Budget plan in Alberta includes $1M to review gaming legislation

Alberta has online gambling but through government-owned platform, PlayAlberta.

Alberta may become the latest jurisdiction in Canada to authorize online casinos following a review of its gaming legislation.

The government of Alberta has released its capital plan and budget for FY2024, which includes allocating funds toward a review of the province’s Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Act. The act, which also includes provincial lotteries, was last updated in December 2022.

The review, which is backed with $1 million in funding, could determine Alberta’s viability as an open online gaming market as Ontario reaps the benefits of regulated mobile sports betting and iGaming. Alberta, which is the fourth-largest province in Canada with a 4.7 million population, is initiating a review of its active gaming legislation as it looks to reduce regulatory burdens on businesses while increasing revenue for the community.

Alberta has online gambling but only through its government-owned platform, PlayAlberta.

The province’s budget, which aims to invest $25 billion over three years, estimates that net income from gaming, lottery, liquor, and cannabis sales in 2024-25 will decline due to an uptick in operational expenses from system upgrades and modernizations. The implementation of online gaming from a multitude of operators could help drive profits and mitigate future losses.

The profits would then go back into Alberta communities, which will see a $7.2 billion investment over three years, according to the province’s capital plan for 2024.

About $2.1 billion of the investment will go to support over 90 projects for K to 12 schools. Alberta estimates its total expense in 2024-25 to reach approximately $73.2 billion.

Efforts to bring an open market to Alberta

Minister Dale Nally of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction launched an initiative in 2023 to broaden the province’s online gaming market through indigenous partners.

“Alberta can be a leading hub for iGaming, with a strong emphasis on openness and a free market. We have low corporate taxes, streamlined regulations, and high disposable incomes,” Nally’s office told PlayCanada last month. “These conditions will allow us to establish ourselves as a premier destination for the iGaming industry.”

Nally and other supporters of online gaming will continue to advocate for the industry despite the Alberta Court of Appeal’s upholding PlayAlberta’s right to exclusively operate last year.

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