Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), the provincial agency of Alberta responsible for administering the province’s Gaming and Liquor Act, has just launched a new gaming portal. The goal of which is to reduce gambling revenues lost to foreign web-based casinos while Albertans are turning to online gaming in the midst of the pandemic.
The new gaming site is called PlayAlberta.ca, commission officials revealed. This new site features a host of gaming options including slots, scratch games, lottery, table and card games, as well as instant games. It will also offer sports betting later on. The site is mobile-friendly so players can also use the site to play mobile slot machines, card games, and roulette.
At the moment, PlayAlberta.ca is the province of Alberta’s lone regulated gaming portal. Len Rhodes, chairperson of the AGLC, is elated to introduce the gaming site. The AGLC official says the site will be a secure and reliable gaming platform that takes into account social responsibility while keeping money raised in the province of Alberta.
As a regulated online gaming site, PlayAlberta.ca includes features that help address the problem of pathological gambling. It has a self-exclusion option that lets players voluntarily set a break from gambling. It is designed to help control excessive playing. Once set, the self-exclusion period cannot be withdrawn or cancelled arbitrarily.
A way to generate income
This is not the first time the province attempted to establish a legal and regulated gaming site. Around six years earlier, the previous government tried a similar plan. Back then, the provincial government estimated that the planned gaming portal would generate $75 million, which was already a significant amount to make up for the province’s struggling energy revenues. However, it failed to materialize.
The weakened revenue generation situation in the province continues up to the present. That’s why the government is trying to explore new ways to funnel funds into the provincial government’s coffers.
Alberta’s existing legal gaming market is expected to yield $496 million for the 2020-2021 period. This number is 63% lower than the revenue from the previous year. Nonprofit groups and charitable organizations that relied on Alberta’s gambling market revenues for funding have been reeling from the steep reduction in fund allocation especially with COVID-19 still wreaking havoc on the economy.
Karen Ball, head of the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO), calls the $900-million drop in gaming revenue “problematic.” She is hoping that the revenues generated by the new gaming site will benefit the public and charitable organizations.
AGLC expects to generate revenues amounting to $3.74 million for the provincial government in the first fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2021. Projections put the gaming site’s subsequent general revenues to reach $150 million in the next five years.
Officials of AGLC are convinced that the new gaming site will be a big help in generating funds for the province. They also allayed the fears that it may take away dollars from the existing 28 traditional casinos and gaming outlets in Alberta.
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