Gambling legislation across the world ranges from liberalization to legislative suppression. However, there are a number of countries that lie in between. In these countries, legislation pertaining to gambling is a grey area. One of such countries is Canada where federal laws make gambling illegal, but provinces can regulate it. What is the case in Alberta? Is it legal to gamble? In this article, we will be looking at the gambling laws of Alberta to see where the province stands on gambling.
Is Gambling Legal in Alberta?
The province has a long history of sports and gambling. The gambling space in Alberta is regulated by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. Alberta receives over 4% of its budget from revenue accrued from gambling activities.
According to the laws of Alberta, the following forms of gambling are legal:
Bingo Games: Bingo games can be organized for charitable courses. Alberta allows qualified non-profit groups to offer charitable gaming. Currently, there is no law that defines whether it is legal or illegal to use bingo games for gambling purposes.
Casino Games: There are over twenty-five casinos located in the province. Most of the casinos in Alberta share part of their profits with charities across the province. There’s also a number of state-owned casinos as well as few run by the First Nations.
Horse Racing: Horse racing is legally available in Century Downs, Alberta Downs, and Northlands Park. There are also fifteen teletheatres available in places such as Peace River and Leduc.
Lottery Games: Daily draws are carried out and are run by the Western Canada Lottery Corporation.
Sports Betting: Sports betting is available through the Sport Select service which allows punters in the province to bet on two or more games in parlay format. Players can wager up to $250 in bets per day.
Others: Alberta also allows for other forms of gambling such as legal charitable gaming and video lottery terminals. The latter is overseen by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission and are situated at age-restricted locations across the province. There are over six thousand VLTs in Alberta.
What About Online Gambling?
The forms of gambling discussed above all refer to land-based gambling. However, online gambling is also a liberal space for residents of the province. Residents can gamble online at sportsbooks and casino sites. Unlike other provinces, Alberta does not own a casino site. Residents who want to gamble online will need to look to offshore operators.
Licensed Betting Sites
While there are no online casinos based in the province, residents have access to a long list of offshore casino sites offering a wide spectrum of gambling choices.
Offshore Betting Sites
Residents of the province can access a broad range of offshore sites. Although these sites are not licensed by local authorities, they can offer services to residents in the state since they are not physically based in the region. A good number of these sites offer a robust selection of gambling options ranging from a diverse selection of sports bets to a wide range of casino games.
Although offshore sites extend their services to residents of the province without a local license, there is no law that prevents them from operating in the province. Local authorities have not also made moves that suggest that these sites are unwanted in the region.
In the absence of legal obstacles, punters in Alberta can play at these sites without worrying about violating any laws. Hence, players can access a range of gambling options which includes:
- Online casinos
- Bingo rooms
- Poker rooms
- Online sportsbooks
- International lottery ticket sites, and more
Should I Play at Internet Betting Sites in Alberta?
As an Alberta resident, you can access a broad spectrum of gambling choices, whether land-based or online. Although there are no licensed betting sites within the territory, you can play at offshore casino sites which can serve players in Alberta since there are no laws preventing them from doing so.
If you are looking to gamble online, then offshore sites are your only option. Things to consider when looking for an offshore site to gamble at include legitimacy, reputation, certifications, and online reviews. One of the first things to check at a site you intend to gamble at is whether it is licensed or not. While not all unlicensed sites are rogue, you will do well by focusing solely on licensed sites. It is also important to examine further to ensure that the site is not only licensed but also regulated by a reputable gambling authority. Is the site regulated by a reputable gambling authority such as the UK Gambling Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority?
Another thing you want to consider is certifications. Has the site been tested by independent third-party organizations and certified? Have reputable certification companies like eCOGRA verified the quality of the site’s offering?
And yet another thing you want to look out for is whether a site focuses on Canadian players or not. You should look out for sites that make it easy for Canadian players to play at by implementing features such as support for the Canadian dollar.
We have compiled a list of casino sites that meet the above descriptions on our website. So, if you are looking for a site to play at, you can check the list that we have put together of reputable casino sites. These sites are also ideal for players in Alberta.