Horse race betting has not been offered at online sportsbooks in Ontario but that might be changing in the near future. The Toronto-based Woodbine Entertainment Group, one of the largest operators of professional horse racing in Canada, is seeking approval from
the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency to provide online sportsbooks in Ontario with the opportunity to provide legal horse race betting. Woodbine wants to integrate its racing content into legal sportsbooks and is confident that they will have the product up and running by the end of 2022.
Currently, for various legal reasons, there is no betting offered on horse racing in Ontario through online sports betting apps and websites, despite the opening of single-game online sports betting in the province on April 4th, 2022. Horse racing was left exempt from the bill that legalized single-game sports betting, mainly at the urging of the horse-racing industry. This left the only legal form of wagering on horse racing in Ontario via pooled, pari-mutuel bets which are overseen by the CPMA.
To be fully licensed to provide horse race betting to online bookmakers in Ontario Woodbine will require approval from both the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA), a federal body, and iGaming Ontario, a provincial agency which is legally responsible for the iGaming market. Both agencies have been quite supportive of the project thus far and are expected to give Woodbine the green light before the end of the year.
At the moment the only holder of a federal pari-mutuel wagering license in Ontario is Woodbine. The company runs their betting operations through their tracks, OTBs, two online betting platforms in: HPIbet and Dark Horse Bets.
Potential For Next Year
If Woodbine is successful in its efforts, Ontario-based bettors will have the opportunity to bet on major horse races such as the Kentucky Derby or Queen’s Plate as early as next year.
Horse race betting has been on a decline in the past few years in Ontario, mainly due to a lack of accessibility to betting. The horse racing industry in Canada has been trying to attract fresh customers, as racing has fallen well behind other sports in the betting totem pole as of late. If Woodbine is able to get horse race betting back up and running in Ontario, it could be a massive landmark in the overall comeback of the sport in the region.
Expect there to be more developments in the coming months as the approval process begins to enter its final phases. If all goes well, Ontario bettors should be able to bet on their favourite horse races in no time.