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PlayAlberta, regulated online gambling website, launched Thursday

Click to play video 'Provincial online gambling website ‘PlayAlberta’ now live' Provincial online gambling website ‘PlayAlberta’ now live
The AGLC has launched PlayAlberta, a new online casino for residents. Fletcher Kent has more on what's behind the new gambling option.

Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis announced Thursday that the province’s only legal, regulated online gambling website is now live.

“This milestone is something that has been planned for and desired by Albertans for years,” AGLC COO Niaz Nejad said.

Adding this platform means Alberta joins most other Canadian provinces is offering online gambling, Nejad said.

PlayAlberta.ca is “safe, reliable and socially responsible,” AGLC board chair Len Rhodes said. It’s available to players over the age of 18 and has a “strong age-verification process,” Nejad explained.

Read more: AGLC considering government-run online gaming

Physically, it’s based in Alberta, and ensures “money made in Alberta stays in Alberta.”

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AGLC anticipates PlayAlberta will generate $3.71 million in revenue annually. That money is directed into Alberta’s general revenue fund.

“Proceeds that are generated through Alberta’s online gaming website will have a direct impact on Albertans,” Rhodes said, by supporting “valuable programs and services Albertans rely on every day.”

READ MORE: Alberta casinos take varying approaches to reducing COVID-19 risk

Critics have raised concerns that online gaming makes it more accessible to young people and those with addictions.

But the AGLC says PlayAlberta offers GameSense supports and resources as well as notifications to help players set spending limits and time limits for their gambling.

Click to play video 'Recovering gambling addict raises concerns after Alberta launches new online casino' Recovering gambling addict raises concerns after Alberta launches new online casino
Recovering gambling addict raises concerns after Alberta launches new online casino

The site, which launched Oct. 1, includes virtual slots and table games and more features will be added in the coming months.

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Officials said Thursday they don’t expect this site to take in-person business away from Alberta casinos; they expect it will reduce profits of illegal gambling sites.

In fact, AGLC put together an online gambling advisory committee made up of representatives from Alberta’s gaming industry.

READ MORE: Ontario Lottery and Gaming gambling website goes live 

The AGLC has been looking into this move for years and started seeking submissions in 2015.

In June of this year, Alberta formulated a seven-year agreement with NeoPollard Interactive to build and maintain a legal, regulated, secure and age-controlled online gambling platform.

NeoPollard Interactive is a global company with offices in Canada, Israel and the United States.

NeoPollard created PlayAlberta and a private operator will run it for AGLC.

Click to play video 'Albertans gambling and buying alcohol at record pace despite tough economy' Albertans gambling and buying alcohol at record pace despite tough economy
Albertans gambling and buying alcohol at record pace despite tough economy

Read more: Cashless gambling? How coronavirus may change Canada’s casinos

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