Alberta makes landmark move for gaming expansion


Alberta has been confirmed as the latest Canadian province to consider opening up a regulated online gaming market, audiences at the Canadian Gaming Summit were told. 

On Thursday, June 20, Dale Nally, Alberta Minister of Service and Red Tape Reduction, revealed at CGS that the province is officially moving forward with plans to open its own regulated market. 

“Let me tell you a little bit about what our gaming site is going to look like,” Nally said. “It’s going to be very similar to Ontario, because we’re following their model. As far as I’m concerned, they build the roadmap. We’ll massage it a little bit but it’s been inspired by the experience in Ontario. It’s going to be an open and free market.”

Despite being the only regulated gaming operator in the province, Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis, which operates the PlayAlberta brand, will not oversee the regulated operators in the province, Nally confirmed. 

Nally noted that operators wishing to enter the province would likely feel uneasy about cooperating with the AGLC and sharing data and information with a group that is essentially a competitor. 

Alberta could replicate Ontario’s approach to avoid this issue, where iGaming Ontario works separately from regulator Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to conduct and manage individual gaming operations in the province. 

Building on existing relationships between Alberta’s land-based gambling industry and the First Nations, Nally mentioned that the First Nations in the province will be involved in the marketplace as well.

Nally provided no timeline for the market opening, but did ensure that the legal steps are already in place for Danielle Smith, Alberta Premier, to move forward. 

The announcement follows on from a bill that was passed into legislature in Alberta last month to confirm the province’s ability to conduct and manage gaming as they see fit, opening the door for an open market.