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Players in Alberta can now access table games with live, professional dealers through the provincial online gambling site PlayAlberta.ca.
The live dealer products complement Play Alberta’s more traditional array of digital slots, instants tickets, and virtual table games. The new additions came online Mar. 11. At launch, available live dealer games consist of Roulette, Baccarat, Infinite Blackjack, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. The province expects more games to follow.
With games streamed in 1080p to player’s desktops and mobile devices, the live dealer experience allows players to interact with professional dealers via real-time chat functions. The service is provided by Sweden’s Evolution Gaming. Evolution also offers similar products to government-run platforms in BC and Quebec, as well as both public and private sector gambling sites in international markets.
Since arriving on the scene in 2006, Evolution Gaming Group AB has become a leading provider of B2B Live Casino Solutions, serving more than 300 operators worldwide. Their studios in Europe and North America currently employ nearly 7400, and are rapidly expanding. Evolution’s Pennsylvania studio opened in October, and one in Michigan is expected soon.
When it comes to the live dealer experience, Evolution effectively has a monopoly in the US. Currently, the only other option in the country is Ezugi’s studio at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, NJ. However, Evolution acquired its competitor in 2018. So, despite New Jersey having two live dealer studios, they belong to the same parent company.
With their presence in BC, Quebec, and Alberta, it looks like Evolution has similar plans for the Canadian market. And with significant changes coming to Canada’s online gambling landscape, getting in early could really pay off.
At the federal level, Bill C-218, a private member’s bill sponsored by Conservative Kevin Waugh, recently passed second reading and is now under review by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. The bill seeks to repeal section 204(7)(b) of the Criminal Code and allow bets on a single event’s outcome. The change would open up the potential of what the Canadian Gaming Association has estimated is a $14 billion market.
Provinces are getting in on the action, too, likely at least in part to counter the cost of the pandemic on Canadian gambling revenues and the resulting hit to provincial coffers.
In Ontario, Doug Ford’s Conservative Government has promised to introduce legislation to end the provincial lottery’s monopoly on online casino gaming and open the market to private interests.
Meanwhile, in the Atlantic provinces, the Atlantic Lotto Corporation (ALC) has launched its first online casino as a pilot project in New Brunswick, with plans to expand to PEI and Nova Scotia soon.
With so much on the go, it will be interesting to see where Evolution pops up next.