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Alberta Still Exploring an Online Gambling Market

A while back, Alberta shared plans to launch an online gambling market similar to the one in Ontario and there were no updates on it for a while. But at the recent ICE conference in London, Dale Nally, Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction provided an update on the initiative. He said the province could be a hotspot for iGaming in the future.

Mr. Nally joined the ICE conference last week in London along with some of the leading gambling names from the industry. Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey and Canadian Gaming Association’s CEO Paul Burns were also present and they discussed the success of Ontario’s iGaming model and shared insight on the process of how to develop such a framework.

Switching Focus to iGaming

At the conference, Mr. Nally commented Alberta could transform into a leading hub for online casino gaming, with a strong focus on an open and free market. He added that the province has low corporate taxes, streamlined regulations and high disposable incomes and that these conditions will enable it to become a leader in the internet gambling sector.

However, the iGaming initiative in the province has been in the works for quite some time. Last summer, Mr. Nally received a mandate letter from Alberta’s Premier Danielle Smith, which features 10 initiatives that Nally’s ministry should work on. One of the first items on the list was to work with Indigenous partners and develop an online gaming strategy focusing on responsible play.

Half a year later Mr. Nally is committed to the initiative and recently shared that he has held insightful discussions on the top with Mr. Downey at ICE. However, he believes that it is a matter of when and not if Alberta adopts such a model. After moving through changes to the cannabis sector, he is now ready to put his focus on regulated online casinos in The Energy Province.

Back in 2021, lawmakers in the province shared their initial plans for a private market, which would adopt a limited-operator model. At the end of the year, the province even started its Request for Proposals, but there have been no concrete updates since then. There were also concerns that the limited framework would leave most of the major third-party operators out of the market.

Only Legal Site Gets a Revamp

Currently, Alberta offers legal online gambling through PlayAlberta, which is the only regulated platform to offer online casino and sports betting to residents. Operated by Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, the website was revamped in August 2023, via NeoGames’ subsidiary, BtoBet. The latter integrated a fully managed sportsbook solution and provided a wider variety for bettors.

Some of the new features that will be incorporated into the online sportsbook will include player props for all major North American leagues, such as the NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA. Players can also expect single-game parlays, additional markets and leagues, additional outright bets, and new promotional options such as boosted odds and parlay multipliers.