Why Skip Illegal Sports Betting Sites? 13 Illegal Betting Facts

Bianca Grasu

Casino expert

Why Skip Illegal Sports Betting Sites? 13 Sketchy Gambling Facts

The worst way to use your betting knowledge and profit off your favourite team is via illegal sports betting sites.

We’ll give you no less than 13 reasons why this is the case:

1. Your Data Is Unsafe

You find a way to access an illegal betting service. The next step will be providing some account credentials.

These can be as sketchy as basing your entire profile on one email address.

Illegal sites have no requirements for customer data protection

Don’t be surprised if you start receiving endless batches of spam in your inbox.

Worse, you could jeopardize your access to other services following a security breach of the illegal site’s database.

And it could get worse:

2. Illegal Sites May Sell Your Data


You read it right.

The primary purpose behind unlawful betting sites is to make a quick profit before busting.

So, the operators will profit by all means necessary, including selling your data to third-party services.

Many questionable online services are fronts for data harvesting

This includes unregulated offshore sites.

So, SSL encryption, a requirement for licensed sportsbook companies, isn’t part of the deal for the services in question.

Wagering on sketchy online sportsbooks may tarnish your name and expose you to digital security breaches.

What Cybersecurity Experts Recommend

Of course, use legal sports betting websites.

Legal sports betting sites function with user data and have to abide by data protection acts.

They cannot be licensed in Canada if they aren’t secure.

Still, as a rule of thumb, if you’re accessing an online sportsbook company, check if the browser indicates an insecure connection.

If you can confirm this fact, look for mentions of SSL encryption.

This measure is a must for any online service that you register on! We always check for SSL encryptions for our best online casino Canada reviews.

You won’t find any illegal betting site there.

3. You Will Not Receive The Attractive Bonuses


You decide to disregard privacy issues and hop on illegal sports betting sites to claim some generous bonuses.

Unlicensed sportsbooks have no external oversight for their bonus practices, so they get away with a lot.

Here are some examples of how they may cheat you out of their stated promotions:

Deceitful ads

Let’s say you find the promotional page on a third-party platform.

You access the unaccredited betting site and proceed with the claiming process.

You discover that:

  • You received nothing;
  • There are still some steps to complete before you claim the bonus;
  • Or you got less than what was stated in the add.

Hidden match percentages

Say you find an up to C$100 deposit bonus as a sign-up deal.

You go on the page, open an account, deposit to claim, and find out that you received less than stated.

But you’ve already gone through all the trouble!

Some outlaw sites will fail to communicate essential data, such as the match percentage.

Legal sites must disclose such information, especially when it comes to a main attraction point, like top welcome bonuses.

Undisclosed payment restrictions

Or you deposit, say via Neteller, which is available, and fail to receive the offer credit.

Some promotions will exclude payment options.

Legal sportsbooks will state this.

They will also provide popular options for the Canadian market.

For instance, our team has an exclusive selection of the best casinos that accept Interac, one of the most sought-after payment services.

Secret bet & games restrictions

Say you finally receive the bonus and start wagering it, only to lose your offer funds following a wager.

No legal site will fail to communicate the maximum bet amount or eligible games.

And if you cannot find any information of this kind, you should wonder about the legality of your chosen site.

Sudden bonus cancellation

In some cases, illegal sports betting sites will forfeit your bonus with no explanation.

You will have no method of retrieving it, and, often, no customer support to help you understand what happened.

Restricted access to cash funds

Say you wager the received sum and wish to cash out your money.

Unlicensed sportsbooks can limit your cashable amount or have you jump through hoops to claim your money.

The hoops, needless to say, would not be disclosed before you place the withdrawal request!

Legal websites abide by strict rules!

In contrast, many respectable sites ensure Canadians can withdraw safely and quickly.

We created a list with the latest fast payout casinos for secure, 24-hour or less withdrawals.

In short

Why is illegal sports betting popular?

Due to the bonuses these sites will advertise.

How does illegal sports betting work?

By cheating you out of your promotional items and deposited money.

And, in this vein, you should remember that:

4. They Provide Questionable Payment Methods

Ok, let’s say that you’ll use a throwaway email, boot up a VPN, and consider your data to be protected.

What about your funds?

You’ll need to add money to start placing sports wagers.

Don’t be surprised to see the most disadvantageous payment methods in Canada available.

You’ll risk having unstated fees added to your transactions.

Why is this the case?

These sites have a hard time striking deals with decent financial services, so they’ll opt for what remains.

The common practice

One red flag is the addition of cryptocurrencies for transactions.

These decentralized and unregulated currencies are highly volatile, so your balance will greatly fluctuate.

In this way, you risk for your funds to become valueless.

5. Your Funds Are Unprotected


You assumed the risk of adding funds to the illegal site. You paid the fees.

But your funds aren’t clear from dangers.

License-regulated betting sites have the obligation of separating user funds from company capital.

Why does this approach protect your funds?

If the company goes insolvent, you, as a user, still want to receive your balances back.

Now, with fair and legitimate betting sites, insolvency and unjustified loss of funds hardly show on the horizon.

This isn’t the case for quickly contrived, carbon-copy illegal sites.

For them, failing is not just a possibility but the expected eventual outcome.

Don’t risk flushing your funds down the drain once the illegal betting site is taken down.

How legal casinos protect your funds

Top gambling licensors working in Canada, mainly the MGA and the UKGC, perform financial plan viability checks before a gambling site goes live.

So, they ensure that the online casinos they license run the lowest risk of insolvency possible.

How to make sure your funds are safe

This also boils down to licensing.

Granted, some gambling sites functioning in Canada will outright state in their terms that they separate company capital from users’ balances.

Licensing comes with automatic guarantees

Still, top licensors, like the UKGC or MGA, also rank an operator’s customer funds protection levels.

Licensed services must then specify the rank level awarded by these regulators.

But the issue isn’t just that you are funding an illegal website and risk losing money. It gets worse.

6. Many Illegal Betting Sites Run On Organised Crime Money


Illegal betting sites were a quick and easy way of anonymously transferring funds across borders via tax-havens.

Surely, when we say illegal gambling, you imagine gangsters organizing poker games in seedy backrooms and motels.

From old ways to new ways of crimes

Back in the day, there was close to no gambling regulation in place. So, gambling became the main method of laundering funds for criminal organizations.

But the mob, too, went online. Offshore sportsbooks were the perfect way to do it.

What was done about it

Legislators became aware of how many criminal and terrorist organizations started exploiting gambling sites’ lax digital security measures to launder untraceable funds.

Consequently, they imposed several AML procedures to combat it.

Procedures that illegal sportsbooks have no reason to adhere to.

7. Illegal Sports Betting Sites Have Poor Practices

Don’t be surprised to see that there are disappointingly few online betting options, the odds are poor, poorly stated, or disregarded in the end.

Let’s take them one at a time

You somehow brush off all previous objections. All you wish to do is place your bet on a game and claim your win.

One or more of the following are likely to happen:

Illegal services have poor odds, payout, and return percentages

In many jurisdictions, illegal sports betting sites are the only option for gamblers.

The lack of competition, combined with their disregard for sports betting regulations, are the ingredients for providing a bad deal.

It may not seem obvious to an unkeen eye, as we’re about to explain in our next point.

Illegitimate online betting sites communicate their betting practices badly

Such services are hastily done.

So, you should show no surprise when you see or fail to do so, the bad staking practices.

And it becomes worse.

Illegal sports betting sites have no obligation to respect payouts

They won’t be hit with charges.

Plus, if they lose one customer, ten more will be waiting to join.

There are backhanded ways of withholding your stake and payout, such as bad payout limits or times and excessive requirements.

And there are reasons why illegal sports betting sites can act this way:

8. Illegal Sportsbooks Have Unassessed Terms & Conditions


Several such services will actively try to hide their internal regulations by all means.

Whatever terms and conditions they do state and uphold will sound disadvantageous even to a rookie.

What are the most common dangers of unregulated T&Cs?

Our legal experts consider that some of the most frequent questionable practices illegal sportsbooks engage in are:

  • Unmotivated account forfeitures
  • The confiscation of available balances
  • Or nonfungible inactivity fees

The good news?

Legislators will always scrutinize an online gambling website’s terms and conditions before going only and while holding their licenses.

The solution: check our expert reviews

Our specialized iGaming reviewers have an intricate process of service assessment and grading.

Perhaps the most important part of a site review is the full analysis of its terms and conditions.

We also look into how both the operator and overseer guarantee their upholding.

Trusting experts may not be enough!

But are only completely unlicensed sportsbooks to be considered illegal?

Here, the issue gets complicated:

9. Grey And Black-Market Sportsbooks

We have to clarify better what is illegal sports betting.

Black-market sportsbooks

Black-market sports betting sites hold no licenses for any jurisdiction.

They most often function as shell companies or fronts for shady business.

These, in turn, are most susceptible to takedowns and the hardest to access.

But there is a grey area of illegitimate sportsbooks that do hold some accreditation.

Can you trust the grey area?

Not really. The grey area either is untrustworthy or does not apply in the Canadian province you reside in.

Curacao licenses are such an example.

What are the risks of accessing such websites?

10. You Have No Legal Protection


If the illegal sportsbook operator mistreats you, you do not have a gambling-specific regulatory body to appeal to.

You may try to commence legal proceedings

But given that the service is not recognized in your province, you have little to build your case on.

In the case of legit online casinos, customers have the licensor on their side!

They can also count on respected alternate dispute resolution agencies to step in and correct any operator’s decision.

Prohibited actions

Do not access such sites via mirrors or by using a VPN.

If you do, you have no way of defending yourself, as such practices go against the laws of online sports betting in Canada.

Just because there is a way to access illegal sports betting sites, this does not mean that it’s safe or advised.

Plus, issues will arise even before being directly wronged:

11. Illegitimate Sportsbooks Do Not Uphold Safe Gambling

This is one more sad entry among the illegal sports betting facts.

Unlicensed online sportsbook operators do not provide any protection for the mental health of users in Canada.

Canadians will not find features such as:

  • Deposit limits
  • Reality checks
  • Time-outs
  • Self-exclusion systems, and more

But these are essential tools to staying in control.

These effectively reduce a gambling service’s net profits by protecting any problem sports bettor.

So, illegal sportsbooks essentially profit from the vulnerability that comes with people’s gambling addiction.

12. It Hurts The Canadian Betting Industry As A Whole

You may not be a problem gambler.

But playing on illegal sportsbooks will prove detrimental to the betting industry in Canada in the long run.


  • It will consolidate illegal betting’s place & crime rates in the Canadian gambling space.
  • The popularity of unlawful activity will incite a response from authorities.

The fear of game-fixing, as well as a few actual confirmed cases, led Canadian legislators to outlaw single sports bets before.

Let’s remember how that essentially crippled the national legal sports betting scene.

13. You Are Breaking The Law And Can Face Charges


We did mention how you do not have any legal protection in a conflict with the services. But these may drag you, too, into legal troubles.

So, playing on an unlicensed sportsbook can attract illegal sports betting charges.

These really are no joke. We do mean it!

The maximum punishment for illegal sports betting goes up to two years in jail.

Is Sports Betting Legal in Canada?

Yes. And it is only getting better and safer.

In the past, the Canadian government prohibited single bets.

The current status is different!

Things did change recently with the passing of Bill C-218 on the 23rd of July 2021.

This was the resolution of a six-year process that ended with the legalization of single-game betting.

So, the new answer to “is sports betting legal in Canada?” is a resounding yes.

What’s the lesson here?

Now, you know what illegal sports betting is and how it works, there is no real reason to indulge in it.

The best way to be covered on today’s iGaming market is by knowing your player rights and obligations.

Our legal experts go through the entire body of protective measures imposed by Canadian authorities in our comprehensive guide.