Is online sports betting legal in Alberta?

Yes. Online sports betting is legal in Alberta, albeit in a limited fashion. The PlayAlberta website, under the oversight of Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, is the only regulated online sports betting website for people in the province. 

The only other way for Albertans to bet on sports is through Sport Select, a sports betting game from the Western Canada Lottery Corp., similar to Proline Sportsbook in Ontario. Neither PlayAlberta nor Sport Select are available via app, so bettors must place wagers through their respective websites. 

The status of sports betting in Alberta

Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis is a provincial organization that oversees PlayAlberta, which consists of not only the sportsbook but the province’s lottery and online casino offerings. 

While PlayAlberta is the only regulated sports betting website available to people in Alberta at the moment, AGLC put out a request for proposals in December 2021, soliciting bids from prospective sportsbooks to join the regulated market.

AGLC was seeking two sports betting companies to run retail locations, with mobile extensions likely part of the deal. The bidding process had an original deadline of Jan. 31, 2022, which then moved to Feb. 14, 2022. Regulators in the province have been silent since that new deadline passed more than a year ago, and an AGLC representative recently told LSR the organization is still “working through the process.”

Possible sportsbooks coming to Alberta

With sports betting in Alberta still in a state of evolution, it is difficult to predict which books may eventually launch in Alberta. With more than 4 million residents (around the same population as Oregon or Louisiana, two states where sports betting is legal) and two big-league sports teams, Alberta would likely be a desirable market for online sports betting companies. 

The province was reportedly looking for two sportsbooks to start, so it could be a while before three or more books are live in the province. With that in mind, here are four potential candidates, all of which already have a presence in Ontario:

BetMGM Sportsbook

One of the top sportsbooks south of the border and in Ontario, BetMGM Sportsbook combines a recognizable brand with a huge selection of sports to bet on. Also known for its Edit My Bet feature, BetMGM is one of the top names in sports betting in North America and a likely choice to be one of Alberta’s first couple sportsbooks.  

DraftKings Sportsbook

DraftKings Sportsbook has to be in the conversation in smaller markets like Alberta. In places like Oregon or Wyoming, DraftKings is either the only legal online betting option or one of a small few. It also already has the built-in rapport with daily fantasy users in Alberta and is often quick to enter new markets. 

FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel Sportsbook is similar to DraftKings in that people in Alberta are familiar with the brand through its DFS product. Additionally, fans may have seen ads for FanDuel Sportsbook on television broadcasts of various sports, particularly as the sportsbook is partnered with TSN, one of Canada’s two national sports broadcasters. The sportsbook was one of the first to arrive in Ontario in April 2022 and is a front-runner for launch quickly in most new markets.

TheScore Bet 

TheScore is a familiar brand in Canada sports betting as the company previously owned The Score Television Network, a popular sports channel. After selling off its TV property, the company retained its digital media assets and added a sportsbook once the Ontario sports betting legal market opened in April 2022. 

TheScore Bet has since become one of the more popular sportsbooks in Ontario and it would not be a surprise to see it thrive in Alberta as well. 

Other types of legal gambling in Alberta

Western Canada Lottery Corp.

The WCLC manages and operates lottery games in Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Games include several lotteries with differing prize amounts, keno, scratch games, pick games and Sport Select.

Sport Select

Virtually the same as Ontario’s legacy sports betting provider Proline Sportsbook, Sport Select is available throughout Western Canada and allows bettors to wager up to $100 on spreads, totals, props or futures for select events. 

Bettors usually combine multiple wagers on one ticket, but single-event wagering is now available for some games. Sport Select also offers pools where bettors compete against one another.

Bettors can wager via the Sport Select website, generating a QR code that you can use to redeem winnings at a participating lottery retailer. 

DFS

Daily fantasy sports contests are legal in Alberta, and bettors have been competing in DFS contests for years on platforms such as DraftKings and FanDuel. It is unclear at this time whether DFS contests would still be available on those platforms if one or both became active sports betting providers in Alberta.

In Ontario, both DraftKings and FanDuel ended their DFS offerings after launching online sportsbooks and casinos in the province. 

Horse betting

Alberta has a long history of betting on horse races, and there are six tracks in the province open for harness racing and thoroughbreds:

Casinos

Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis oversees Alberta’s 28 brick-and-mortar casinos, all of which offer some combination of slot machines, electronic table games, live table games, VLTs and a casino experience called Replay Arena. That is a social entertainment space in some casinos where friends play automated or live games while “dealertainers” entertain and facilitate the games.

Popular sports to bet on in Alberta

As is the case in most of Canada, hockey is king in Alberta. The province has two teams in the NHL, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, with die-hard fan bases. 

Alberta has no other pro teams among the major four leagues in North America, but there is a following for MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors as the only teams in those leagues in Canada. 

NFL betting is also popular in Alberta, with the Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings the closest teams to the southern border of the province. 

But as ubiquitous as the NFL may be in North America, the CFL is quite popular in the Canadian prairies. The two teams in Alberta, the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Elks, are two of the most popular pro sports teams in the province. 

Alberta sports betting law

Sports betting has been legal in Alberta and Canada for many years, but most of that time it was only available in the form of parlay-style bets via provincial lotteries like Sport Select. 

That changed when Canada’s Parliament passed Bill C-218 — the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act — on June 22, 2021, opening the door for provinces to allow single-game sports betting. PlayAlberta launched soon after on Sept. 21, 2021.

Bettors must be 18 or older and located in the province to register and play on an AGLC-regulated sports betting website. Wagering on college sports is available on PlayAlberta, but the sportsbook tends only to offer US-based college sports betting

Alberta sports betting timeline

2021: C-218 — the single-game sports betting bill — clears Parliament. The bill receives full House approval in April, and it passes the Senate in June 2021. Individual provinces handle their own regulations, with an effective date of Aug. 27. 

On Sept. 21, Alberta becomes the eighth province to offer legal single-game sports betting with the launch of PlayAlberta. 

2020: Private member Kevin Waugh introduces C-218 in February, but there is little action in 2020. The bill doesn’t get its second reading until nearly a year later, in February 2021.

One notable development in 2020 came in June when multiple professional leagues jointly issued their support of single-game betting in Canada.

2016: The decade’s second attempt to legalize single-game Canada sports betting fails.

2012: An attempt to legalize single-game sports betting in Canada passes the House, but it goes no further. The Senate fails to act on the legislation for years.

2011: This year sees the introduction of an attempt to end the federal ban on single-game sports betting in Canada that would continue in 2012.

1996: The AGLC launches, combining the responsibilities of Alberta’s liquor, lottery and gambling boards into one organization. 

1974: The Western Canada Lottery Corp. begins offering lottery games to residents in Western Canada. 

Alberta sports betting FAQ

Who can bet on sports in Alberta?

You need to be 18 or older and inside provincial borders to bet on sports legally in Alberta.

Am I able to use my phone to bet in Alberta?

Yes. Your phone will work for sports betting through the PlayAlberta website. There is no app for PlayAlberta, so bettors must use the web browser on their phone or another device. 

Who oversees Alberta sports betting?

The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission is the regulator for Alberta sports betting.

Where can I place a bet on sports in Alberta?

As of now, you can wager online via the PlayAlberta website or bet through Sport Select at various lottery retailers. 

Can I play daily fantasy sports in Alberta?

Yes. DFS contests are legal and available in Alberta through providers such as DraftKings and FanDuel. 

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