Alberta Is Set To Regulate the Online Gambling Market, Following Ontario

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Alberta is getting ready for a major shakeup in its gambling regulations. The province is planning to open up the market for casinos and sportsbooks, letting private companies go head-to-head with Play Alberta.

This move, unveiled on June 20 by Service and Red Tape Reduction Minister Dale Nally, puts Alberta as Canada's second province to embrace regulated online gambling, after Ontario. During the Canadian Gaming Summit, Nally was pretty clear about their plans. He said, "We're taking a page right out of Ontario's playbook. They've mapped out the route, and we're just tweaking their model a bit."

The minister painted a picture of an "open and free market" that closely mirrors Ontario's model. This approach has proven to be a goldmine for Ontario, with online gambling contributing a whopping CA$2.7 billion (US$1.97 billion) to the province's GDP. Alberta's hoping to hit the jackpot too, eyeing similar benefits for their own gaming industry.

When Will the New Market Launch in Alberta? 

Minister Nally didn't give a specific date for when this new regulated market will kick off, but the legal groundwork is already set for Premier Danielle Smith to get the ball rolling. Back in May 2024, Alberta's lawmakers gave the green light to a bill that pretty much lets the province run gaming however they want. This was the first step towards opening up the market for the best online casinos.

Ever since, Nally's crew has been talking with all the key players, including Play Alberta and First Nations groups. In any case, the local government believes that the regulated market may get up and running sometime in 2025.

What Does This Mean for Players? 

This new setup will be a game-changer for Alberta's gamblers. Players will have a ton of options when it comes to the best online casinos. This includes a wide range of fully regulated sites, each packed with games, bonuses, and cool features.

Mobile gaming is likely one of the main focuses of the new market. Expect to see some sleek apps for both casino games and sports betting. You'll be able to play the best online slots or place bets on the big games right from your phone, using cutting-edge apps that make everything smooth and easy. 

Here are some other benefits players will gain from the new Alberta gambling regulations: 

  • Better protection: With strict regulations in place, you'll have better consumer protection. This means fairer games, secure transactions, and a safety net if things go wrong.

  • Competitive bonuses: As the gaming sites vie for your attention, you can expect more competitive and generous casino bonuses and promotions. This could mean bigger welcome bonuses, more free spins, or better loyalty rewards.

  • Game variety: A wider variety of games will be at your fingertips. Whether you're into slots, table games, or sports betting, you'll likely find more options than ever before.

  • Improved responsible gambling tools and resources: The casinos will be required to provide more tools and resources to help you stay in control of your gaming habits. Some of the tools you’ll have access to include better self-exclusion options, deposit limits, and educational materials.

  • Faster payouts: You will see more online casinos with the best payout and withdrawal options. This will improve your gambling experience and make it easier to access your winnings.

  • Peace of mind: Playing on legal, licensed sites means you can relax and enjoy your gaming without worrying about the legitimacy of the operation.

What Does This Mean for Operators? 

If Ontario's success is anything to go by, the prospects for operators in Alberta could be massive. They're getting a chance to dive into a fresh market that's practically untouched and loaded with potential. 

Alberta's gambling scene has been dominated by a massive gray market, with a whopping 55% of the revenue flowing to offshore operators. This means a lot of money is going to platforms outside the province. For the smart established and new online casino operators, this presents a significant opportunity. They can attract these gamblers to the legal, regulated market, turning this gray area into a profitable, legitimate business. 

Who Will Be the Regulator?  

Right now, the only legal body available is the Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), which runs the PlayAlberta online gambling brand. But that's about to change. Nally made it crystal clear that AGLC won't be regulating the new operators coming into the province. This is because operators aren't exactly thrilled about sharing their playbook with a body they'll be competing against.

Ontario has a pretty smart setup that Alberta intends to follow. The province has the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario as the referee, but a separate group, iGaming Ontario, runs the actual gaming operations. Alberta could do something similar, creating a bit of breathing room between AGLC and the new independent sportsbooks and casinos.

Giuseppe Faraone

Giuseppe Faraone

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Giuseppe, originally from Milan, now resides in Valencia, Spain, where he keeps up with the latest developments in the gambling industry. He covers new licenses, casinos, bonuses, and games, always striving to provide his readers with comprehensive information and updates. Giuseppe thoroughly tests and rates everything he reviews. In addition to his work as a gambling industry writer, he is also an author. In October 2022, he published his first book, The Untold Story of Online Gambling, which is available on Amazon.
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