Edmonton

Alberta unveils online gambling website, expects to raise $150M in five years

Albertans are now able to gamble online on PlayAlberta.ca, a provincially regulated gaming site.

AGLC estimates revenue to be $3.7M in first year, hopes Albertans will use site

Alberta unveiled its own regulated online gambling website Thursday. (Associated Press)

Albertans are now able to gamble online on a provincially-regulated gaming site.

"PlayAlberta.ca makes certain that money played in Alberta will stay in Alberta, ensures protection on account withdrawals and offers a suite of responsible gambling features, such as bet and time limits," Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis said Thursday.

The website launched with virtual slots and table games Thursday, with more features to be added in the coming months, Alain Maisonneuve, AGLC president and CEO, said at a news conference.

 The province estimates the site will raise $3.74 million in 2021. 

"Within five years, we're estimating that our site will generate approximately $150 million for Alberta," said Niaz Nejad, chief operating officer of AGLC.

Maisonneuve said he expects the revenue will be new money and not affect other gaming opportunities in the province.

"We don't anticipate PlayAlberta to be cannibalizing from land-based casinos and racing entertainment centres in Alberta, as we're focused on ... giving options to online players who may be playing currently on unregulated offshore sites," he said.

"So that's our target market, that's what we're going for. Those are the funds that we want to repatriate into Alberta coffers."

The AGLC estimates Alberta residents were already spending $378 million gambling on websites set up outside the country, many which are unregulated.

The site integrates AGLC's best-in-class GameSense responsible gambling program, which promotes healthy gambling, Maisonneuve said.

When signing up, Albertans will be required to verify their identity before accessing the platform's features.

Earlier this year AGLC announced NeoPollard Interactive would build Alberta's online gambling platform. The company provides online gambling platforms for other jurisdictions including Michigan, Virginia, New Hampshire and North Carolina.

The province began looking at online gambling in early 2019. At the time Alberta and Saskatchewan were the only two provinces that did not offer a regulated service.

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