In our continued quest to find the best casinos to play online, our InsideCasino experts have become more than knowledgeable about the gambling regulations and culture in Alberta and other provinces in Canada. This gives us critical information about which casinos best fit what Albertan players are looking for.
The gambling regulation in Alberta shares the same “charitable gaming” model that is used in most other provinces in Canada. This model, simply put, funnels a portion of the revenue from official gambling outlets into Alberta’s General Revenue Fund, which helps enable the provincial government to follow through with projects and initiatives for the benefit of the province.
Alberta’s rules on gambling activity in the province are laid out in the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act. From a general standpoint, the Act is built around the restrictions set by the Canadian Criminal Code at the federal level. Alberta’s gambling laws specifically reference Section 207(1) of the Criminal Code, which states that gambling lotteries and gambling activities are legal if the revenue is used for charitable or religious purposes.
This is an important distinction, as it means that third-party casino sites, sportsbooks and other online gambling services are not allowed to operate legally within the province. Indeed, Alberta only has PlayAlberta.ca as the only officially recognized online casino in the province. All third-party sites are based offshore and operate in the grey market for Albertan gambling.
The AGLC (short for Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis) is the province’s central regulatory body and authority on all gambling activities in Alberta. Their primary function is to enforce the rules and regulations of the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act, keeping gambling operators compliant and placing fines on those that step out of line.
All gambling establishments and temporary events have to get a licence from the AGLC to be allowed to operate. In accordance with the law, these gambling activities have to be done for charitable or religious purposes; the licensing process is made to ensure applicants are actually following the law with the gambling events they are planning to hold.
It is important to note that licensing is only available for operators of offline gambling. Any new casino sites operating online are not allowed to apply for a licence in the province, mostly due to their for-profit nature.
With the continued popularity of video lottery terminals or VLTs in Alberta and throughout Canada, the AGLC also takes it upon itself to test and verify the fairness of VLTs and other gaming operations through the application process.
Being part owned by the AGLC, all licensed gaming establishments in Alberta pay taxes to the provincial government through revenue sharing from the province’s charitable gaming model. Third-party casino sites, meanwhile, operate outside of Alberta’s jurisdiction and are not part of this model.
Albertan players, like all Canadians, are not taxed on gambling winnings. As such, players get to receive any casino or lottery wins from licensed Albertan establishments in full. However, players do not get the same guarantee when they play on offshore gambling sites since they do not follow the same rules. Albertans who play with real money and win on these sites, may not be able to pocket all of it, thanks to the casinos’ terms and conditions.
Alberta is one of three provinces in Canada that have a minimum gambling age of 18 years old, as opposed to 19 for most of the country. Albertans of gambling age are allowed to enter casinos and other establishments, as well as buy lottery tickets both at physical retailers and online through Alberta gambling sites.
Albertan casino players have several banking methods that they can use to move their funds. This mostly varies from casino to casino. For example, PlayAlberta only accepts deposits from credit cards and Interac. Meanwhile, third-party gambling sites allow Albertan players to deposit with other methods, which provides them with the following options:
As we’ve covered, choices for gambling online in Alberta are a bit limited outside of playing at offshore sites. However, this is not the case when it comes to brick-and-mortar gambling, as there is a decent number of casinos and gambling houses throughout the province. As casino regulations in Canada go, all of these casinos are partly owned and operated by the AGLC.
Albertans have access to several lottery draws that are provided by the Western Canada Lottery Corporation, a charitable lottery network in Alberta that provides its lottery pools to players in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon. A few examples of these lotteries are Western 6/49, the Daily Grand, and Western Max.
Alberta players also have the choice to join the national lottery draws, which are functionally the same as the provincial-level lotteries but with a much larger scope and much larger prize pools.
There are over 20 land-based casino venues available in Alberta, and all of them vary in size and the games they have on offer. A few examples of these land-based venues include:
Eagle River Casino is a 25,000 sq. ft casino located in Whitecourt. The venue has a decent variety if slot machines, table games like blackjack, roulette and poker, along with off-track betting. This casino also offers a large smoking section on the floor and TV sports betting section. Their in-house Timber’s Bar and Grill offers a good variety of food and drinks.
Games: Slots, Poker, Blackjack, Roulette
Location: Hwy 43 & 32N, Whitecourt, Alberta
Phone number: (780) 779-2727
River Cree Resort and Casino is a one-of-a-kind casino in Alberta, conveniently located between the Edmonton International Airport and the downtown area. This casino is big – very big, with a total land area of 49 acres. The resort houses a bevy of features and amenities that make the destination desirable even for non-gamblers, such as an indoor pool, in-house gym, and two NHL-sized ice rinks.
Games: Slots, Blackjack, Roulette, Poker, Craps, Baccarat
Location: 300 East Lapotac Blvd Box 179 Enoch, AB T7X 3Y3
Phone number: (780) 484-2121
Many gamblers are not only looking for a good casino experience, but also a great entertainment experience along with it. Century Casino St. Albert offers a very solid dining and event experience in addition to its casino. As part of the Century Casino brand, this venue also offers a very solid loyalty and rewards network through the Winner’s Zone membership. This is boosted further by the casino’s frequent promotions and events.
Games: Slots, Video Lottery, Baccarat, Blackjack, Roulette, Poker
Location: 24 Boudreau Road, St. Albert, AB, T8N 6K3
Website: Century Casinos
If you plan on taking family or friends out to Camrose Resort Casino, this venue also has great accomodation. The hotel is the star of the show at this venue, with pet-friendly rooms, free parking, a dedicated spa, a heated indoor pool area with waterslides, and several function halls. The casino itself doesn’t have the size of other venues, but does still have a great range of slots and table games.
Games: Slots, Video Lottery, Blackjack, Roulette, Poker
Location: 3201 48 Ave, Camrose, AB T4V 0K9
Phone number: 780-679-0904
As per provincial laws, the AGLC lays out and enforces rules to uphold responsible gambling across the province. Their most significant output to this effect is their self-exclusion network, which keeps track of players who have opted to be kept out of gaming establishments and activities for the specified period to deal with problem gambling issues. This network is continually shared by the AGLC with all gaming outlets in the province to ensure the self-exclusion list is enforced. If you think you have a problem with gambling it is important to seek help. Alberta Gamblers Anonymous are able to assist with this and you can reach out to them anonymously via www.albertaga.net for contact details and meetings in Alberta.
Online gambling is legal in Alberta when players gamble on licensed sites, including the local PlayAlberta.ca website. All other gambling sites that players can access are based in other provinces or offshore and are part of the grey market.
All gambling activities in Alberta are regulated by the AGLC or Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, the provincial crown corporation overseeing these industries.
Casino winnings are not taxed in Alberta, as it is in the rest of Canada. Whether you win a few dollars playing blackjack online or the jackpot of a progressive slots game, you get to keep every cent of that prize.
Alberta has about 25 land-based casinos scattered throughout the province in a variety of sizes and often accompanied by hotel and resort amenities.
The biggest casino in Alberta is the River Cree Resort & Casino, which is located in Edmonton.
Play Alberta is the official online gambling outlet of Alberta, which is owned and operated by the provincial government. Given its special status, all revenue made through PlayAlberta goes back to the Alberta government, where it is used to fund provincial projects.