Alberta Gambling, Liquor and Cannabis have gone live with PlayAlberta.ca in hopes that a legalized and regulated site would appeal more to Alberta’s population than the off-shore sites. The site was launched under the premise of offering players a more secure and regulated gaming experience. However, the potential harms that could result from this launch have been cast into the spotlight according to reports from earlier this month.
The site launched by AGLC has done a good job at showing the public, and concerned citizens of Alberta, that the organization will be taking consumer protections into account as the business progresses. The player safety tools that are embedded in the site are a good start but it is apparent that the government has a lot of work to do before the industry will be as harmless as possible. The tools that are currently on the site include a reality check, which is a message that pops up to inform players how long they have been playing for, a call centre to help players identify problem behaviours, an exclusion option and the ability to set daily weekly or monthly limits. The tools in place on the site are some of the most innovative seen in the market today but Professors and Analysts believe that other aspects could still lead to issues in the future.
The site currently offers a range of over 40 games that include slots and instant games. This is not the current market standard and is far less appealing than what off-shore sites are offering. As such, the AGLC has expressed plans to grow its gaming catalogue over time. The downside to this is that with more games on offer, the site will appeal to a range of new and curious players, who might be unaware of dangerous gambling signs and could easily develop an addiction.
The revenue generated from the industry is expected to be around $150 million over the next five years. The money could be used to develop more awareness around problem gambling and aid organizations that seek to assist those with a problem. However, it seems unlikely that Canadians will solely place wagers on the new site until the offering is more similar to what they have become accustomed to with off-shore operators.