Alberta hedges bet on online gambling
The Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission looked at getting into the online gambling business, but rejected the idea last year, according to documents obtained by CBC News.
The province assessed the risk of starting up an internet gambling website, even meeting with other provinces about forming a national online gambling site.
While other provinces are moving ahead - British Columbia launched its own online gambling site last July, while Ontario is launching its site this fall - online gambling is not in the cards for Alberta right now.
"We've been talking about it all along, and the last is three or four months back now, and my recommendation, as I say to cabinet, is that we do not proceed and we're not planning to," said Alberta Solicitor General Frank Oberle.
Gambling experts say the province needs to protect problem gamblers before expanding into new revenue sources.
"We found that between 36 and 39 per cent of Alberta government gaming revenue is generated by people who have a gambling problem," said University of Lethbridge professor Robert Wood, who has studied gambling in Alberta.
'The glamour and the money'
Allan Kehler is a reformed gambling addict who now works as an addictions counsellor with young people and their families.
The University of Alberta student got hooked a few years ago during the NHL lockout in 2004 when he found himself with a lot of time on his hands.
"Poker started to come on, and you see all the glamour and the money, a part of you is thinking, ‘Oh that could be me,’" he said.
"I remember with the click of a button, losing a grand," he said. "The concept of money is gone, because it’s just in chips and I couldn’t necessarily relate because the whole concept of money kind of eluded me."
With files from CBC's Kim Trynacity