Expansion Creates Numerous Local Venues
For more than a century, Canada and the Calgary metropolitan region have permitted restricted kinds of gambling. As in many other parts of the globe, parimutuel wagering was the first form of legalized betting, with the majority of wagers placed on horse racing. Since then, horse racing has been accessible to viewers and gamblers in the city for the majority of time. Unfortunately, like in many other areas, enthusiasm dwindled over the years, and it looked in 2008 that the sector might go for forever.
However, this changed in 2015. The Century Downs Racetrack staged the first horse race in the city in eight years, aided by the rise of other types of gambling, which we will discuss shortly. In addition, the track committed to scheduling thoroughbred, Standardbred, and quarter horse races for the foreseeable future. It was a welcome comeback for many, one that was spurred by the gradual but steady rise of gambling in Alberta over the last several decades.
The majority of these expansions trace back to the 1970s, when the province first permitted charity casinos to develop. In reality, the first permanent casino, Cash Casino, debuted in 1980 in Calgary. Since then, more and more of these nonprofit organizations have emerged in Alberta, with more than two dozen now in operation. Seven of them are located in the city itself, including:
Cash Casino Casino Calgary Deerfoot Inn and Casino
Grey Eagle Casino Stampede Casino
Several of these locations merit particular mention. The Grey Eagle is operated by the Tsuu T’ina Nation, since First Nations organisations are entitled to own and operate gambling venues under the same regulations as other groups, so long as their venues are situated on reserve property. Also, we’ll note that “Century” is a part of the Century Downs complex; as in many other U.S. and Canadian locations, this “racino” combines parimutuel betting with more traditional casino games, allowing horse racing to continue at the venue thanks to the additional revenue generated by slot machines, video lottery terminals, and electronic table games.
One of the other significant gambling developments in Alberta has been the growth of video lottery terminals (VLTs). Since their introduction in 1992, these slot-like games have been a major source of income for the province. There are now 6,000 VLTs in Alberta, many of which can be found in Calgary restaurants, pubs, and other places.
Lastly, it is important to note that there are several lottery games available here, just as there are in Vancouver. Since the late 1970s, lotteries in Alberta have been administered by the Western Canada Lottery Corporation, which also conducts draws in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and collaborates with other operators throughout the nation. In addition to the largest jackpot games in Canada, such as Lotto 6/49 and Lotto Max, they also provide lesser games, keno, and scratch cards.
Accessible, But Without Online Regulation
While the topic has been brought up on occasion, there are presently no internet gambling regulations in place in Alberta. This is unlike the majority of the nation, since eight of the ten provinces currently provide at least some Internet gambling licenses. While this implies you won’t be allowed to play at any sites regulated by the Albertan government, it does not preclude you from playing at all.
In lieu of this, persons in the Calgary region may participate in poker, casino games, and other gambling competitions through the Internet on sites that are owned and run outside of Canada. While these sites may be circumventing the law by delivering their services to Canadians, individual players commit no wrongdoing by playing on these sites where they are accessible; in other words, it is lawful to play on these sites, even if running such a site is prohibited.
Although not all international operators accept Canadian players, the bulk of sites are still accessible in Canada. Those who choose not to offer their real money games in this jurisdiction may do so for a variety of reasons. For instance, they may be attempting to keep their regulatory profiles as clean as possible in order to apply for licenses in other provinces with regulation, or they may have a policy of only operating in jurisdictions where they are explicitly licensed.
The good news is that several extremely reliable and trustworthy sites still provide their games to Alberta residents. In the future, Alberta may begin regulating and licensing its own online gambling sites (more on this in a bit), but for the time being, you’ll have to seek outside of Canada to play for real money.