Could Alberta Sports Betting Apps Go Live This Year?

Written By

Updated on

Alberta sports betting

TORONTO – While the province’s beloved Edmonton Oilers used momentum to force a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals, a new push could get the Alberta sports betting market off the ground by the end of the year.

At the Canadian Gaming Summit last week, Alberta sports betting was the talk of the conference. That included Dale Nally, minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction, confirming during a keynote speech the province will follow a model similar to Ontario sports betting.

“It’s going to be very similar to Ontario because we’re following their model,” Nally said, noting how much the province loves sports and the Oilers. “As far as I’m concerned, they built 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.”

Multiple speakers throughout the Summit said commercial Alberta sportsbooks could launch by the end of the year. It would be the second online commercial market in Canada sports betting.

Alberta sports betting path

Last month, Alberta lawmakers passed Bill 16, which allows the province to create a new regulatory body to oversee sports betting and online casinos, similar to iGaming Ontario

That means Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis will not oversee the market. Nally said commercial operators made it clear they did not want AGLC running the market because AGLC runs PlayAlberta, the province’s online online gambling site.

PlayAlberta launched in 2021 after Canadian lawmakers changed the criminal code to allow for single-event sports wagering.

What’s next for Alberta sports betting

Nally said the discussions on the market’s framework are ongoing. 

That includes conversations with the province’s 45 First Nations and commercial land-based casino operators. Those discussions will run through the summer, Nally said.

“We drew a line in the sand in 2019 and said we would be partners with indigenous communities,” Nally said. “We want them to be a part of the prosperity.” 

What will be different in Alberta? 

In Ontario, there is tension between First Nations and the provincial government, including a recent court case. This month, the Ontario Superior Court dismissed the Mohawk Council of Kahnawàke‘s case, which sought to defend its sovereignty in gambling.

Nally said he wants the First Nations involved as a form of “economic reconciliation.” 

He also said, unlike Ontario, he wants Alberta’s 29 land-based casinos to be directly linked to the online market. Nelly did not specify if that means tethering licenses to casinos or some other type of connection.

Ontario’s first two years

In its second year of commercial online gambling, Ontario bettors wagered CAD$63 billion, a 78% increase over the first year, according to a market report released in April.

Operators generated CAD$2.4 billion in revenue, a 72% year-over-year increase.