The Province of Alberta is currently working on launching a private sport betting market in a retail and online form for private operators. Last week, Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis has started its Request for Proposals from gambling brands that would like to become a part of the province’s new regulated market. The new regime is on schedule to launch in 2022.
The province’s new gaming market is not what most industry stakeholders expected as it is going to operate in a limited model with only two operators. This is quite the contrast to Ontario’s market which is not limited to a certain number of operators. Also, representatives of the gaming industry have expressed their confusion as to why the province would opt for a limited model.
Application Process Starts
As the process of Request of Applicants and proposals has begun, the Crown corporation is in search of two candidates to provide flexibility and variety in the first phase. Depending on the market’s development the regulator will consider additional opportunities. President and CEO of the AGLC Kandice Machado said that the bid process is another exciting step for the future of Alberta’s gaming industry.
Ms. Machado commented that the Crown is proud to take this next step that will involve the existing casino and racing entertainment industry to work with the province’s largest sports teams. In her words, continuing the province’s gambling expansion is a crucial step in providing gamblers convenience and variety when it comes to wagering entertainment options.
In its statement, the AGLC also revealed that it is in discussions with the casino industry and the Alberta Sports Coalition, which represents the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Stampeders, and Edmonton Elks. Additionally, the Crown has been closely following developments of other provincial lottery markets and gathering expertise on how to safely expand in the future.
The Crown corporation is hopeful that the newly legalized sports betting market will be able to draw away gamblers from unprotected offshore websites and keep revenue to the province. The new market should launch by the end of next year, and the process of accepting proposals from operators will be open until January 31, 2022. The selected brands will be announced after that.
Two Legal Options
Currently, when it comes to single-event sports betting in a regulated environment can be accessed by Albertans via the AGLC’s Play Alberta or via Sport Select. The province launched Play Alberta on September 1, 2021, a few days after the legalization of single-sports wagering, and it is the first online gambling platform for sports betting in the province. Gamblers can choose from a variety of sports such as NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB, NCAA football, soccer, and more.
The other way for Albertans to place wagers on single-sports betting is via the Western Canadian Lottery Corporation’s Sport Select, which launched the offering a month later on November 1, 2021. The WCLC vertical is also available in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and the country’s three northern territories. However, there are gamblers who would like to see a greater variety of wagering options to choose from.
Source: Williams, Radana “AGLC calling for proposals for retail and online sports betting options”, Global News, December 10, 2021