Close menu
From Track to Mobile: The Rise of Online Horse Betting in Canada
Racing at Woodbine in Canada (Michael Burns Photo)

From Track to Mobile: The Rise of Online Horse Betting in Canada

The horse betting industry in Canada is in the middle of a dynamic shift, moving from traditional trackside betting to online platforms, akin to the global trend in numerous industries of moving to digital spaces. The traditional modes are being replaced as enthusiasts move from the tracks to hand-held devices and laptops, making the sport more accessible, more convenient and the forms of betting more diverse. Here is a look at the journey of horse betting digitization in Canada, from its historical roots, the role of technology, regulatory landscapes and what this burgeoning industry may look like in the future.

Full Card Plays Available Now

There’s a reason we’re the #1 trusted source for premium racing picks & info.

Historical Overview: The Tradition of Horse Betting in Canada

Horse racing has been a part of Canada’s culture since the 18th century. First only for the social elite, it made its way to the masses with time. No longer were racetracks just a location to bet, but a busy social destination. People from all walks of life gathered to place bets and enjoy themselves. The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA), a federal agency, regulates all bets on Canadian horse racing to ensure all aspects of the game are fair. For all its popularity, traditional horse betting faced limitations. Using the internet to bet on horses eliminated geographic defences; one no longer had to be near a racetrack to place a bet. The horses that race changed, the game changed, and how we bet on it has changed.

The Emergence of the Mobile Technology

The emergence of the internet and mobile technology ushered in a new era for horse betting in Canada. The shift from track to mobile was not an overnight one: It was a gradual process, influenced by technological innovation and changing consumer behaviour. With online platforms, horse betting was no longer the exclusive purview of the track — it became a widely accessible form of entertainment, enabling enthusiasts to place bets from anywhere, at any time. The resulting meld of convenience and a wealth of information and betting options has made it easier than ever for those unfamiliar with the sport to jump in and enjoy horse betting for what it is. Knowing that, anyone asking. What is sport betting Canada? isn’t just talking about a pastime that has been sweeping the nation for years — they’re talking about their next entertainment destination.

The Growth of Online Gambling in Canada

The growth of online gambling in the country is well-documented and horse betting is no doubt a significant part of this expansion. There is a wide range of betting options offered on licensed online horse racing sites, where patrons can still place the traditional win, place or show bet, or any number of exotic bets available at a racetrack, but they can also do much more than that, making it more appealing to seasoned bettors and novices alike. The availability of live streaming of races, along with real-time odds and a horoscope of betting tips, not only makes for a more interactive experience, but a more robust, user-friendly one. And legislative movements regarding this issue show no sign of slowing.

In recent years, the regulatory framework for online horse betting in Canada has undergone major shifts, with provinces gradually warming up to the idea of legalizing online gambling, even allowing locally licensed operators to accept bets made on the (provincial) thoroughbred, harness and quarter horse races. Here, the evolution of the regulatory environment for online horse betting in our neighbour to the north is discussed further, along with what to expect in the future.

Online horse betting in Canada is regulated by the federal and provincial governments, with individual provinces taking the lead in the creation of a safe betting environment that generates revenue for the public purse. The increasing pace of legislative change as it relates to betting in general has been an area of positive progress as tax hungry governments look to bolster their coffers. The continued upward trajectory of the industry in Canada, which is positioned to be an increasingly significant area of growth to the larger world of online betting within the foreseeable future. Technology is set to bring more innovation to the staid world of parimutuel betting with the introduction of virtual reality and blockchain to further enhance the betting experience.

These technological advances will come to bolster a new Canadian betting market that is set to become a lot less balkanized in the coming years. More provinces are expected to embrace online horse betting as legal offerings in the coming years, as greater competition — and the transparency and security of the more attractive end user experience of legal offerings — encourages more betting companies to expand their digital offerings to Canada.

In Summary

Canada’s move to online horse betting signals the staying power of this classic form of gambling. It’s a sport and a pastime with a storytelling tradition of its own, and it’s proven itself willing to evolve and re-imagine its future in order to secure a place in these rapidly changing times. Indeed, though significant hurdles remain—like the major regulatory talks that are the necessary next steps in this process—online horse betting in Canada’s future looks to be one with a good chance for further growth and even more new things to come.

The story of online horse betting in Canada—and elsewhere—is likely just beginning for the 21st century, as it continues its grand tradition of blending peak excitement with convenience and modern living.