The State of Online Casino Gambling in Alberta: Current Trends and Future Predictions

The gambling industry is an environment that is constantly changing, evolving, and adapting. In the past couple of years, Canadians in Ontario and other provinces have seen massive additions to the regulatory frameworks, allowing them to enjoy more of what the market offers. In this article, we will examine Alberta and all the expansive regulatory changes on the horizon for the province. We will also talk about the current trends of the region and what players can expect to see in the future that will benefit them.

Current State of Online Gambling in Alberta

Currently, the state of online casinos in Alberta could be better, especially compared to Ontario and its open market. It’s far more limited and restrictive, so players have been adamant about seeing legislative changes to provide them with better and more engaging entertainment options.

Regulatory Framework

Right now, the only regulatory body with the power to regulate and license in Alberta is the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission (AGLC). It oversees all the land-based gambling activities in the province and operates the only legal online casino, PlayAlberta.

This creates a monopoly for the market where no operators can legally introduce their offerings to the players. Punters here don’t have a choice of where they will lawfully enjoy casino games since AGLC is the only operator currently on the scene. However, this type of landscape will undoubtedly change with recent additions on the horizon, which we will discuss.

Market Size and Growth

Even with such restrictive regulations, Alberta’s player base and market size are growing daily. Unfortunately, this means that most punters are choosing to play their favorite games in offshore international casinos accepting Canadian players, even if that is technically illegal.

It’s a shame that such a massive market is held up by a singular operator that doesn’t even make much effort to provide punters with extensive gaming options and activities. This isn’t to say that PlayAlberta is a downright unappealing casino, but there are thousands of better options out there that players here can’t join.

The modern gambling player base demands more variety and diversity from the brands, and it won’t be satisfied with just a couple of software developers displayed. Alberta punters are eager to have a provincially-regulated market that will allow them to explore and gamble with many operators.

Regarding the modern trends in Alberta’s gambling space, the industry and the community follow a relatively similar direction to the rest of the world, even with such a rigid regulatory environment. This tells us that the punters would significantly benefit from the systemic changes to the province’s iGaming laws, just like Ontario did back in 2022.

Expansion of Game Offerings

At the end of the day, game offerings are the most crucial part of any gambling market or casino brand. Like any other region, Alberta players long for expansive game libraries that provide thousands of hours of entertainment, allowing them to enjoy their favorite titles or explore new products.

It would be unfair to say that PlayAlberta doesn’t deliver with its catalog of games. Players can enjoy classic table titles like poker, roulette, blackjack, and baccarat in live dealer and computer versions. The casino also features many online slots, a separate sports betting page, instant games, and lotteries.

And even though this may seem like a pretty substantial offering, it’s worth noting that punters can only experience a little more than a dozen software providers here. Compared to hundreds of other studios in the industry, this is a seriously low number, limiting the players from experiencing a sea of different gambling products full of variety and diversity.

Integration of Responsible Gambling Measures

While expanding game offerings is undoubtedly a priority for the market, responsible gambling is another subject that should never be overlooked. Granted, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) does a decent job of bringing this message to the forefront of the community.

Responsible gambling measures, such as extensive guidelines and account tools, have become essential to any regulated casino environment and are the best options for players who want to stay safe. Various help centers and third-party web organizations dedicated to battling casino addiction are also present and beneficial to the market.

Latest Developments in 2024

In the first half of 2024, we’ve seen massive developments for the Alberta regulatory market in the iGaming industry. Even though we haven’t seen any concrete changes yet, official news suggests we will see a complete overhaul of the scene soon.

Legislative Changes

One of the most significant news stories we’ve witnessed until recently is the presentation of Bill 16 and the legislative changes proposed in April 2024. This bill would effectively allow the province to introduce a separate body governing online gambling and AGLC.

This would end the PlayAlberta monopoly since numerous quality online casinos would be introduced. It would create competition on the market, and punters wouldn’t have to spend their time in offshore online casinos just because they legally can’t access other Canadian-friendly casinos.

Adoption of Ontario’s iGaming Model

In 2022, Ontario launched its competitive online gambling market by introducing the separate iGaming Ontario regulatory body. Since then, the market has offered 50 operators, which resulted in over 1.3 million accounts and a massive industry expansion.

In its second year, the market contributed CA$2.7bn to the province’s GDP. This was the right move for Ontario, as things have been going nowhere but upward since its gambling evolution. It’s also worth noting that these changes also introduced over 15,000 jobs to the people.

Alberta is looking to follow the example of Ontario’s iGaming model, with a few tweaks here and there. This will undoubtedly result in enormous benefits for consumers and the region. And while we don’t know precisely when these changes will occur, some speculations suggest it could be as early as 2025.

Economic Reconciliation with First Nations

Furthermore, Alberta’s minister of service and red tape reduction, Dale Nally, stated that the communities of First Nations operating land-based casinos will also share a piece of the newly formed market in the future, which is undoubtedly an appropriate step considering the inevitable upcoming expansion.

Future Predictions for Alberta’s iGaming Market

In the upcoming months, we are confident that there will be more news about Alberta’s determination to liberate the province’s online gambling market monopoly. The future is more than bright, and we can’t wait to see what comes next for the players in this region.

Expansion of Licensing and Market Liberalization

The improvements in licensing laws will undoubtedly have a massive effect on Alberta’s iGaming industry. The market’s imminent growth will bring many new operators to the scene, introducing competition to the environment and, consequently, better products.

Since Ontario’s model will be adopted, we can expect similar results in Alberta. Punters will have many more choices when choosing the online casino where they want to play. They won’t be restricted to a few titles since hundreds of new software providers will be showcased in the province for the first time.

Enhanced Player Experience through Technology

With new operators on the market, players will also enjoy all the modern technologies used to enhance the user experience in gambling. For example, artificial intelligence has brought many new features to the industry, with better accessibility and game fairness being ensured with its usage.

Casino brands have also started introducing gamified elements to their platforms. In addition to playing all the fantastic games, punters can complete exciting tasks, missions, and achievements for additional rewards. Technology has also significantly increased the social aspect of gambling, allowing players to easily communicate with others by sharing tips or simply chatting, which creates a sense of community.

Additionally, virtual and augmented reality gambling platforms are becoming more prevalent worldwide. If Alberta keeps expanding the provincial market, punters could likely experience cutting-edge products.

Growth of Mobile Gaming

According to numerous statistics worldwide, mobile gambling has become the pinnacle of the industry. Even though many players still enjoy their favorite games on desktop computers, most have switched to playing casino titles on their smartphones.

Another interesting fact is that many people try the hobby for the first time simply because it is available on their iOS and Android devices. Nowadays, almost everyone owns a smartphone, making it incredibly easy to join in on the fun.

The growth of the Alberta market will introduce numerous casino brands with fully optimized mobile gaming, allowing punters to enjoy everything the industry offers from the comfort of their couch or on the go.

Focus on Responsible Gambling and Player Protection

Of course, as the market grows, the governing bodies will dedicate a lot more effort and resources to increasing responsible gambling measures and player protection. Safety and security will be at the forefront of priorities, especially considering that many people will experience online casinos for the first time.

Spreading the message of responsible play is essential to minimizing the cases of addiction and financial problems. Every player needs to be met with the necessary safety guidelines, as well as all the beneficial tools that can assist them in avoiding problem gambling.

In Summary

Considering everything, the current state of online gambling in Alberta is bound to undergo drastic structural changes in the near future. The expansion of the market will create a better environment for players by allowing them to legally access numerous casino brands and enjoy all the entertainment they can offer. We are excited to see how everything unfolds and what these changes will lead to later down the road.