Following in Ontario’s footsteps: could Alberta be Canada’s next iGaming hub?

Ontario’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) commission and Alberta’s Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) are just a couple of examples of how Canada has a long history of regulating gambling, and ensuring that the wider community can benefit from the proceeds.

From there, both Ontario and Alberta have developed respective, internally regulated online casinos – the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) being founded in 2000, whilst Play Alberta didn’t debut until 2020.

But as of 4th April, this year, Ontario has taken a giant leap forward in the iGaming market.

Now, no one’s denying that Ontario is the clear front runner in the iGaming industry, but it’s also clear that Alberta perhaps aspires to walk in similar footsteps, and further establish themselves in Canada’s casino scene.

So, will Alberta be the next province to allow the big-time operators to enter the province?

The Sports Market

In previous years, in terms of betting, the focus has fallen more on the side of Lottery-based gaming, as this was one of the very first forms of gambling to be allowed throughout limited parts of Canada. One of the biggest contributing factors that has allowed the Lottery to almost fly under the radar is the fundraising aspect that the gameplay can provide. It’s perhaps because of this aspect, that sports betting has struggled to gain similar acceptance in almost all parts of Canada.

Ontario has long been predicted to act as the front runner for sports betting in Canada, The province boasts a history of pushing for this progression, previously predicted to introduce rules around sports betting into the AGCO’s gaming laws. And of course, that prediction is starting to come true.

Sports editor for SportsHandle, Greg Warren spoke out about the potential impact Ontario’s iGaming move will have on the sports betting market:

 “Not all of them are going to be sports betting, but I would imagine at least two-thirds of those will be offering sports betting.”

Whilst Alberta is admittedly far from being at this stage, Play Alberta does already boast an established sports betting section on their page, offering Albertian players the chance to get in on the single-game action, with these wagers only being legalized in 2021.


As a nation, it’s no secret that Canada keeps a tight handle on regulating all otherwise “taboo” activities – including consumption of alcohol, cannabis, and, of course, partaking in gambling. These activities are regulated by governing boards – something we touched on at the beginning of this article – which strives to ensure that honesty and integrity are the main focus.

Of course, these kinds of commissions aren’t something that have been created overnight. In fact, Ontario’s governing boards have gone through many revisions and acts over the years, in an attempt to cover all bases. The AGCO came first, and still remains the authority; originally formed to implement the Public Protection Act (1996) and the Alcohol, Cannabis and Gaming Regulation (1998). Since then, further acts have been incorporated into the structure of Ontarian society, to make these expectations clear.

With the focus of gaming moving online, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) corporation was later formed, overseen by the AGCO. This allowed the aforementioned regulations to remain intact, even if a player chose to take their gameplay online.

Coming even further into present times, iGaming Ontario has since been formed in 2021, and is the mastermind behind the current iGaming boom that has changed the face of gaming in Ontario forever.

But what about Alberta?

Well, the smaller province has undoubtedly followed in Ontario’s footsteps – with the formation of the AGLC, overseeing the same activities as the AGCO, in pretty much the same way. With the support of this governing board, Alberta was then able to take that step into the online gaming world in 2020, introducing Play Alberta, as the only regulated online casino in the province.

It's this kind of progression that inadvertently suggests that Alberta just might be the next province to open up to the big iGaming operators – should Ontario’s leap be met with the anticipated success.