The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission had only just announced that it was considering getting into online gaming, and faster than the time it takes to play a hand of poker, the opposition attacked.
The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) has seen this scenario unfold many times before. A province decides to study the possibility of getting into online gambling – a pastime, by the way, that has been gaining acceptance in North America for more than a decade, with more people interested in participating and having it legalized with proper regulation (Ipsos, 2010). But before appropriate due diligence can take place, negative editorials appear in local newspapers which quote the same inaccurate and patently false statistics that have been circulating for years.
The truth is that Canadians are playing online. Globally the value of iGaming is estimated around $40 billion dollars a year (H2 Capital), and at about $1.3 billion in Canada in 2013. A provincial offering makes sense: governments play an important regulatory role in setting standards for Canadians who wish to try online gambling, and lottery corporations are charged with implementing and overseeing the activity in a trusted and secure environment.
The CGA welcomes Alberta’s decision to examine offering online gambling to its citizens. Albertans are already spending money on offshore websites with unequal levels of player protection and financial guarantees. Without an alternative, this behaviour will continue unchecked.
We trust that Alberta will make a decision in the best interests of its citizens based upon information and facts, and not be swayed by scare tactics and unsubstantiated rhetoric.