Canada: Alberta initiates consultation on online gambling proposals

The Jerusalem Post
Canada: Alberta initiates consultation on online gambling proposals
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Alberta is gearing up to follow in Ontario's footsteps by launching a regulated online gambling market in 2025.

Canada’s online gambling landscape is poised for expansion following Alberta’s announcement of plans to launch a regulated online gambling market in 2025. This development mirrors Ontario’s successful launch in 2022, which has since contributed CA$ 2.7 billion to the province’s GDP.

At present, Play Alberta, run by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), is the sole legal provider of online casino games in the province. Other brands exist in a legal grey area, comparable to Ontario's situation before 2022, and they are believed to hold about 45 percent of the market share. However, it is highly likely that Albertans may soon start registering at Canadian free spin no deposit casinos, possibly sooner than many think.

Alberta is positioned to assert its influence in the online gambling industry by capitalizing on advantages such as low corporate taxes. As it prepares for the launch of its regulated market, the province has initiated consultations with First Nations, existing land-based casinos, and Racing Entertainment Centres to shape its online gaming framework.

Beyond the current Play Alberta monopoly, Dalley Nally, the Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction, has been assigned the task of finalizing an online gaming strategy in collaboration with Indigenous partners. This strategy emphasizes responsible gaming practices while aiming to enhance provincial and Indigenous revenues. Additionally, Alberta plans to establish an independent administrator for the commercial market, akin to iGaming Ontario, operating separately from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).

Bill 16

The recently passed Bill 16 affirms that the provincial government and the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) have the authority to conduct and manage gaming in the province. Also known as the Red Tape Reduction Statutes Amendment Act, this bill aligns Alberta with Ontario's legislation, positioning it for success by legally enabling the government to permit chosen and licensed third-party operators, alongside PlayAlberta, to offer gaming services and products in Wild Rose Country.

Ontario’s Success 

Ontario's online gaming market has experienced tremendous success since its launch in 2022, securing an astounding $49 billion in revenue just last year. This growth is largely due to the convenience of online gambling, allowing players to enjoy their favorite games on the go.

A recent study highlighting positive online gambling trends in Ontario revealed that over 86% of people who gambled online in recent months did so on government-regulated websites. This marks a significant increase from previous years when many players used unregulated sites. The shift to regulated platforms is intended to provide safer gambling environments and protect players from unethical practices.

Despite this success, Ontario's online gambling boom has faced regulatory challenges. The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà (MCK) contested the authority of iGaming Ontario, arguing that the current system grants too much power to private companies and that the government should not permit these companies to run online lotteries. However, the court upheld iGaming Ontario's authority, ruling that the open online gambling model is constitutional under The Criminal Code of Canada, allowing private companies to assist in operating online lotteries within Ontario's legal framework.

Harnessing Alberta’s Potential

There’s no better time than the present to harness Alberta’s untapped potential by leveraging its high disposable incomes, lower corporate taxes, and streamlined regulations to become a major player in the online gambling industry. Currently, the market is split between government-owned platforms and technically illegal operators, such as Stake, which operate without paying taxes or adhering to local oversight.

By opening a regulated online gambling market, Alberta can reclaim control from these illegal entities, significantly boost provincial revenues, enhance player protection, stimulate economic growth, and ensure a stable and trustworthy iGaming environment. This strategic move will not only fortify Alberta's economic standing but also safeguard its residents and promote responsible gaming practices. Far too many players are falling victim to unregulated platforms, ruining their online gambling experience. It's time to provide the residents of Alberta with a secure way to enjoy their favorite pastime.

This article was written in cooperation with NoDepositCasino.Guide