Northern Exposure: First Nation Partners Being Consulted In Alberta For Online Gaming Strategy

Each week, Canada Sports Betting recaps all the top sports betting and iGaming news in Canada and highlights upcoming events.

Our top stories this week

Event of the week

EURO 2024

With the NHL and NBA seasons winding down, the summer season is usually slow for bettors, but not this year.

EURO 2024 begins Friday and runs all the way through July 14, giving bettors plenty of high-quality international soccer to wager on. Multiple games will be played each day during the group stage in Germany, which means these contests will be played between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the Eastern Time Zone.

England is the odds-on favourite at most online sportsbooks with roughly +350 odds to claim the honour as Europe’s best soccer nation, but France, Germany, Portugal, and Spain also have short odds.

Canada Sports Betting will provide matchday previews throughout the tournament, so check back before locking in your wagers.

Alberta engages First Nation partners on igaming

The Alberta Government has engaged its First Nation partners for feedback on the development and implementation of a provincial online gaming strategy.

The Ministries of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction and Indigenous Relations have opened a strategy engagement page on the Alberta Government website as of June 5. First Nation partners are being encouraged to get involved and reach out to the igaming strategy engagement team to share concerns, challenges, and opportunities relating to igaming with the government through meetings and feedback sessions.

Traditional land-based casino operators and racing entertainment operators are also being encouraged to give feedback.

“Alberta has expressed its intention to meet with all 47 First Nations and with the six First Nation casino operators. We look forward to meeting soon and gathering their feedback on igaming,” the Press Secretary for the Honourable Dale Nally told Canada Sports Betting recently.

Meeting with Indigenous groups and partners is just the latest step in the development and launch of a regulated igaming market in Alberta. The government has identified several key dates for a potential launch, indicating it would like to get things up and running by early 2025. Several key political figures in the development of this igaming framework will be attending next week’s Canadian Gaming Summit in Toronto, where more details should be revealed about how far along the government is in this process.

It took Ontario several years to develop the guidelines and framework for its regulated igaming market, which launched in April 2022. However, Alberta does have the advantage of piggybacking off Ontario’s model while also learning from the mistakes that were made leading up to and after the launch of the market.

The Alberta Government has given no indication of how many or which operators would potentially be allowed to participate alongside its provincial lottery corporation in the new marketplace. With a population of roughly 5 million, Alberta is a desirable jurisdiction for private operators.

IBIA joins forces with Genius Sports

Genius Sports, one of the world’s largest sports technology companies, and the International Betting Integrity Association, the largest sports betting integrity monitor in the world, are teaming up to put a stranglehold on match-fixing, they jointly announced earlier this week.

Under the new partnership the two powerhouses will share information and resources relating to suspicious betting activity around the globe. Genius Sports is also now an Associate member of the IBIA.

“Cooperation and the sharing of information are vital pillars to safeguarding the global sports industry from the threats of match-fixing and betting-related corruption. Our partnership with IBIA will provide us and our partners with greater transparency over global betting patterns, helping to identify, manage and prevent any integrity threats,” said Director of Integrity and Rights Enforcement at Genius Sports, Simon Martyn, in the release.

Genius Sports is the trusted integrity partner to over 150 sports leagues and federations worldwide, including the NFL, Premier League, and PGA Tour. It provides sports with comprehensive integrity services, including 24/7 bet monitoring and reporting, bespoke education tools and robust intelligence solutions.

IBIA is a not-for-profit body that is run by operators for operators to protect regulated sports betting markets from match-fixing. It represents over 50 of the world’s leading betting companies which operate over 125 sports betting brands.

The announcement of the new alliance comes just prior to two major global sports events, EURO 2024 and the Summer Olympic Games.

Play’n GO joins CGA

Play’n GO is the newest member of the Canadian Gaming Association, a trade association that represents operators and suppliers in Canada’s gaming, sports betting, esports, and lottery industries.

The operator’s online casino product is live in Quebec via its recent deal with Loto-Quebec and is also registered with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

“Play’n GO has long advocated for a safe, regulated iGaming industry, and we’re proud to join an official body like the Canadian Gaming Association that shares those goals,” said Saam Hafezi, head of region, North America at Play’n GO. “We look forward to collaborating with fellow stakeholders within the Association to achieve a brighter, more sustainable future for us all, and we thank the Canadian Gaming Association for accepting our membership application.”

The CGA, which has been active for almost 20 years and boasts roughly 70 members, has been particularly instrumental in developing and advocating regulated igaming markets across Canada.

“We’re pleased to welcome Play’n GO to the Canadian Gaming Association. Play’n GO’s values align perfectly with our own – advancing the evolution of Canada’s gaming industry in a safe way that protects players. We’re glad to have them on board,” said CBA president and CEO Paul Burns in the release.

Play’n GO is also licensed in Great Britain by The Gambling Commission and in Malta by the Malta Gaming Authority.