Best Esports in Canada
When looking at the best esports in Canada, it’s important to know that Canada has a thriving esports scene, with many teams such as Luminosity Gaming, Vancouver Titans, and Team NP representing their nation on the world stage.
The most popular esports game in Canada is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, with 19 squads playing CS: GO professionally.
StarCraft 2, Dota 2, and Overwatch are also popular, whilst League of Legends, Rocket League, Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone also enjoy followings in Canada, albeit not at the same scale as the top four.
Top Team Luminosity Gaming alone earned CAD $1,347,382 in 2018, Whilst Canadian sports star Fly personally earned a cool CAD $2,313,364.
Popularity of Esports Betting in Canada
Naturally, with this level of interest and revenue being generated, comes the opportunity for betting in Canada.
Let’s not forget, Canada is actually in the top ten nations for online gambling and most forms of gambling have been legalised in Canada.
However, the gambling laws do change depending on which province you reside in. As such, it is important to understand how the different provinces view esports (as a game of skill, or as a game of chance) when looking at best esports in Canada for betting.
In this guide, we’ll take you through some of the history of esports betting in Canada, shed some light on who is betting, and explain how the Canadian esports betting industry works today.
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Esports Growth in Canada – Stats & Findings
According to a report by Global Web Index in 2018, the majority of Canadian esports enthusiasts are young, with 28% of 16-24-year-old Canadians stating that they had watched an esports tournament within the month of the survey being conducted.
This stat put Canada 26th in the rankings of the 41 countries studied, with China claiming the top spot with 67% of young viewers.
Of course, this does not necessarily mean that it is this age group who are betting on esports.
Canadian esports fans are also predominantly male, with 5.2 times the young men than other demographics.
This is interesting as it is at odds with other research into Canadian gambling which has historically shown that women are slightly more likely to engage in online gambling than men in Canada – 6.3% to 4.3%.
History of Esports Games in Canada
Although esports first emerged in the early 2000’s and quickly became popular around the world thanks to streaming platforms such as YouTube and Twitch, they took a while to really catch on in Canada.
Even today, compared to the big guns such as China and Korea, Canada is lagging behind.
In 2016, the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation build the only land-based esports lounge at a Canadian casino in an attempt to control the burgeoning esports scene in Canada.
However, the last two years have seen a huge growth in the Canadian esports betting industry.
There are an estimated 23 million gamers in Canada, and companies such as Versus Systems Inc., Fandom Sports Media, and the wonderfully named Enthusiastic Gaming Holding Inc are heavily involved in developing the Canadian esports scene.
As the gambling industry generates approximately CAD 31 billion a year, with around CAD $4 billion of that being due to online gambling, it is hugely important that Canada does not get left behind when it comes to esports.
Canadian celebrities such as Drake, as well as sports stars, have collectively invested an estimated CAD $200 million into esports, displaying confidence in the future development of the market.
There are many advantages for esports players living in Canada too, with job security, universal healthcare and high salaries all perks of being a professional esports player residing in Canada.
Such inducements and endorsements are helping esports become more mainstream in Canada, which will likely have a knock-on effect in terms of esports betting.
Canadian Gambling Laws for Esports
Esports gambling is legal in Canada subject to the same restrictions, laid out in the Criminal Code, as other games of chance.
Even though esports are deemed to be a mix of skill and chance, the Ontario Court of Appeal and subsequently the Supreme Court of Canada decided that it was not necessary to determine how much of playing esports was down to skill and how much down to chance, only that both elements were present.
As such, esports must be licensed and regulated in the same way as lotteries and other games of chance.
Canadian gambling laws are complex and relate to individual provinces, but there are currently only two esports betting sites based in Canada.
The Province of British Colombia offers the Play Now platform to its citizens and Manitobans, whilst the Province of Quebec has Mise-o-Jeu.
Both include esports as part of their sportsbook offerings and are limited both in titles and in types of bet – with only match-bet outcomes authorized. Maximum payouts are limited to CAD $25,000 and both provinces only allow esports betting on a single event basis.
Skin-betting and fantasy esports titles are not permitted under any province.
However, there is no law against Canadians betting on overseas esports sites.
As with other forms of betting in Canada, therefore, the best sites are found offshore in the UK and Malta, and in the Kahnawake Native Reserve, which is its own territory and operates its own gambling laws.
Most of the betting centres around CS: GO matches, but Canadians also enjoy placing bets on the biggest esports tournaments, such as EPICENTRE and The International.
Fortnite betting is becoming more popular amongst Canadian bettors, and there is also a growing market for traditional sports-based esports, such as FIFA and NBA 2K.
Canadian gamblers tend to use prepaid Visa or Mastercard credit, or e-wallets such as Skrill, Neteller and PayPal to ensure safe and secure transactions. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are also gaining in popularity among Canadian bettors.
As with any form of gambling, the best way to place successful bets is to do your homework on the players and teams in question.
You should also keep an eye out for patch updates (if applicable), changes to team rosters and schedules, and other new stories likely to disrupt the team or the tournament.