Alberta’s gambling regulator, Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) says it’s ready to move Alberta sports betting online in 2021. With a little help from the Canadian government, which is set to lift its ban on single-game betting, the province’s PlayAlberta.ca casino and lottery game website could become a full-fledged online sportsbook by the end of the year.
That means thousands of new legal sports-betting opportunities are headed here, well beyond the lottery parlay-style sports bets available in Alberta now. AGLC brass says single-game betting will give Albertans 18 and up a number of new and unique options for betting on their favourite sporting events.
This includes greater odds of a successful bet and a choice between betting markets, from outrights to point spreads and props. Plus, AGLC execs say the organization is ready to integrate those options into PlayAlberta.ca almost immediately and work with its industry stakeholders to offer sports betting in destination facilities throughout the province as well. Here’s all you need to know about online sports betting in Alberta, including how Alberta sports betting works now and what’s about to change.
Alberta sports betting timeline and recent updates
- Early 1990s: the Western Canada Lottery Corporation and the government of Alberta launched the Sports Select sports betting lottery product at lottery retailers in Alberta. It offers parlay sports wagering, the only legal form of sports betting in Canada. Depending on the game type,
Sports Select parlays are generally from three to six or two to ten legs. All legs within the parlay must win for the parlay to win.
- Early 2021: AGLC was planning to take Sports Select and various other lottery products online in 2021. Then, in April 2021, the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, which will ultimately legalize single-game wagering in Canada, passed its third and final reading in the House of Commons. It’s now in the hands of the Senate, where it will be up for debate and could pass by the end of the year. This law will give AGLC the chance to launch an even broader sports betting product on PlayAlberta.ca, something akin to a full-fledged online sportsbook.
AGLC executives have gone on the record supporting the federal government’s efforts to legalize single-game sports betting in Canada. They say they will be ready to flip the switch allowing single-game wagering through PlayAlberta.ca right away and help to bring sports betting to certain destination facilities throughout Alberta when those efforts bear fruit.
How sports betting works in Alberta right now
Alberta has just a single option when it comes to betting on sports: The Western Canada Lottery Corporation’s Sport Select available at Alberta lottery retailers. It is open to players 18 or older and is expected to launch online in 2021. Sport Select does offer a variety of parlay bet types for sports, leagues, and tournaments around the globe, including:
- PRO-LINE: Pick from three to six games with three possible outcomes: Visitor Win, Tie, or Home Win. Bet from $2 to $100. If all your picks are correct, you win your bet multiplied by the posted odds of each outcome. Tie rules include Football games decided by three points or less, Basketball games decided by five points or less, and Hockey and Soccer games tied after regulation.
- Over/under: Pick from two to ten games with two possible outcomes: Over or Under the totals line. Bet from $2 to $100. If all your picks are correct, you win your bet multiplied by the posted odds of each outcome.
- Point spread: Pick from two to 12 games with two possible outcomes: Visitor Win or Home Win with a posted point spread factored into the final score. Bet from $2 to $100. If all your picks are correct, you win your bet multiplied by a set amount based on the number of picks made and the sport, up to 500-times your bet for 12/12 in all sports. Plus, there are subsidiary prizes for 9/10, 10/11, or 11/12 correct.
- Pools: $5 pools where you predict the outcome of every game on a POOLS Card. The most wins share in the prize pool.
- Props: Pick the winner of three to six head-to-head challenge match-ups. Bet from $2 to $100. If all your picks are correct, you win your bet multiplied by the posted odds of each outcome. Props include Basketball Points, Baseball Hitters, Hockey Points, Soccer Goals, Golf Scores, Football Receiving Yards, Quarterback Yards and Running Back Yards.
- Double play: Combine PRO-LINE and OVER/UNDER bets on one ticket.
- Combo play: Combine PRO-LINE, OVER/UNDER or POINT SPREAD bets for the same games. Pick from 2, 3, 4 or 5-Game Combos. Bet from $2 to $20. Ticket cost is your bet multiplied by the total number of combinations. If all your picks are correct, or almost all your picks are correct, you win. Payouts are based on odds. combo size and number of games.
When is single-game betting coming to Alberta?
Single-game wagering will come to Alberta as soon as the federal government makes it legal. The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act will legalize single-game wagering across Canada. This bill passed its third and final reading in the House of Commons on April 22, 2021. It is now off to the Senate, where it will go through a similar process and could pass by the end of 2021. That would bring legal single-game wagering to Alberta by the end of 2021.
Ultimately, that will eliminate the need to bet on parlays when betting sports in Alberta. That means no more combining bets together and single-game odds and lines available through the province’s PlayAlberta.ca casino and lottery game website. AGLC says it will bring Alberta new and unique options for sports betting, better odds of winning, and fair market prices paid when you do win.
Which retail and online sportsbooks are coming to Alberta?
Single-game wagering will come to the PlayAlberta.ca casino and lottery game website first. However, AGLC says it will also work with its industry stakeholders to offer sports betting in destination facilities throughout Alberta. In other words, land-based casinos in Alberta could soon offer sports betting.
There are 28 AGLC licensed casinos and racing centres that offer slots, table games and a variety of entertainment across Alberta. Retail sportsbooks may be next. Here’s a complete list of Alberta casinos and racing centres:
Century Downs Racetrack and Casino
- 260 Century Downs Drive, Rocky View County, AB T4A 0V5
- Tel.: 587-349-7777
- 1420 Meridian Road NE, Calgary, AB T2A2N9
- Tel.: 403-248-9467
Cash Casino Place
- 4040B Blackfoot Trail SE, Calgary, AB T2G4E6
- Tel.: 403-287-1635
Deerfoot Inn & Casino
- 11500 – 35 Street SE, Calgary, AB T2Z3W4
- Tel.: 403-236-7529, 1-877-236-5225
Elbow River Casino
- 218-18 Avenue SE, Calgary, AB T2G1L1
- Tel.: 403-289-8880
Grey Eagle Casino (Tsuu T’ina First Nations)
- 3777 Grey Eagle Dr. (37 St. SW & Glenmore Tr.) Calgary, AB T3E3X8
- Tel.: 403-385-3777
Century Casino Calgary Inc.
- 1010 – 42 Avenue SE, Calgary, AB T2G1Z4
- Tel.: 403-287-1183
- 421 – 12 Avenue SE, Calgary, AB T2G1A5
- Tel.: 403-514-0900 or 1-888-610-UWIN (8946)
Camrose Resort Casino
- 3201 48 Avenue, Camrose, AB T4V0S5
- Tel.: 780-679-0904
- Hwy 28 & Hwy 897 ( ~7km S of Cold Lake)
- Box 1859, Station Main, Cold Lake, AB T9M1P4
- Tel.: 780-594-7900
- 7055 Argyll Road NW, Edmonton, AB T6C4A5
- Tel.: 780 463-9467
- 12464 153 Street NW, Edmonton, AB T5V1S5
- Tel.: 780-424-9467
- 13103 Fort Road NW, Edmonton, AB T5A1C3
- Tel.: 780-643-4000
Century Mile Racetrack and Casino
- 14711 Airport Perimeter Road, Edmonton International Airport, AB T9E 0V6
- Tel.: 780-934-2698
Grand Villa Casino Edmonton
- 10204 – 104 Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB T5J4Y8
- Tel.: 780-413-3178
Starlight Casino Edmonton
- 2710, 8882 – 170 Street NW, Edmonton, AB T5T4J2
- Tel.: 780-444-2112
River Cree Resort and Casino
- 300 East Lapotac Boulevard, Enoch, AB T7X3Y3
- Tel.: 780-484-2121
- Visit the rivercreeresort.com
- 9825 Hardin Street, Fort McMurray AB T9H4G9
- Tel.: 780-790-9739
- Grandstand Building, Evergreen Park, Grande Prairie AB T8V 3A5
- Tel.: 780-532-3279
Great Northern Casino
- 10910 – 107A Avenue, Grande Prairie, AB T8V7B2
- Tel.: 780-539-4454
- 3756 2 Avenue South, Lethbridge, AB T1J4Y9
- Tel.: 403-381-9467
Rocky Mountain Turf Club (Whoop Up Downs)
- 3401 Parkside Dr S, Lethbridge, AB T1J 4R3
- Tel.: 403-380-1905
Copper Coulee Casino
- 1051 Ross Glen Drive SE, Medicine Hat, AB T1B3T8
- Tel.: 403-504-4584
Stoney Nakoda Resort and Casino
- 888 Nakoda Way, Morley, AB T0L1N0
- Junction of Hwy. 40 and Trans Canada (Hwy. 1 W)
- Tel.: 403-881-2830
- Toll Free: 1-877-865-4395
Cash Casino – Red Deer
- 6350 – 67 Street, Red Deer, AB T4P3L7
- Tel.: 403-346-3339
- 4950 – 47 Avenue, Red Deer, AB T4N6P8
- Tel.: 403-342-5825
Century Casino St. Albert
- 24 Boudreau Road, St. Albert, AB T8N6K3
- Tel.: 780-460-809
Eagle River Casino and Travel Plaza
- TWP Rd 602A and Hwy 32 N, Whitecourt, AB T7S1N3
- Tel.: 780-779-2727
- Toll free: 888-779-2727
- Gift Shop (keno): Tel.: 780-706-7492
Should AGLC open up Alberta’s online sports betting market to competition, the following sportsbook brands will likely be lined up to jump in:
- TheScore Bet: Canadian sports media and app company with a betting app in New Jersey, Colorado, Indiana, and Iowa eying the Canadian sports betting market.
- Torstar: Canadian media corporation behind The Toronto Star plans to launch an online casino and sportsbook in Ontario. Alberta may also be targeted.
- DraftKings Sportsbook: DFS turned sports betting company is now in 12 states and looking at Canada next.
- FanDuel Sportsbook and FOXBet: Flutter Entertainment used to run sports betting PlayNow.com and could be bringing its two sportsbook brands to Canada next.
- PointsBet: Australian-based sportsbook brand now in the US could be eyeing Alberta as well.
- BetMGM: US casino and sports betting giant BetMGM may be thinking about Canadian expansion too.
- William Hill Sportbook: The US’ biggest sportsbook operator may look to the Canadian market next.
What betting markets to expect in Alberta
Sports Select parlay wagering is generally limited to:
With single-game betting in Alberta the following list of sports and leagues should be available as well:
- Australian Rules Football
- MLB Baseball odds
- NBA odds and NCAA Basketball odds
- Cricket odds
- NFL odds and NCAA Football odds
- Golf odds
- NHL Hockey odds
- Rugby League
- Rugby Union
- MLS odds, EPL odds, and Champions League Soccer odds
- Table Tennis odds
- ATP and WTA Tennis odds
Betting markets may also include major international competitions like the World Cup and various Olympic Sports in season.
Plus, bet-types will extend beyond parlays to individual game moneylines, point spreads, and totals. Plus, team and player props beyond head-to-head match-ups and futures. Parlays will still be available but payouts should be closer to true odds than Sports Select.
Teams, players, awards you can bet on
Single-game betting allows you to bet on individual player awards in major sports leagues without making your pick part of a parlay. That means Albertans can bet on things like:
- Hart Trophy (NHL MVP)
- NFL MVP
- NBA MVP
- AL and NL MVP
- AL and NL Cy Young
- And more…
Alberta sports betting laws
You must be 18 years of age or older to purchase Sports Select tickets at an Alberta Lottery retailer and that’s currently the only legal way to bet on sports in the province
Current Canadian law means Sports Select cannot offer single-game or event betting, but that’s about to change. The federal government is looking to lift the ban on single-game wagering across Canada and AGLC officials say they will be ready to offer it online via PlayAlberta.ca when they do. The feds latest sports betting bill has already passed its third reading in the House of Commons. It is expected to do the pass similarly through the Senate before the end of the year.
Sports Select odds are different from those found on traditional sportsbooks in the US. However, single-game wagering should make the lines on most bets at PlayAlberta.ca closer to traditional retail and online and mobile sportsbook lines in the US. Local betting patterns will then dictate how different they are by game time.
Canadians don’t pay taxes on gambling winnings as long as gambling isn’t the player’s sole source of income. Issues with PlayAlberta.ca can be taken up directly with the site through Live Chat online, telephone 8 am to 10 pm at 1-833-920-1447, or through a contact form with your email address on PlayAlberta.ca.
Cross-border betting in Montana
Sports betting was legalized in the nearby state of Montana in 2019 and launched in March 2020. However, it is operated as a monopoly under the Montana Lottery and the Sports Bet Montana app is limited to on-property mobile betting. That means you have to be at a retail sports betting outlet in Montana to use it. Fortunately, Sports betting is live at more than 100 retail establishments across the state. That means Albertans have a cross-border single-game wagering option while they wait for the federal government to give them one here.
Why you should avoid unregulated sportsbooks
In supporting federal sports gambling legislation, AGLC COO Niaz Nejad has referenced Canadian Gaming Association estimates that $3 billion is gambled on unregulated offshore sports gambling websites by Canadians every year. Nejad says these sites provide “limited protections or means of responsible play, education or access to responsible gambling tools,” while Play Alberta uses the GameSense responsible gambling program, promoting healthy gambling behaviours and giving players access to various problem gambling tools and resources.
AGLC supports the legalization of single-game wagering because it believes it can bring all that to the sports betting market as well.
Unregulated offshore sports gambling websites can disappear with your money, employ underhanded banking techniques to fool Canadian banks into dealing with them, and even more predatory banking practices delaying withdrawals so they can hold on to your winnings long enough for you to lose them back again.
You have no Canadian government body to turn to when they do any of this to you. That’s why sticking with Sports Select and PlayAlberta.ca while waiting patiently for single-game wagering to launch is Alberta’s best bet. That will guarantee your money and personal information are safe now, and after single-game wagering comes to this province.