Page updated on 27.04.2021

'Wild Rose Country' Alberta, Canada Gambling Guide For 2021

Alberta flag

The prairie province of Alberta is located in western Canada. Often called 'The Wild Rose Country' it is home to a population of approximately 4,436,258 as of January 1, 2021. This makes it the fourth-most populous province in Canada. About 76% of all Albertans are Anglophones, with a Francophone population of under 2%.

Albertans enjoy their gambling, with nearly 80% of adults indulging themselves at least once a year. Annually, legal Alberta gaming totals over $23 billion. Therefore, gambling in Alberta is big business.

Best Online Casino: Alberta, Canada

Albertans are welcomed at many offshore online casinos. Still, it's best to play at licensed, regulated and trustworthy CA$ online casinos. The casinos that we market at fortunaonlinecasinos.com have an optional new player casino bonus, accept CAD (some also accept cryptocurrencies like BTC, LTC, BCH, DOGE, ETH). Find out more by reading our online casino review for each. These casinos also accept many casino deposit methods, including Canadian ones like Instadebit, iDebit and Interac.

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Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC)

The Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission (AGLC) ↱, created in 1996, is responsible for formulating policies and regulating alcohol, cannabis, and gaming. Alberta has legalized several forms of gaming in the province.

Charitable Gaming

Section 207 of Canada's Criminal Code allows provinces, including Alberta, to conduct lottery schemes for religious or charitable organizations. These must have a licence from the Lieutenant Governor in Council of Alberta and ensure the money goes towards philanthropic causes.

Acceptable forms of charitable gaming in Alberta include casino events, bingo events, raffle sales and pulled ticket sales. The largest source of Alberta charitable gaming revenue comes from casino events.

Charitable gaming is big business in the province, with almost 19,800 charity licences in 2019-20 alone. Together, these generated over $321 million in charity proceeds.

Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC)

The non-profit organization Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC) ↱ conducts lottery gaming in Alberta and other western provinces and territories, including Nunavut, the North West Territories, The Yukon, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Lottery tickets sold include Western Max, Poker Lotto, Pick 2, Pick 3, Pick 4, Keno, Sports Select and scratch 'n win games. It also markets Canada-wide lottery draw tickets, including Lotto 6/49 and Lotto Max. There are 2,800+ lottery ticket centres in the province.

Alberta Racing Entertainment Centres (Alberta pari-mutuel horse racing)

Calgary Stampede

Pari-mutuel horse racing is regulated by the (Federal) Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency ↱ rather than the province of Alberta. In total, Alberta has 4 racing entertainment centres (RECs) in the province where Albertans and visitors to the province can enjoy pari-mutuel wagering and casino games:

  • Century Downs Racetrack and Casino in Balzac.
  • Evergreen Park in Grande Prairie.
  • Century Mile Racetrack and Casino in Leduc County
  • Whoop-Up Downs in Lethbridge

Here, visitors can also find slot machines, VLTs, electronic games and more. Horse racing, simulcast racing and teletheatre betting (satellite betting) are also available.

Alberta VLTs

The AGLC is responsible for running video lottery terminals (VLTs). There are approximately 6,000 Alberta VLTs in nearly 800 liquor, lounge and bars. Retailers are restricted to no more than 14 VLTs. The average payout of a VLT is 92%.

Alberta Commercial Casinos

There are 19 traditional casinos in Alberta and 5 First Nations casinos. First Nations casinos are exempt from provincial jurisdiction. Depending on the casino, visitors can find hundreds or thousands of slot machines and dozens of table games:

  • Craps
  • 3 Card Poker, Chase the Flush, Ultimate Texas Hold'em
  • Roulette
  • blackjack.
  • Poker rooms
  • VLTs
  • Baccarat (EZ Baccarat, Commission Baccarat)
  • Electronic games

Alberta First Nations Casinos

Alberta has 5 First Nations casinos with a charity licence operated on native reserves:

  • Stoney Nakoda Resort & Casino in Morley, Alberta
  • Grey Eagle Resort & Casino in Calgary, Alberta
  • River Cree Resort & Casino in Enoch, Alberta (close to Edmonton)
  • Casino Dene in Called Lake, Alberta.
  • Grey Eagle Resort & Casino in Whitecourt, Alberta

Visitors can typically find hundreds of slot machines and dozens of table games (blackjack, roulette, et cetera), including the most popular variants of poker.

Alberta Online Gambling (PlayAlberta.ca)

Canmore Mountains

The PlayAlberta.ca website is provincially run by the AGLC recently launched in October 2020. Site visitors will find limited table games, slots, lottery games and instant games.

Although there are live casino games from Evolution Gaming Live Casino, other live dealer casino providers such as Playtech and Pragmatic Play are absent. Live dealer game shows like Monopoly Live are also absent. You would have to visit an offshore casino to find these. Unfortunately, slot games and casino games are also limited to ones from the provider IGT.

Another shortcoming is the only available Canadian online casino payment method accepted is credit cards: Mastercard and Visa. Unfortunately, payment methods like Instadebit, iDebit and Interac, available at offshore online casinos, are not available.

While visitors to PlayAlberta.ca can receive a welcome Alberta casino bonus of $20, this is a far cry from the welcome bonus available at many offshore online casinos.

The future of online gambling in Alberta is being challenged by two First Nation tribes. In April 2021, the Tsuut'ina and Stoney Nakoda have accused the Alberta government's PlayAlberta.ca portal of taking much-needed money away from charity gaming unfairly.

Although Alberta, Canada sportsbook is not yet available at PlayAlberta.ca, it is on the way. Online sports betting is expected to arrive sometime in 2021, putting it behind other provinces like Qu??bec and Ontario.

History of Gambling in Alberta

In 1969, all provinces, including Alberta, won the right to operate and regulate lotteries and casinos. This was the result of an amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada.

The first not-for-profit casino began in Edmonton in 1975, followed by the first privately operated charitable casino in 1980. The first commercial casino appeared in 1986.

Horse racing simulcasts began in 1989 and was followed by teletheatre betting a year later. In 1992, Alberta launched VLTs in the province.

Online gaming in Alberta began in October 2020 and includes a provincially run online casino.

Alberta Casinos FAQ

Alberta gambling is regulated by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC). Alberta land-based commercial casinos, Alberta online gambling, charity gaming, video lottery terminals (VLTs) fall under their remit.

The legal gambling age in Alberta is 18 years and over.

Alberta online gambling is provincially run at the licensed and regulated website PlayAlberta.ca. The site offers an online casino and is soon to introduce an online sportsbook for Albertans.

Gambling at online casinos that accept Canadians is a legal grey area provided that the casino's server is not hosted on Canadian soil. There are hundreds of online casino Canada websites that accept Canadian dollars. However, not all casinos are safe and trustworthy. See our list at fortunaonlinecasinos.com

Most online and mobile casinos offer a free spins bonus, a match deposit bonus or a no deposit bonus.

Albertans who think that they may have a problem with gambling can contact Alberta Health Services for help and resources. It is also possible to dial 1-866-332-2322 to find an addiction or local mental health facility.

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