Increased wagering generates a revenue influx.
Prior to the beginning of the 20th century, gambling in Canada was mainly banned. In 1910, parimutuel betting on horse racing was authorized and soon gained popularity throughout the nation, including in Alberta. There are now three notable horse racing tracks in the province, including Northlands Park, which has been operating since 1900 and now offers many racing seasons throughout the year. However, the rich history of racing at Northlands is anticipated to come to an end after 2016, leaving the province possibly without a premier track.
In the 1970s, the provincial gambling sector started its first significant development.
The emergence of the earliest charity casinos was restricted by the fact that they were non-profit organizations. The first permanent private charity casino, Cash Casino, opened in Calgary in 1980, followed shortly afterwards by a similar establishment in Edmonton.
Simultaneously, the use of lotteries to generate money gained traction. In 1979, the provincial authority over lotteries was formed, and by 1982, the Lotto 6/49 game had been introduced, allowing Albertans to win big prizes if they possessed a winning ticket. The Western Canada Lottery Corporation, which also manages the lotteries for Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Canada’s territories, continues to administer Lotto 6/49, Lotto Max, and other games (Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories).
The VLT program was one of the most significant reforms to the province’s gaming sector when it was implemented in 1992. Following a short trial of the devices at summer fairs in Edmonton and Calgary in 1991, the games were authorized for general sale the following year. There are already 6,000 terminals around the province, most of them are located in taverns, restaurants, and racetracks. This number is limited by legislation, although the machines have been modified several times to increase the variety of games accessible to players.
The variety of charity casinos in Alberta has likewise increased over time. Although none of these facilities are enormous – they cannot be compared to Las Vegas-style resorts – there are around two dozen in the province, including many in Calgary and Edmonton. In addition, a number of comparable casinos are owned by tribal groupings of First Nations. According to Albertan legislation, these Canadian casinos must be built on reservations and must operate under the same rules as other charity venues in the province, but with more discretion over how their proceeds may be used. River Cree Resort and Casino and Stoney Nakoda Resort and Casino are examples of establishments founded by First Nations charity.
Today, gaming is an integral component of Alberta’s economy and a significant contributor to its government budget. Even after accounting for all expenditures, the province has gained more than $1.2 billion yearly to its coffers through VLTs in recent years (including programs meant to help those with addictions).
Online Legislation Is Opposed
In an attempt to generate additional money, several jurisdictions have started to provide regulated internet gambling. However, Alberta is not one of them. The subject has been discussed, particularly in the aftermath of dropping oil prices (which are very essential to the area due to the enormous presence of the oil sector), but there have been no significant efforts to pass laws that would regulate virtual casino games.
However, it is still rather easy for Albertans to engage in Internet gambling if they so want, just as it is in Toronto. A vast number of foreign companies run Canadian-friendly casinos, poker rooms, and other gaming sites. Canadians have a distinct advantage when it comes to playing at high-quality, reputable sites, since avoiding the Canadian market is not nearly as widespread as it is in the United States.