Canadian first nations sue Alberta gaming regulator

The Alberta gaming regulator is accused of illegally operating an online casino.
The Alberta gaming regulator is accused of illegally operating an online casino.

The Tsuut’ina and Stoney Nakoda are suing Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) for launching an online betting site.

Canada.- The Tsuut’ina and Stoney Nakoda first nations, operators of tribal casinos in the province of Alberta, are suing the regulator, Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), after its launch of the PlayAlberta.ca website.

The new site offers online betting services while casinos remain closed due to the pandemic. According to Tsuut’ina and Stoney Nakoda, that marks AGLC’s unauthorised entry into the casino market.

The Calgary Herald reported that the AGLC launched the iniciative to allow eligible players to play slot and table-style games from their devices and aimed to generate CA$3.74m ($2.96m) in 2021.

Brent Dodginghorse, CEO of Tsuut’ina Nation Gaming said: “The province has closed casinos for a prolonged period of time, which also ensures they are the only option available for those who want to play casino games. We have taken the business risk of building and operating a casino and agreed to share revenue with the province.

“It is in bad faith for the province to do anything with online revenue other than allocate to existing casinos.”

According to the tribes, the AGLC illegally used its own authority to issue a licence for itself. It’s calling for the court to order AGLC to cease its website operation and any other online casino activities.

Read more: Work resumes on new casino in Canada

AGLC spokesperson Heather Holmen said: “Like most jurisdictions in Canada, Alberta has recently started offering online gaming. As in all Canadian jurisdictions, online gaming is conducted and managed by the provincial authorities in accordance with the Criminal Code of Canada.

“AGLC is not aware of the nature of the judicial review application being brought by the First Nations and is, therefore, unable to comment further.”

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Alberta Gaming and Liquor Authority online casinos