Alberta’s Path to a Regulated Online Gaming Market Discussed at Canadian Gaming Summit

The progression of Alberta towards a regulated online gaming market was a key topic at the 2024 Canadian Gaming Summit. Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction, Dale Nally, provided significant updates during his address on the final day of the event.

Nally revealed that Alberta plans to emulate Ontario’s open market model, welcoming numerous operators. He emphasized that Alberta’s approach would closely follow Ontario’s successful blueprint, which has demonstrated significant growth and economic benefits.

Nally, a strong proponent of Alberta’s business potential, highlighted the province’s favorable conditions, such as the lowest corporate taxes in Canada and lower than 44 U.S. states. He cited predictions of Alberta’s economy growing at twice the national average, presenting a lucrative opportunity for the gaming industry.

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Regulatory Changes with Bill 16

The Alberta legislature recently passed Bill 16, paving the way for a multi-operator online gaming market. This legislation grants the provincial government authority to manage gaming independently from Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC). Consequently, private online gaming operators can now enter the market without being overseen by AGLC.

Nally reassured potential investors that data sharing with AGLC or Play Alberta would not be required. Responsibility for iGaming will shift to the Justice Minister, addressing concerns that commercial operators had about the previous regulatory structure.

Consultations are ongoing with First Nations communities, traditional casino operators, and Racing Entertainment Centre operators. Nally emphasized that economic reconciliation with First Nations will be a priority in Alberta’s gaming market.

Current Market and Goals

According to H2 Gambling Capital, AGLC’s Play Alberta has captured over 45% of the digital gambling market. However, about 55% of the market remains unregulated, lacking oversight and protection protocols. AGLC VP of Gaming Dan Keene acknowledged the need to bring these unregulated activities under a safe and compliant framework.

Alberta’s objectives align with those of Ontario, aiming to convert grey-market players to regulated sites. Ontario’s model, which launched in April 2022, has shown remarkable success, with iGaming Ontario reporting $2.4 billion in revenue in its second year and generating over $4 billion in economic value for the province.

Anticipated Timeline

While no specific timeline was provided, Nally will continue consultations throughout the summer. There is speculation that Alberta Premier Danielle Smith aims to open the regulated iGaming market by the end of the year, although this timeline remains tentative.

The developments in Alberta’s gaming market suggest significant potential for economic growth and regulatory improvements, following the successful model established by Ontario.

Sources:

https://www.canadiangamingbusiness.com/2024/06/20/dale-nally-alberta-canadian-gaming-summit/

https://casinosincanada.com/content/alberta-commences-consultation-on-potential-igaming-revisions/

https://www.alberta.ca/

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