PointsBet Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer Sam Swanell told investors and betting market analysts on a conference call this week that PointsBet was “keeping a close eye” on Alberta as a market PointsBet could enter in 2024. This off-hand remark could provide significant insights into both the Albertan igaming market and the future of PointsBet.
PointsBet recently just pulled out of the US market, but it is clear they are still willing to invest in Canada. For Alberta, Swanell’s comment is a sign of the growing momentum behind opening up the Alberta market to legal online sports betting sites and casinos.
- The only legal option for sports bettors in Alberta is the government-run PlayAlberta site.
- Swanell told investors via a conference call that “he believes Alberta will be an available market for PointsBet by “the second half of the calendar year .”
- Fanatics has agreed to buyout PointsBets USA for a $150m USD.
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The current state of legal sports betting in Alberta
At the time of writing, there are no private sector legal sports betting sites in Alberta. The only legal option for sports bettors in Alberta is the government-run PlayAlberta site. Many thought this might be changing when PlayAlberta announced a new deal with BtoBet. However, this agreement simply led to the PlayAlberta sports betting site receiving slight upgrades and expanded betting markets.
Whether Alberta embraces legal online sports betting is entirely up to the provincial government, specifically the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC). The ALGC first started considering legal online sports betting in Alberta all the way back in 2021 when sports betting was legalised on the federal level.
In 2021, the AGLC began surveying and negotiating with private sports betting firms. These negotiations were a part of a broader plan by AGLC to identify two sportsbook partners for a slow rollout in the province. Unfortunately for Albertan bettors, this did not happen. Not yet at least.
PointsBet predicts an open Alberta sports betting market
As we discussed above, the Alberta sports betting market is extremely limited right now. There have been some indications that this could be changing, but most have come to nothing. However, PointsBet CEO Sam Swanell believes changes will finally be coming to the Albertan market.
In addition to saying that he and PointsBet were “keeping a close eye” on Alberta, Swanell told investors via a conference call that “he believes Alberta will be an available market for PointsBet by “the second half of the calendar year .”
Swanell did not go into detail on why he made such a confident prediction, but many people believe a change could be coming to the Alberta sports betting market due to the success of the Ontario sports betting market.
Ontario opened up its legal sports betting market back in April of 2022. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), reported that igaming operators brought in $1.4 billion in total gaming revenue in 2022. Given its smaller population, Alberta will almost certainly bring in less revenue than Ontario, but Ontario’s numbers show the huge appetite for legal online gambling in Canada.
Another positive sign for legal sports betting in Alberta is the recent victory for the United Conservative Party in the province. This party has been one of the biggest advocates of legal online gambling in Canada.
PointsBet abandons US market but remains open to Canada
PointsBet is an Australian sports betting company available in dozens of countries around the world. However, the sports betting site will soon no longer be available in the US.
Fanatics has agreed to buyout PointsBets USA for a $150m USD. PointsBet Canada will not be affected by this deal. If Swanell, PointsBet CEO, is to be believed, PointsBet actually has plans to expand in Canada once they leave the US.
Swanell told PointsBet investors that the Canadian market “provides shareholders continued exposure to the North American market through a jurisdiction that is more attractive than most US states.”
Even if Alberta does not expand its market, it would not be surprising to see PointsBet become a household name in Canada.
Noah Strang is an experienced sports writer having covered many professional sports leagues across North America. He has worked extensively covering the NHL and been accredited media for the Vegas Golden Knights in the past. He’s also known as one of the best iGaming writers across Canada with extensive experience covering the development of legal sports betting across the country. He was born and raised in Vancouver, BC, and enjoys taking advantage of the coastline. When not writing, you can find him watching whatever sport is on TV or playing pickup basketball.