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Alberta Sets Aside CA$1M for Online Gambling Initiative

Alberta is finally making some progress on its previously announced online gambling sector. Last week, when the province announced its new budget, it revealed that it had assigned CA$1 million for a review of the current iGaming model. The decision to evaluate options is another step for the province to potentially launch a similar framework to the one seen in Ontario.

However, Alberta’s online gaming sector has been in the works for quite a while now, as a few years ago, the province announced that it would introduce a limited-operator model. But with the latest developments, it seems this could be reviewed. It even kicked off a Request for Proposals for operators to submit their bids for operating in the province.

iGaming Sector is Slowly Moving Forward

Last week, the Albertan government revealed its 2024 budget, which included a brief section on iGaming. It said CA$1 million will support a review of the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act and support regulation, to minimize the regulatory burden on businesses and find ways to increase contributions to local charities and community facilities.

Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction, Dale Nally, will be in charge of the review. Also, last month, his office confirmed that he is working on an open and regulated iGaming sector similar to the one in Ontario. It seems that only after a few weeks, the province has started working on the initiative, despite still only being in the early development stages.

He also attended the ICE gambling conference in London joined by industry leaders, including Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey and Canadian Gaming Association’s CEO Paul Burns. There they were able to discuss the success of Ontario’s iGaming model and shared insight on the process of how to develop such a gambling framework for private operators.

Furthermore, Mr. Nally claimed that Alberta could become 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 gaming sector.

Plenty of Interest

While the sector is still in its early stages, many operators have expressed their interest in the province’s market. For instance, back in 2022, PointsBet Canada shared its desire to explore the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor. This was due to the province’s big sports fan base and business-friendly environments, such as competitive tax rates and a diverse workforce.

On top of that recently, the company included a section titled “Canada Business Review” which was featured in its fiscal report. Via the segment, the company estimated that Alberta would add 11% to the country’s net gaming revenue. In the meantime, Ontario is the clear leader with 53% or a total of 76% of Canada’s net gaming revenue.

Source: Alberta Government, February 29, 2024