AGLC to launch sports-first app, add Aristocrat content to Play Alberta

VP of Gaming Dan Keene chats to Canadian Gaming Business

Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) is preparing to overhaul its Play Alberta platform later this year as the province continues to explore opening a regulated commercial online gambling market.

The commission will launch a Play Alberta app for the first time and expects to roughly double the size of its game portfolio on its site, AGLC VP of Gaming Dan Keene told Canadian Gaming Business this week.

Play Alberta, the only regulated online gaming platform in the province, is coming up on its fourth anniversary but is currently available only via desktop or mobile browsers. AGLC will introduce a new app for the platform in September, to coincide with its four years of operation. Also tying in with the beginning of the next NHL and NFL seasons, the app will be sportsbook-only at first but will ultimately expand to include all of Play Alberta’s gaming verticals.

“Play Alberta is still fairly young in its lifecycle and we’ve always had eyes on developing an app because it’s critical to the delivery of the product,” Keene said. “Our plan is to launch an app in September that will be focused on the sports vertical to start. Early next calendar year, we’ll add the rest of the verticals like live dealer, casino, lottery.”

Keene stressed that one of the main motivations is to allow for easier access to the platform’s suite of responsible gambling tools.

Consolidating growth amid competition

Estimates suggest that more than half of the overall online gaming market in Alberta is still held by unregulated sites. While Play Alberta’s market share sits at a little over 45% with around 9% of Alberta’s legal-age population signed up, it’s evident that some Albertans are playing elsewhere.

“We know there are a lot of competitors out there and likely to be more in the future,” acknowledged Keene. “It’s about continuing to bring a responsible product to Albertans in a way that they feel is competitive and interesting for them.”

Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction Dale Nally began consultations with First Nations representatives last week and will chat with traditional casino and racing entertainment centre operators this summer. Nally is following a mandate to explore how Alberta’s online gaming industry could be expanded to include commercial operators in a way that makes sense for the province and all stakeholders.

Last month, the Alberta legislature passed Bill 16, the Red Tape Reduction Statutes Amendment Act, which, in essence, legally allows the government to choose to allow commercial online gaming operators to enter the market to compete with AGLC. While such a move would expand regulated competition for Play Alberta in a regulated market, Keene stressed that AGLC welcomes that prospect because revenue generation for the province and player protection are key.

“Numerous gaming providers have existed in Alberta for decades. Albertans are already participating, the market is already mature. We want to have the market available in a safe way to Albertans. Right now, we don’t have that. We fully embrace what the minister is doing.”

Aristocrat content on horizon

It’s not only the new app and an increased emphasis on sportsbook that are on the horizon for the AGLC.

Keene said that the AGLC’s platform will soon be adding further enhancements, such as new payment options like PayPal and Apple Pay and a vast increase in online casino and slots games.

“I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that our plans call for almost a doubling of the game content, specifically slot content, on the site.”

A notable evolution will be the integration of a slate of Aristocrat Gaming titles to Play Alberta. Aristocrat completed its acquisition of the parent company of NeoPollard Interactive, the technology provider that powers Play Alberta, in April and the Australian games manufacturer’s titles will soon have a noticeable presence in Alberta.

“We would suspect to see a nice support of Aristocrat Gaming on the Play Alberta side going forward,” added Keene. “But it’s not just that vendor, there are other exciting vendors we’re looking to bring to the site.”

AGLC make hay while the Oilers shine

While Play Alberta has grown over the years, the AGLC has never quite known a time like right now. They’ve got the Edmonton Oilers to thank.

With the Oilers in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in nearly 20 years, Play Alberta has had its biggest uptick in betting activity in its four years of existence. The NHL always attracts more wagers than any other sport, but betting has gone through the roof in recent weeks. Keene noted that the platform has seen steady increases in both the number of bettors and the volume and handle of wagers round by round as the Oilers have progressed through the playoffs.

AGLC has capitalized on the heightened interest by bolstering the hockey betting experience. Custom markets, 10-times odds boosts on every game, free-build parlays and ticket and suite giveaways are some of the ways Play Alberta has stepped up its game.

This surge will naturally level out in the coming weeks as either the Oilers or the Florida Panthers lift the grand prize. But AGLC feels that when this particular power play ends, it’s still well-positioned as Alberta gaming looks to the future.

You might also like