Alberta’s online sports betting and gambling market has attracted plenty of interest from private operators, but the process turns out to be a slow-paced one. The revamp of the legal sports betting framework is attracting interest from private operators such as BetMGM, PointsBet, and theScore Bet, but there have been no updates on the market for a while.
TheScore Bet has shared that it will be working with the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission on the development of a competitive regulated market for iGaming. Telecom leader, Rogers Communications Inc. is also interested and said it supports the development of such an internet gambling framework to benefit Canadians by encouraging responsible play.
Province is Taking Its Time
Currently, AGLC’s PlayAlberta is the only regulated provider of online sports betting and gambling, and in 2021 the province shared plans for expanding the sector. The Crown announced a Request for Proposals in December 2021, and its deadline was February 14, 2022. However, since then, the province has not announced any winning bids from private operators.
Even at that time, it became clear that there were plenty of interested parties in Alberta’s consideration of a similar iGaming market to Ontario’s. AGCL revealed that it was in discussions with representatives of the gambling industry and the Alberta Sports Coalition, a group representing the NHL’s Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers and the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Elks.
However, while the industry awaits development on the matter, in August 2023, AGLC announced the launch of a revamped and enhanced sportsbook on the PlayAlberta iGaming portal. Via the new offering, players can now access new player props, same-game parlays, and new betting markets. NeoGames’ subsidiary, BtoBet, provided a platform for the new sportsbook.
It seems that the new iGaming initiative in the province may not be as high on the agenda as two years ago, as the provincial government is busy disputing over pensions and power grids. Despite the fact United Conservative Party has more than enough seats in the provincial legislature, the back-and-forth with the federal government is likely taking lots of its time, leaving none for iGaming.
Alberta is a Desired Market
However, it should be mentioned that Alberta is a market of high potential, as its population is keeping up with jurisdictions such as Louisiana and Kentucky, which have both tout a competitive market for online sports betting and reap the rewards of it. With such a foundation, it is quite clear why private sports betting firms are closely monitoring Alberta.
Previously, the CEO of PointsBet, Sam Swanell, said that the total addressable market in Canada for third-party operators would expand outside of Ontario. He pointed out that Alberta is a good example of that and that it could become a reality in the second half of 2024, predicting that the CA$2-billion market could transform into a CA$2.5-billion one.