Alberta had been trying to set up a dedicated online gambling website for years and it actually succeeded back in 2020, when the provincial regulator, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLCC), greenlit the arrival of PlayAlberta. The process went smoothly, but the aftermath was riven with challenges.
Not Everyone Happy about the Arrival of Online Gambling in Alberta
The dedicated online casino platform ruffled some feathers, and namely those of Tsuu T’ina Gaming, which saw the platform as illegal.
What followed was a lawsuit to challenge the legality of the platform and the portal, but this may now be put to rest as a second court – the Alberta Court of Appeal – dismissed the claim, arguing that it was well within the regulator’s remit and the government to launch this website.
Tsuu T’ina Gaming decided to challenge PlayAlberta and AGLCC after a previous ruling on February 24, 2022, by Justice Robert Armstrong sided with the regulator. Tsuu T’ina Gaming tried to convince the courts that the AGLCC had no statutory authority to launch its own dedicated gambling website and operate it.
The previous ruling by Justice Armstrong was challenged once again in the Court of Appeal but to no avail. The case dates back to April 2021, when the Tsuut’ina Nation and Stoney Nakoda First Nation decided to launch legal proceedings against the website and the provincial regulator and the government, claiming that PlayAlberta was in fact an “unauthorized entity.”
The Court of Appeal motivated this decision by arguing that the regulator may conduct and manage provincial lotteries on behalf of the government. “In summary, a province is entitled to conduct and manage a provincially authorized lottery scheme. Such a scheme is authorized in Alberta as a ‘provincial lottery,” the ruling read, which means PlayAlberta will carry on despite opposition against it.