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Alberta plots 2021 launch for igaming offering


Alberta, one of the only two Canadian provinces yet to offer an online gambling product to consumers, has confirmed plans to launch an offering next year.

The launch was announced in the province’s 2020 budget, as part of government efforts to modernize and add fairness to several revenue streams. This also sees a new tax introduced on vaping, and the province’s tourism levy applied to short-term rentals.

The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC), which already oversees the state’s land-based and lottery gaming market, will be responsible for the regulation of the online offering.

The technology provider for the offering is to be selected through a request for proposals (RFP), with a view to selecting an igaming solution by mid-2020, and the launch of the platform expected by mid-2021. As RFP discussions are ongoing, AGLC told iGB, they are unable to comment on exact dates at this point. 

Alberta currently hosts land-based casinos, video lottery terminal venues, racing entertainment and a lottery as its only forms of legal gambling. For the fiscal year ended March 31 2019, revenue from these offerings totalled CAD$1.45bn. 

This is expected to decline to $1.41bn for the year ended March 31 2020, though this is ahead of the $1.39bn forecasted by the provincial government. A further decline is expected in the 2020-21 fiscal year, to $1.40bn. 

However, the roll-out of igaming, assuming it goes ahead in mid-2021, will lead to an uptick in revenue, projections reveal. For 2021-22, gaming and lottery revenue is expected to rise to $1.45bn, then to $1.47bn in 2022-23.

Alberta’s igaming project means Saskatchewan will be the only Canadian providence that does not offer online gambling.

However, other provinces are now looking to expand their igaming industries, with Ontario announcing plans to introduce single-event sports betting and end Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s (OLG) monopoly in the channel in April 2019.

A bill to legalize single-event betting across the country was also filed in the Canadian parliament last month.