Overview of Gambling in Alberta, Canada

Alberta, Canada, is a beautiful western Canadian province with the fourth largest population in Canada. It has roughly 4.4 million residents, most of whom are English-speaking, with less than 2% of Albertans considered Francophone.

The Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission (AGLC)

The Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission (AGLC) is the agency responsible for regulating recreational cannabis, gambling and alcohol. The AGLC was created in 1996, chiefly merging the duties of the Alberta Lotteries and Alberta Liquor Control Board (ALCB).

Except for pari-mutuel horse racing, regulated federally by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA), Alberta controls and regulates gaming in the province. Alberta allows several licensed and regulated forms of gambling in the province. The minimum gambling age in Alberta is 18 years.

The regulator uses a 'charitable gaming model,' where gaming activity proceeds are returned to Alberta communities. Charitable organizations can legally run bingo events, casino events, sell pull tickets and raffles. Charitable gaming is a big business in Alberta, earning $321 million in 2019-2020.

The AGLC operates the Play Alberta online casino launched in October 2020. This is the only licensed and regulated online casino in the province. Here, Albertans can find a limited selection of slots, table games, instant games and lottery games. Additionally, Canadians can also find live dealer games: Baccarat eSqueeze, Lightning Roulette, Infinite Blackjack, standard blackjack and baccarat. Albertans new to the casino can also receive a $20 welcome bonus, while regular players may find ongoing bonus offers. Play Alberta will soon be offering sports betting, making it a laggard relative to other provinces like Québec and Ontario.

Interestingly, as of April 2021, two First Nations tribes are now challenging the legality of Alberta's Play Alberta online casino. The Stoney Nakoda and Tsuut'ina First Nations are both located in southern Alberta. Their argument is that the website is "unauthorized and impermissible" and siphoning away charity revenue.

Alberta forms part of the Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC). Other members include Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Yukon Territory, Nunavut and North West Territories. The WCLC is a non-profit agency that manages the lottery and gaming-related activities on behalf of members. It works closely with each of the provinces and territories. Albertans can purchase tickets to popular interprovincial draws such as Lotto 6/49, Lotto Max. Additionally, there are regional games such as Pick 2, Pick 3 and Western 649.

The AGLC manages about 6,000 video lottery terminals located at liquor licensed establishments. Each establishment can have up to 14 VLTs, while gaming entertainment centres may have 15-49 VLTs.

Alberta has several commercial and First Nations casinos, as well as racetracks offering slots and table games. These can be located throughout the province, including major cities like Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Red Deer. Visitors to Alberta casinos can typically find a complete casino experience, with hundreds of slot machines, dozens of table games, poker rooms and more!

River Cree Casino

The River Cree Casino is a resort and casino rolled into one. This makes it the ideal destination for players looking to do some shopping or explore the provincial capital!

Visitors can stay at the resort and indulge in some time at the spa when taking a break from playing. There are also restaurants and bars where players can find good food and unwind after a fun day of gaming.

Casino games include close to 1,350 slot machines located over two floors. There are also 40 tables where visitors can indulge in any number of table games: craps, Chase the Flush, Ultimate Texas Hold'em, 3 Card Poker, roulette and blackjack.

So why else should you play at River Cree Casino? Here are three additional reasons:

  • It is located in Enoch, about a 20-minute drive from the centre of Edmonton and even closer to the famous West Edmonton Mall.

  • High rollers may be interested in 11 high limit table games located in a separate section of the casino. Here, players will find blackjack and baccarat.

  • The casino boasts one of the most comprehensive poker rooms available in Edmonton.

The casino also offers a River Cree Players Club free membership where patrons can enjoy perks: monthly promotions & draws, 10% discount on food & beverages, personalized offers & VIP Casino host service, and birthday free play slots valued between $5 and $500.

Deerfoot Casino

Deerfoot Inn & Casino is another way to enjoy gambling in Alberta. It is located in Calgary, the most populous city in Alberta, with about 1.1 million residents.

Visitors who enjoy table games will find many of the most popular casino games: Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em, EZ Baccarat, roulette, Chase the Flush and Blackjack. Large groups of visitors can even enjoy a private poker room for 10 players.

The 24/7 casino also boasts 814 slot machines and 24 VLTs located in a unique VLT lounge. The casino recently added 10 new high-limit slots for high rollers.

  • The Deerfoot Inn & Casino is home to The Fortune Room. It offers a luxurious blend of gaming and fine dining. Here, players can find Commission Baccarat, EZ Baccarat, and standard blackjack tables.

  • Players who enjoy electronic roulette, blackjack and baccarat won't want to pass up the 'Replay Arena!'

  • Stay on location to enjoy some tremendous Western Canadian dining and pubs. With names like the Mohave Grill, Prime Rib Buffet, Wild Horse Pub and Cactus Lounge - it's hard to go wrong!

Starlight Casino Edmonton

Located in Edmonton, Alberta, the Starlight Casino extends over two floors containing table games, a poker room, and slot machines. The table games selection is respectable: Chase The Flush, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, roulette, Blackjack with Lucky, Bad Beat Baccarat & EZ Baccarat, craps and Crazy 4 Poker. Fans of slots will find a wide range of machines where bets start from as little as one cent. So why else should you play at the Starlight Casino?

  • It's particularly noteworthy because of its location at the West Edmonton Mall. In case you didn't know, the West Edmonton Mall is the largest shopping centre in North America with 'World Water Park,' adventure golf and over 800 shops.

  • When you need a break, visit the Nova Bar for a drink, chow down on some noodles at Chow Lucky Noodle Bar or hit a buffet!

  • Located in the second-most populous capital city in Alberta, combine a casino trip with sightseeing and shopping.

Another perk of the casino is the 'My Club Rewards,' which is free to join. Here, players earn points simply by visiting the casino. There is also a welcome bonus, birthday bonus, 'Wild Wednesday,' and weekly or monthly 'U Spins.'

Grey Eagle Casino

The Grey Eagle Resort & Casino is conveniently located in Calgary, Alberta, on Tsuut’ina Nation land. Close to the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the casino offers 40+ table games and 900+ slot machines on 84,000 ft.² of land. Table games include 3 Card Poker, roulette, craps, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, blackjack, baccarat and Commission Baccarat.

So, why else should you visit Grey Eagle Casino?

  • It bills itself as the newest, largest and most luxurious 'Idol entertainment playground.'

  • Among the other gems, visitors will find a high-limit gaming room with exclusive services and amenities.

  • After a day of playing, you will work up quite an appetite, the perfect time to hit one of five gourmet restaurants or bars: Blaze Bar & Grill, Stage Bar, Bar & Buffet Restaurant, Grab 'N' Go Bistro and Little Chief Hotel Restaurant.

The casino also offers club member rewards where players can receive discounts, promotions and perks. Points are earned by swiping a card when visiting, registering to receive emails and mail offers, and playing poker and slots. Some of the perks include special gift giveaways, restaurant discounts, bonus points on selected days and birthday offers.

Century Downs

Century Downs is a racetrack and casino located in Rocky View County, Alberta. It's located just north of Calgary.

The casino has 600 slot machines and VLTs on its gaming floor, including progressives that are either stand-alone or networked across Alberta. Players can wager from as little as one penny to as much as $5 per spin.

Century Draws has some other perks that make it popular with players:

  • Visitors may even be able to combine a trip to the racetrack with some casino gambling. Standardbred racing is available from April to November.

  • Players can experience The Derby Restaurant for some patio dining, weather permitting. Savour a cocktail, wine, or local craft beer when you're taking a break from playing.

  • Winner's Edge is a province-wide casino loyalty program where participants can enter into draws, promotions for free play and dining discounts.

Players that signup can collect up to 500,000 bonus points. A player earns a point for every $1-$5 wagered on electronic table games and slot machines. Special promotions offered throughout the year allow players to collect even more points, redeemable at a rate of 1,000 points: $1.