Sports betting continues to make waves throughout Canada – this time in Alberta. The province is set to follow suit by moving forward with legal sports betting. However, the model adopted by its counterpart, Ontario, will not take shape in Alberta.
It has become apparent that provincial regulators in Alberta do not favour an open market for sports betting. This is evident by way of the latest developments that have come to the fore in The Sunshine Province. It’s becoming increasingly clear that a limited sports betting industry will take form.
Alberta has been identified as having a promising market for sports betting. Alberta is home to two NHL teams – the Oilers and the Flames. Added to which, there are two football teams that play in the Canadian Football League. Plus, there happen to be passionate sports followers in the province. Individuals who are fiercely loyal to their local teams as well as displaying a keen interest in other sports leagues in North America and beyond. This is only bound to fuel further growth within the market for sports betting.
For these reasons it is quite a surprise that the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) – and various other regulatory bodies – seem set on implementing a restricted model for sports betting in the province. This certainly goes against the grain – especially with regards to the current market taking form in Ontario. In B-Town, a competitive and far less restricted market will be in existence. This includes at least a dozen different operators which certainly bodes well for consumers. A highly-competitive private sector will ensure that consumers are exposed to quality online sports betting platforms that constantly need to up their services in order to compete. The same might not be true for Alberta come 2022.
The latest news coming out of Alberta is that the province may only allow two sports betting platforms. It remains to be seen if this will be the case in the new year. But, the mere fact that the market for sports betting will be small in scope is somewhat perplexing to many stakeholders; not to mention the general public. From a state-perspective, limiting the number of sports betting operators in the province will also stifle tax revenue. There is great potential to ensure an uptick in tax revenue streams from sports betting if an open structure is employed as opposed to a more closed market structure.
There has been a lot of interest shown by operators, and sports teams, when murmurs of sports betting in Alberta started. Established sports teams are looking to monetize their brands and gain further exposure through sports betting channels. Sports betting operators, as has been the case in Ontario, will be eager to attain the necessary licences to provide such services in Alberta to a portion of the 4.3 million residents.
With recent discussions, much of this may not materialise. Another contentious issue that is under the spotlight is the existence of a grey market where offshore sites run amok. Without an influx of regulated operators, not just one or two, many feel that unregulated sports betting sites will continue to flourish. Thus, there are a handful of considerations and issues that need to be addressed before Alberta can roll out sports betting in full. We’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date on all the latest coming out of The Sunshine Province. Stay tuned to find out where, and when, you can start betting legally online in Alberta.
Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.
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