The Canadian Gaming Association’s (CGA) Amanda Brewer has urged Alberta to “find a solution that suits them” ahead of the province opening its iGaming market. 

Brewer, a Senior Advisor at the CGA, offered these insights during a conversation with the Editor of SBC Americas and Canadian Gaming Business, Jessica Welman, at the recent Canadian Gaming Summit in Toronto.

At the same summit, the Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction, Dale Nally, told attendees that Alberta will seek to replicate Ontario’s open free-market model with numerous operators welcomed into the fold.  

On the announcement, Brewer said: “The hope would be that if Alberta wanted to open its market and open it in a seamless way. They first and foremost have to find a solution that works for them. And that’s not cutting and pasting Ontario’s model, but there could be parts of Ontario’s model that do work for them. 

“And the nice thing about it is you have a whole bunch of operators who’ve been working under that [Ontario] structure under those regulations for a couple of years now. They’re familiar with it. So if Alberta takes some of it and allows operators to come in under similar terms and conditions then they should have a really happy bunch of compliant operators, which is what you want.”

Brewer also suggested that Alberta should learn from how the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (ACGO) has established risk-based standards that set out expected outcomes for operators without mandating how operators meet the outcomes. 

Brewer added: “It’s not like you’re an operator and you have to do these 27 things to reach this outcome. They tell you what the outcome is, and is up to you to figure out how to meet it. So the operators really like that it gives them a lot of freedom and flexibility, but they know at the end of the day, what they’re accountable to the regulator for so having that kind of approach would really help.”

Away from Alberta, a major theme of the Canadian Gaming Summit was the ongoing debate regarding the potential ban on sports betting advertising in Ontario.

Brewer revealed that the CGA has started to draft a set of responsible gambling principles in response to the debate.

Brewer explained: “[Operators] already follow the standards that the ACGO set out but just to make sure that people understand how seriously we take this, there is something that almost supersedes it. 

“In addition to the regulatory standards, there will be Responsible Gambling principles that operators will sign on to follow and figure out how to adopt within their organizations because this is something that has to transgress everything else that we’re doing in the market.”

Continuing the discussion on advertising, Brewer described the reaction to the number of sports betting ads as an “emotional one” and compared the volume to other industries.

Brewer said: “If you actually took a pen and paper and counted the number of advertisements you see during a hockey game gaming isn’t even in the top three. You see far more fast food or automotive or other types. 

“I think people forget we’ve had gaming advertising in Canada for decades because of the lotteries. So what’s new to them is sports betting [ads] and that’s a decision made by broadcasters in the league’s on how many times you are going to see a specific ad during a specific segment.”

She added that the CGA is currently researching the topic to facilitate “informed conversations” with stakeholders and demonstrate that “it’s not an overwhelming amount of advertising you’re seeing”.  

Alberta needs “a solution that suits them” ahead of its iGaming launch