Canada

Two First Nations groups taking province to court over PlayAlberta online gaming site

CALGARY —
Tsuut’ina and Stoney Nakoda First Nations have applied to shut down the province’s PlayAlberta online gambling website.

The nations, which each operate casinos which have been shutdown or restricted over the past year, say the AGLC is operating an illegal gambling site.

The claim also alleges a conflict of interest and lack of authority to operate a casino.

None of the claims have been tested in court.

PlayAlberta allows people to prove their age and then bet real dollars on slots and table games. It launched in October 2020.

“By entering online gaming the governnment is taking away charity dollars,” said Tsuut’ina Chief Roy Whitney. “These charity dollars are used to support our health, education, housing and social programs.”

The AGLC responded Wednesday afternoon, acknowledging the financial hardship caused by pandemic response restrictions, but defended its online casino.

“Like most jurisdictions in Canada, Alberta has recently started offering online gaming. As in all Canadian jurisdictions, online gaming is conducted and managed by the provincial authorities in accordance with the Criminal Code of Canada.”

In recent months other casino operators have privately complained about the government competition, but none would go on the record with their concerns.

No date has been set for the hearing.


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