro-Picks selection sheet. A selection sheet contains between 10 and 12 selections. The cost to play Pro-Picks Pools is $5 per selection sheet, with the player or players with the most correct selections sharing a prize pool equal to 60% of total wagers.

Pro-Picks Props is an odds-based sports betting games that allows players to parlay between three and six player/team props selections. The minimum wager is $2 and the maximum wager is $100.

No Single Team Sports Betting

Since single-team sports betting is illegal under Canada's criminal code, OLG offers no single-team sports betting games. OLG's parlay offerings also offer significantly poorer odds compared to online sportsbook options operated off-shore, with OLG's house edge on PRO-LINE wagers pegged at a whopping 38.65% in 2011, compared with single digits for online sportsbooks.

As a condition of the franchise granted by the NBA to the Toronto Raptors in 1995, wagering on NBA games is not available in Ontario through PRO-LINE, Pro-Picks and Point Spread.

Poker and Casino in Ontario

OLG owns or co-owns and manages 10 land-based casinos in Ontario. OLG directly operates OLG Casino Brantford, OLG Casino Sault Ste-Marie, Great Blue Heron Casino on Scugog Island near the town of Port Perry, OLG Casino Point Edward, OLG Casino Thousand Islands, and OLG Casino Thunder Bay.

At Great Blue Heron Casino, the building and land are owned by the Mississaugas of Scugog First Nation, who also participate in the operation of the facility.

Casino Niagara, Caesars Windsor and Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort are operated by private companies licensed by OLG, while Casino Rama is a joint venture which includes OLG, the Chippewas of Rama First Nation and Penn National Gambling, a Pennsylvania-based company.

OLG Slots facilities are available at 14 racetracks across the province, offering video slots and classic reel games, along with electronic table games.

Poker rooms are available at each of OLG's 10 land-based casinos, with online poker rooms planned as part of OLG's recently launched PlayOLG.ca site, which currently offers online video slots, electronic table games and video poker, as well as the opportunity to make online purchases of tickets for popular lotteries such as Lotto Max and Lotto 649.

Other Gaming Options in Ontario

While OLG holds a virtual monopoly on gaming operations in the province of Ontario, gaming and sports betting fans still enjoy alternatives to some of OLG's limited options.

Online Sportsbooks

Online sportsbooks such as Bodog, Bet365 and 5Dimes have a growing customer base in Ontario. Established for many years, and known for their superior customer service and the availability of a wide variety of betting options with competitive odds, the online sportsbooks represent the biggest competition to OLG's sports betting offerings.

In addition, since they operate offshore, online sportsbooks can offer single-game betting options not available to sports betting fans playing PRO-LINE, as well as betting lines that change in real time and are in line with major land-based sportsbooks in Las Vegas.

Major online sportsbooks like Bodog and Bet365 also provide players with a complete online casino experience and online poker rooms, as well as comprehensive coverage of horse racing, both at many of Ontario's racetracks as well as major racetracks around the world.

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