Albertans will soon have more legal betting options as the province moves to expand sports betting.
Namely, Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis is welcoming bids from vendors hoping to operate in the province. As of Dec. 10, interested parties can apply through Alberta Purchasing Connection.
“Opening the bid process for retail sportsbetting [sic] in Alberta is another exciting step for sports fans in the province,” said Kandice Machado, AGLC’s president & chief executive officer, in a release.
“AGLC is proud to facilitate this next step that will involve the existing casino and racing entertainment centre industry while working with Alberta’s major professional sports teams. Continuing this work is an important step in offering consumers convenience and choice in their gambling entertainment options.”
Calling for proposals
AGLC aims for retail and online sports betting options with mobile extensions to be up and running in 2022. As a first step, it seeks two operators, with additional opportunities possible as the market develops.
“AGLC will continue to monitor other provincial lottery markets while gathering feedback from the Alberta sports betting industry in order to safely expand vendor opportunities in the future,” AGLC’s announcement said.
“While this approach supports the goal of expanding the market in the future, it also recognizes the province’s requirement to ‘conduct and manage’ commercial gaming activities set out in the Criminal Code of Canada. Work is ongoing to support these efforts, and AGLC will be reaching out to stakeholders to continue expanding access in a safe and legal manner.”
AGLC communicates with casino representatives and the Alberta Sports Coalition, representing the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Elks.
The proposal process for vendors will close on Jan. 31, 2022. AGLC will announce the successful applicants once awarded.
Betting launch with restrictions
Home to the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, Alberta is potentially a strong sport betting market.
Many operators will be left out if the province opts for a limited-operator system. Though, in the eyes of stakeholders, Alberta is not as big an opportunity as Ontario.
And without more options available through the private sector, limiting gray markets could be a challenge.
Albertans currently only have access to regulated online sports betting and casino gaming through PlayAlberta. The government-operated site benefits from the legally enshrined monopoly.
However, Western Canada Lottery Corp’s SPORT SELECT is also available through the province’s lotto retailers.
Alberta sports betting is still evolving. What will be available to Albertans when it takes its final form is still unknown.