Alberta joins Ontario as provinces looking to expand options for sports betting in Canada.
Last week, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis issued a request for proposal in search of two commercial sports betting companies to operate retail sportsbooks in the western province. Until Alberta’s announcement Dec. 10, Ontario was the only province with public plans to allow commercial operators in the Canada sports betting landscape.
The application period will close Jan. 31, 2022. The AGLC could work to expand its online options later in 2022, according to a release.
“This is a first step in creating a new industry throughout the province,” AGLC Acting Vice President of Gaming and Cannabis Steve Lautischer said during a press conference. “The hope is that the first set of retail sportsbooks are operating later in 2022.”
Sports betting in Alberta
The AGLC launched an expanded sports betting product on PlayAlberta.ca on Sept. 1. The lottery’s monopoly led to some pricing issues seen in other lottery-controlled markets.
Canadian provinces gained the ability to regulate single-event sports betting Aug. 27, when C-218 went into effect. Alberta regulators aim for two initial commercial operators to get them off the ground quicker.
“By opening retail sports betting up to two proponents now, AGLC is able to bring this service to sports fans in Alberta earlier in 2022,” AGLC CEO Kandice Machado said. “If AGLC were to open the market up to all vendors, the process required to bring the service to Albertans would be significantly delayed.”
Alberta sports teams involved
Alberta regulators also said they plan to work with the NHL and CFL teams in the province to open stadium sportsbooks.
Those teams include:
- NHL’s Calgary Flames — Scotiabank Saddledome
- CFL’s Calgary Stampeders — McMahan Stadium
- CFL’s Edmonton Elks — The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium
- NHL’s Edmonton Oilers — Rogers Place
“Just imagine the excitement of the Labor Day Classic or a Saturday night Battle of Alberta, and walking over to a licensed sports betting area to bet on who has the next touchdown or goal,” Lautischer said.
Growing commercial operator opportunities in Canada
During hearings for C-218, Ontario emerged as the only province publicly aiming to open to commercial operators. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. ProLine+ launched Aug. 27.
Ontario initially aimed to launch its commercial market by late 2021, but recently sources told LSR it likely will launch sometime in early 2022.