Gaming enthusiasts and sports bettors in the province of Manitoba are seeing a rapid increase in the ways they can play, ranging from traditional paper-based lotteries and sports betting games to land-based casinos and bingo halls, as well as online options, including a growing number of offshore-based online sportsbooks, poker rooms and casinos.
Gaming, lotteries and sports betting in the province is strictly controlled by the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba, which regulates all casino facilities, and licenses lottery retailers and VLT operators.
Gaming Laws in Manitoba
Gaming and sports betting activities in Manitoba are regulated by the province’s Liquor and Gaming Control Act, which became law in 2014.
In April 2014, the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba (LGA) was formed. Previously, gaming in the province was regulated by the Manitoba Gaming Control Commission (MGCC) and the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation (MLC), which commenced operations in 1997.
The functions of the MGCC, which included licensing, regulation, inspection and investigation of gaming operations in the province, are now handled by the LGA. In addition to acting as a regulatory body, the LGA also assists First Nations engaged in the operation of casino facilities with financial and best management practices.
The MLC, which is now known as Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, continues to regulate and license VLT operators, market lottery and sports betting games, and operate two land-based casinos in the city of Winnipeg. The crown corporation also operates PlayNow.com, a recently launched online gaming portal.
Western Canada Lottery Corporation
Established in 1974, the Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC) is a non-profit organization that operates lottery and gaming activities on behalf of a number of Canadian provincial and territorial governments, including Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut.
Acting as a regional marketing arm of the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation, which operates lottery games across Canada, the WCLC works in conjunction with Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries to offer popular lottery games, including Lotto 649 and Lotto Max, and paper-based sports betting games, including PRO-LINE.
Sports Betting in Manitoba
Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries currently operates sports betting games in the province of Manitoba under the following brand names: PRO-LINE, Point-Spread, Pro-Picks Pools and Pro-Picks Props.
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.
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, professional and 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 game that allows players to parlay between three and six player/team props selections. The minimum wager is $2 and the maximum wager is $100.
In partnership with the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries operates PlayNow.com, an online gaming portal that enables sports betting fans to play the above sports betting games online, as well as take advantage of recently added live betting options.
No Single Team Sports Betting
Since single-team sports betting is illegal under Canada’s criminal code, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, WCLC, and the PlayNow.com online gaming portal offer no single-team sports betting games. Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries and WCLC’s parlay offerings also offer significantly poorer odds compared to online sportsbook options operated off-shore, with the house edge on PRO-LINE wagers pegged at a whopping 38.65% in 2011, compared with single digits for online sportsbooks.
Poker and Casino in Manitoba
Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries currently owns and operates two land-based casinos in the Winnipeg area: the Club Regent Casino and the McPhillips Station Casino, as well as thousands of VLTs at privately owned bars, hotels and legions across the province.
Three First Nations-owned casinos are in operation in Manitoba, including Sand Hills Casino, South Beach Casino, and the Aseneskak Casino. All First Nations-owned gaming facilities in the province are subject to regulation by the LGA, with the province’s 63 First Nations equally sharing in all profits.
Poker rooms are also available at Manitoba land-based casinos, while charitable organizations can apply for licenses to hold fundraising events at licensed facilities.
Other Gaming Options in Manitoba
While LGA strictly controls gaming operations in the province of Manitoba, gaming and sports betting fans still enjoy many alternatives to Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries’ and WCLC’s limited options.
Online sportsbooks such as Bodog, Bet365 and 5Dimes have a growing customer base in Manitoba. 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 Manitoba’s paper-based and burgeoning online sports betting offerings.
In addition, since they operate offshore, online sportsbooks can offer single-game betting options and more sophisticated and competitive live betting options not available to sports betting fans playing PRO-LINE or at PlayNow.com, 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, which are not available from WCLC or LGA-licensed operators. In addition, comprehensive coverage of horse racing is offered through many online sportsbooks, with action available both at Canadian racetracks as well as major racetracks around the world.