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Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner makes a save as we look at the possible legalization of sports betting in Alberta.
Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner makes a save against the Florida Panthers in game six of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Place. Photo by: Walter Tychnowicz/USA TODAY Sports.

The province of Alberta has long been considered the next Canadian jurisdiction to launch a legal sports betting platform. It will join Ontario as the only location in the Great White North to support such a platform, which could give residents access to some of our best sports betting sites

On Thursday, during a speech at the Canadian Gaming Summit, Alberta Minister of Service and Red Tape Reduction Dale Nally all but confirmed that the province has been looking into and intends to go live with a legal platform in the not-too-distant future. He cited the success of the Ontario sports betting platform and expressed the desire to see a similar model come to the province.

Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) VP of gaming Dan Keene was also at the conference, where he stated that "Numerous gaming providers have existed in Alberta for decades. The goal has always been to bring safe and regulated options and capture that market share. We fully embrace what the minister is doing. Albertans are already participating, the market is already mature. Let's regulate and provide those safe tools and put measures and compliance in place to get some rigor behind it and capture those revenues for the province."

No timetable for the launch of a legal Alberta sports betting platform was given by either of the Alberta officials at the Summit. However, the fact that they both were willing to talk openly about a potential expansion of a limited, monopoly, government-owned current platform is a good sign for Albertans who hope to see the likes of FanDuel and DraftKings available to them.

Following Ontario’s lead

The province of Ontario has boasted a wildly successful legal sports betting market since it launched in April 2022. In 2023 alone, Ontario sports betting apps and the province’s retail providers combined for a $63 billion handle, which was a 78% increase year over year. The best Ontario online casinos have also been booming.

There has been frequent speculation about which province would be next to launch its own legal sports betting platform, but there has been little movement from any provincial government until recently when Alberta lawmakers signaled their intentions to move forward with their own sports betting industry.

It sounds as though Alberta will closely follow Ontario’s lead and that its residents may soon have access to the best sportsbooks in Canada and the best online casinos in Canada.

“Let me tell you a little bit about what our gaming site is going to look like,” minister Nally said. “It’s going to be very similar to Ontario, because we’re following their model. As far as I’m concerned, they build the roadmap. We’ll massage it a little bit but it’s been inspired by the experience in Ontario. It’s going to be an open and free market.”

More details on the potential platform

Albertans can currently place sports bets through the government-owned PlayAlberta site, which is run by the AGLC and is a limited sports betting platform. It is void of competition from the best sports betting apps in Canada.

The rumored platform would see the Alberta legal sports betting market run independently by the provincial government, not Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis.

Alberta looks as though it is leaning toward creating a separate body to oversee its sports betting platform. Ontario has done this with the creation of iGaming Ontario, which manages sports betting in the province and acts separately from the province’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

The province’s First Nations will also reportedly be included in the platform when it launches.