Alberta Sports Betting

Sports betting in Alberta became legal in 2019 when the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) announced that it would begin accepting applications for sports betting licenses. This followed a 2018 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that struck down a federal law which prohibited most forms of sports betting. 

As of now, Alberta sports betting consists of parlay betting, in which bettors must correctly predict the outcome of multiple games or events in order to cash in and win, as well as single-game betting. In fact, Alberta officially became the 8th Canadian province to offer single-game sports betting on September 21, 2021, which directly coincided with the launch of online sports betting in the province.

Today, bets can be placed online, at physical sports betting retail locations, or through the Alberta government’s online sports betting platform, known as PlayAlberta.ca.

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How We Rank the Bookmakers

Here at MansionBet, we review sportsbooks based on a variety of criteria. Some of the factors we consider when rating and ranking different bookmakers include:

  • License and regulation: Our reviewers typically check whether the bookmaker is licensed and regulated by a reputable authority, such as the UK Gambling Commission, Malta Gaming Authority or in this case, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC).
  • Odds and markets: We also evaluate the odds offered by the bookmaker as well as the number and variety of markets available for betting.
  • User interface and mobile app: With this new wave of innovative technology, our team is always looking to asses the user-friendliness of the bookmaker’s website and mobile app. Highlighting how easy (or difficult) it is to navigate and place bets.
  • Customer service: Another vital point to evaluate is the quality of the bookmaker’s customer service, including the availability of live chat and email support as well as the speed and helpfulness of responses.
  • Payment options: Our team of reviewers also analyzes the safety and variety of payment options offered by the bookmaker, including credit cards, e-wallets, and bank transfers.
  • Bonuses and promotions: Bonuses and promotions are another strong area of assessment when reviewing any sportsbook, including the terms and conditions attached to them.
  • Trust and security: Arguably the most important factor to consider is the bookmaker’s safety measures. This includes researching the company’s SSL encryption technology and compliance with data protection regulations.
  • Reputation: Lastly, we at MansionBet consider the bookmaker’s reputation as one of the most important factors to consider for new and registered users, including the sportsbook’s history of customer complaints or issues with payouts.

Based on these criteria, bookmakers are then rated and ranked according to their performance in each category.

Betting in Alberta

Legal sports betting in Alberta has developed significantly since it was first introduced in 2019. The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) was the first entity to allow legal sports betting in the province, and it started accepting applications for AB sports betting licenses shortly after the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling that struck down a federal law which prohibited most forms of sports betting.

Initially, sports gambling in Alberta was limited to parlay betting on multiple events, however, the government of Alberta officially made single-game betting on sports legal on September 1, 2021, following the rise of legalized sports betting nationwide.

The AGLC also launched PlayAlberta.ca, an online sports betting platform that allows users to place bets online or in person at one of their physical retail sports betting locations.

In addition, the AGLC has also partnered with licensed third-party operators to provide a broader range of betting options and to increase the number of physical locations where sports betting is available.

Furthermore, the Alberta government has also implemented measures to ensure that AB sports betting is conducted in a responsible and regulated manner. This includes strict age verification procedures, measures to prevent problem gambling, and the use of identity verification technology to prevent fraud. 

Overall, the legal sports betting industry in Alberta has grown rapidly since its introduction in 2019, with more and more Canadians taking advantage of the opportunity to place legal sports bets.

Who Can Bet on Sports in Alberta?

Sports gambling in Alberta is available to anyone who is 18 years of age or older, as this is the legal age for gambling in the province. 

The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) is the regulatory body responsible for enforcing this age requirement, and it uses strict age verification procedures to ensure that only those who meet the age requirements are able to place bets.

It is important to note, however, that while sports betting is legal in Alberta, there are also regulations that govern sports betting in the province and they are enforced by the AGLC.

In addition, users should understand that sports betting is a form of gambling, and therefore it is important to play responsibly. This means staying within one’s limits and not making emotional decisions that could impact your bankroll. 

Thankfully, the AGLC offers plenty of resources and tools to help individuals with gambling problems. However, individuals who are believed to have a gambling problem or who have been banned from gambling by the AGLC will not be able to participate in sports betting in Alberta. 

Offshore Sportsbooks in Alberta

Alberta residents are technically allowed to use offshore bookmakers, but it is not recommended or considered legal by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC), the regulatory body that oversees gambling in Alberta.

Offshore bookmakers are those that operate outside of Canada and are not licensed or regulated by the AGLC. As a result, they often lack the same consumer protections and oversight that licensed and regulated bookmakers in Alberta have.

Nevertheless, many Canadians still use offshore sportsbooks because they can sometimes offer a broader range of betting options, more favourable odds, or other features not available through legally licensed and regulated sportsbooks in Canada.

Additionally, some individuals may use offshore sportsbooks because they do not trust government-run options or because they believe offshore sportsbooks are more secure or private.

While they are considered illegal by the AGLC, offshore sportsbooks are still an option for Canadians in Alberta because it is difficult for the government to effectively regulate and shut down online betting operations that are based outside of the country 

How to Start Betting on Sports in Alberta?

Sports betting is now available to all Alberta residents who are of the legal age and fit to wager on games responsibly. Still to gamble through an AGLC-regulated sportsbook, there are steps one must follow: 

  • Verify your age: It is important to reiterate that you must be at least 18 years old to legally bet on sports in the province of Alberta. The AGLC uses strict age verification procedures to ensure that only those who meet the age requirement are able to place bets. 
  • Choose a sportsbook: Residents of Alberta can register with their local sportsbook, PlayAlberta, or another reputable offshore bookmaker instead. Although, you should select a sportsbook that offers competitive odds and markets for sports that you are interested in. 
  • Register an account: Once you have chosen a sportsbook, you will then need to register an account by providing your personal information (first name, last name, address, phone number, etc.) and creating a username and password. You may also need to further verify your identity and address, depending on the bookmaker. 
  • Claim your welcome bonus - Most bookmakers offer exciting sign-up bonuses to convince you to register with their sportsbook. PlayAlberta does offer an enticing welcome bonus, but you might find better sign-up promotions with other more established sportsbooks. You might also receive larger risk-free bets, deposit matches, and no-deposit bonuses depending on the sportsbook you register with.
  • Deposit money into your account: To begin betting in Alberta, you will need to fund your betting account with real-life money. Luckily, this is generally a pretty quick and painless process, as almost every sportsbook allows you to make deposits using a credit card, debit card, e-wallet or other popular payment methods.
  • Place your bets: Once your betting account is funded, you can start placing bets on the sporting events of your choice. This can be done either through the sportsbook’s website or mobile app. 
  • Monitor bets and withdraw winnings: When your bets are live, you can keep an eye on how they are doing through the bookmaker’s website or mobile app. Pay close attention to the outcomes of each event, and if you win, you can withdraw your winnings directly from your account using a supported withdrawal method (generally the same method used for the deposit). 

Keep in mind that there may be certain limits or fees associated with withdrawing money depending on the method of payment. To give you an idea, here are the most popular deposit and withdrawal methods accepted by most Alberta sports betting operators: 

  • Credit/debit cards: Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are the most widely accepted credit/debit cards at sportsbooks. Deposits are usually processed immediately and there are no additional fees associated with this method.
  • E-wallets: PayPal, Neteller, and Skrill are popular e-wallets accepted by the majority of sportsbooks in Canada. Deposits are usually processed immediately and there are no additional fees associated with this method. Withdrawals may take up to a day to process.
  • Bank transfers: Many AB sports betting operators accept bank transfers as a deposit and withdrawal method as well. However, deposits can take up to a few days to clear, and withdrawals can take up to a few days to process.
  • Cryptocurrency: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are becoming increasingly popular deposit and withdrawal methods for sportsbooks. Plus, deposits and withdrawals are usually processed almost immediately and carry no additional fees.
  • Prepaid cards: Some sportsbooks accept prepaid cards such as Paysafecard and Neosurf. Deposits typically process immediately and there are no additional fees associated with this method either.

Before we move on to our next section, it is important to remember that not all sportsbooks accept all payment methods, and fees, limits, and processing times will vary depending on the sportsbook. Therefore, it is recommended you read the bookmaker’s terms and conditions thoroughly, especially regarding fees and limits, before making any deposit.

Other Types of Gambling in Alberta

In Alberta, there are several types of gambling available to local residents, including:

  • Casino gambling at licensed operators
  • VLTs (video lottery terminals) at licensed facilities
  • Horse racing and off-track betting
  • Charitable gambling (e.g. bingo, raffles, etc.)

Bear in mind that online gambling is only available through the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) website or another regulated bookmaker. Also, it is important to note that the availability and specifics of these types of gambling may change over time and differ from province to province.

How to Play Responsibly in Alberta

Betting responsibly involves making sure that you are aware of the risks associated with betting in Alberta and taking the necessary steps to minimize those risks. Here are a few tips to help you bet responsibly:

  • Set Limits: Decide how much you can afford to lose and stick to that amount. 
  • Take Breaks: Take regular breaks (timeouts) from gambling to give yourself time to think about your actions. 
  • Keep Track of Time: Be aware of how long you have been gambling and take steps to limit the amount of time you spend gambling. 
  • Don’t Chase Losses: Don’t try to win back money that you have already lost. This will inevitably lead to more losses and financial problems. 
  • Seek Help (If Needed): If you ever feel that your betting habits are becoming a problem, do not hesitate to reach out to one of the many resources you have available. The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) website has tons of valuable information on problem gambling, including contact information for organizations that can provide assistance. 
  • Have Fun! - It is important to remember that gambling is a form of entertainment, not just a way to make money. So fun should always be your top priority (within reason).

While gambling in Alberta can be both fun and rewarding, it is no secret that responsible gambling is not a guarantee against developing a gambling problem.

As such, if you, or someone you know, ever display signs of restlessness, irritability, or secretiveness when gambling (or when you are not gambling), these could be early signs that it is time to seek professional help.

Thankfully, responsible sports betting in Alberta is a top priority for the province, which is why they provide several resources and program tools to help residents gamble responsibly, including:

  • The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) is the government agency responsible for regulating and enforcing gambling laws in the province. They provide information and resources on responsible gambling, including the “Play It Safe” program, which provides education and awareness about responsible gambling.
  • AGLC’s Self-Exclusion program is another way in which individuals can manage their behaviour, as it allows you to voluntarily ban yourself from all casinos, racing entertainment centers, and gambling locations in Alberta for a minimum of one year.
  • The AGLC also operates a Voluntary Self-Exclusion program for online gambling through the Alberta Online Casino.
  • AGLC’s GameSense program promotes responsible gambling as well by providing information and resources to help players make informed decisions and better understand the odds of the games they wager on.
  • The AGLC offers a Responsible Gambling Helpline to provide information, advice, and support to individuals who have concerns about their own or someone else’s gambling.
  • The Alberta Government also provides funding to the Alberta Gambling Research Institute to conduct research on problem gambling and to develop/evaluate programs and services to prevent and treat problem gambling in Alberta.
  • The Alberta Health Services provides resources to individuals experiencing problem gambling, including counselling and support groups.
  • The Canadian Centre for Responsible Gambling (CCRG) is a national organization that offers resources and information on responsible gambling, including research and evaluation of responsible gambling programs and policies.

Sportsbooks to Avoid

The majority of sportsbooks and Alberta sports betting operators are reliable and trustworthy options as they are regulated by the AGLC. However, there are some general characteristics of bookmakers you should avoid:

  • Lack of regulation or licensing: Make sure that the bookmaker you register with is licensed and regulated by a reputable authority. This ensures that the bookmaker follows fair play rules and protects your personal information and financial transactions. 
  • Poor customer service: Look for reviews or ask around to see if the sportsbook has a history of poor customer service. If a bookmaker has poor customer service, you might find it difficult to resolve any issues or disputes that may arise. 
  • Slow payouts (or strict withdrawal policy): Avoid bookmakers that have a history of slow payouts or strict withdrawal limits. This can be a sign that the bookmaker is having financial difficulties or is not a trustworthy operator. 
  • Limited or low odds: When comparing sportsbooks, one should always shop around to ensure that you are getting the best odds available. If a sportsbook is offering less than ideal odds, it could indicate that the bookmaker is not competitive and may not offer the best value for your bets. 
  • Unrealistic bonus offers: Keep in mind that some bonus offers might seem too good to be true because they have unrealistic terms and conditions attached to them. Most bonuses are designed to lure customers in, but some may be difficult or even impossible to actually claim. 
  • Lack of transparency: A general lack of transparency is a good sign to turn the other way with any business. Therefore, you should avoid bookmakers that are not transparent about their terms and conditions or have a history of not being upfront with their customers. This could be a sign that the bookmaker is hiding something or not operating honestly.

If you are ever concerned with the legitimacy of an sports betting operator, you can always check with the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) to see if they have any information on bookmakers that are not licensed or in compliance with regulations.

Regardless, it is vital to do your own thorough research about a sportsbook before placing any bets, this way you ensure that you are putting your money in the hands of a reputable and trustworthy operation. 

Differences Between a Licensed and Unlicensed Betting Site

A licensed sports betting site is one that has been authorized by a government regulatory body to operate legally within a specific region. These sites typically have to follow strict regulations and are subject to regular audits and oversight from the government to ensure they are operating in compliance with laws and industry standards.

In addition, they have to comply with strict rules around things like customer protection, information privacy, responsible gambling, and preventing money laundering.

On the other hand, unlicensed sports betting sites operate without the proper authorization from the government regulatory body. This means that these sites may not be subject to the same level of oversight or regulations, and therefore, may not have the same protections in place for customers. 

They may also be operating illegally, meaning there is a higher risk of fraud or other criminal activity associated with the site.

Furthermore, if you encounter any issues with your account using a licensed sports betting site, there is a trustworthy team of professionals you can contact to investigate the situation further. However, if you encounter any issues with an unlicensed site, it will be far more difficult to resolve the issue at hand. 

Why Should I Use a Licensed Site?

Using a licensed sports betting website is important for a number of reasons. First, it ensures that the website is operating legally and has been vetted by a regulatory body to ensure it is operating fairly and transparently.

Additionally, licensed websites are required to have measures in place to protect customer information and ensure that their transactions are secure. This means that if you use an unlicensed sports betting site, you could put your personal information at risk and potentially be subjected to criminal activity involving your account.

Lastly, if you have any issues or disputes regarding your account with a registered and licensed bookmaker, there is a regulatory body in place for you to contact. Whereas if you commit to an unlicensed website, you won’t have access to a reliable source to help you solve the dispute.

About PlayAlberta

PlayAlberta is a government-run online gambling platform that operates in the Canadian province of Alberta. Much like other Alberta sports betting operators, PlayAlberta offers various forms of gambling, such as sports betting, casino games, and lottery games, all of which are regulated by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC). 

FAQs

How do I know if a sports betting platform is licensed and regulated in Alberta?

All legal gambling in Alberta is licensed and regulated by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC). To ensure that a sportsbook or platform is regulated by the AGLC, you can check the AGLC website for a list of licensed and approved operators. Additionally, you should look for the AGLC logo or seal on the sports betting platform’s website, which is usually located on the footer of the website. This logo or seal serves as proof that the platform has been approved and regulated by the AGLC. You can also look for other signs of a reputable and trustworthy bookmaker such as clear terms and conditions, secure payment options, and responsive customer service.