Play Alberta casino, operated by the Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission (ALGC), was opened last October and the locals welcomed it with joy. The local government saw this venue as a huge help for collecting revenue lost during the COVID-19 pandemic while the residents enjoyed its services.
Two First Nation tribes didn’t see the things that way and have decided to sue the province and close the casino. The tribes say that Play Alberta, the only online gaming platform in the province, is actually operating illegally.
The Tsuut’ina and Stoney Nakoda tribes are displeased with the fact that the ALGC is allowed to offer online slots, table games, and instant-win lotteries to customers. They say that, in order to operate in the province, Play Alberta casino needs to have a gambling license. They say that that the ALGC has abused its authority and that the Play Alberta casino should be closed.
Brent Dodginghorse of the Tsuut’ina Nation and the CEO of Tsuut’ina Nation Gaming stated:
“The province has closed casinos for a prolonged period of time, which also ensures that 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 allocating to existing casinos.”
The tribes also don’t believe that this casino will help the province’s revenue grow. They said that it will cut into the contributions the province’s charities receive from casinos.
The Stoney Nakoda chief, Aaron Young, stated:
“The province estimates that within five years, their site will generate $150 million. This $150 million will come at the expense of land-based casinos and the charities that operate events in those casinos. In the Alberta casino model, [15%] of the revenues are allocated to charitable groups, but Play Alberta does not allocate any revenue whatsoever to the charitable groups.”