Responsible Gaming at Alberta Online Casinos - A Detailed Review

Online gambling is one of the favourite pastime activities for Canadians, with statistics showing that more than 64% of Canadians aged 18 or older have engaged in some form of online gambling in the past year. Most Canadians have played some games of luck during their adult life, such as bingo, lotto, or a hand of poker.

The rapid growth of the iGaming industry has brought other popular forms of gaming, such as slots and sports betting, to the masses. Many see them as quite standard, harmless activities and to most people - they are. However, gambling can become problematic and downright dangerous to people who are suffering from a gambling addiction - which is why there are many responsible gaming organizations in Alberta and Canada, as well as worldwide.

Everyone who practices any form of gambling should remain aware of responsible gaming principles, which is why we've come up with this guide. In our guide, we'll discuss what this entails, how and where Alberta players can look for help if they suspect that they or someone they know is struggling, and how to capitalize on the tools available.

Responsible Gaming in Alberta: All You Need to Know

Thanks to all the measures taken by the authorities and responsible gambling organizations, most players are well aware of the dangers gambling addiction can pose and engage in gaming activities safely and healthily. However, sometimes it’s impossible to see the dangers of addictive gambling before it’s too late, which is why taking precautions is always recommended. You don’t want to gamble on this one - so always make sure to gamble responsibly.

To put it simply, responsible gambling is a set of behaviours, practices, and rules that regulatory bodies promote and operators have to follow to prevent negative effects on players. Any form of gaming is all about fun and entertainment, so everyone should only gamble for their enjoyment and nothing else. 

Fortunately for Alberta players, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission, as well as the Canadian Gaming Association make sure to promote responsible gambling in Alberta. This means incorporating different Alberta responsible gaming practices and principles whenever possible.

A timer with a stop sign for responsible practices and principles in Alberta

Responsible Gaming Practices and Principles in Alberta 

There are several responsible gaming practices and principles that both the regulatory body and operators in Alberta should follow. When it comes to online gaming, the rules indicate that the regulatory body must ensure the fairness and integrity of gambling operations at all times. Besides, it should prompt awareness of the dangers related to gambling and help individuals that struggle with gambling addiction - including minors. 

On that note, the regulatory body makes sure to prevent underage gambling and encourage ethical marketing. Moreover, it ensures a safe, reliable, and secure online gaming environment at all times while promoting fair gaming practices and complete information privacy.

A lock, timer, 18+ sign with a security logo for responsible gaming

Alberta Responsible Gaming – Who Is in Charge?

The Alberta government agency that regulates, oversees, and audits all gambling-related activities is the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC). Besides gaming, the agency regulates alcoholic beverages and recreational cannabis markets. 

Founded in 1996, the agency follows the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act and the Canadian Criminal Code. All gaming activities in the province are regulated by the AGLC, and it is the only regulatory body that has the power to license third-party gambling operators.

The AGLC recommends all players use GameSense to stay on the right track and avoid falling into the pitfall of problem or addictive gambling. You can engage with GameSense through the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission, by visiting the official website, or the regulator’s social media pages listed below.

A timer inside a security logo for the importance of responsible gaming

Why Responsible Gaming Policies Matter

Although responsible gaming habits are mostly self-imposed sets of rules that one must follow to keep themselves from the harmful effects of gambling, these policies help users in many ways. Perhaps most importantly, it lets users know that they’re not alone.

A strong support system is crucial when in need, and many Alberta responsible gaming services even offer peer-to-peer support. Besides, these policies help prevent addictive gambling in the first place by providing guides and words of advice on how gambling works, how the games work, how to play for fun, and the warning signs that one might need help. Moreover, Canadian problem gambling policies also offer self-exclusion - a practice where players can exclude themselves from participating in gambling activities.

Why Legal Alberta Gambling Sites Must Promote Them?

All forms of gambling are legal in Alberta, and they’re regulated and audited by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission. It includes all casino venues, Alberta sports betting sites, online casinos, bingo halls, lotteries, VLT, and raffles.  Alberta incorporates the charitable gambling model through Play Alberta, where all proceedings made by gaming in the province are distributed back to the community.

Regarding Alberta's gaming policy, the AGLC mandates that all operators must include some of the resources and tools that GameSense provides on their sites or casino floors. 

In fact, every casino floor in Alberta has a GameSense Info Center kiosk, and all registered gaming workers must complete an online training course to be AML certified. For a gambling site to operate legally in Alberta and maintain a license from the AGLG, it must enforce responsible gaming practices too.

A person holding a gaming tab and only thinking of gambling for gambling addiction

What is Gambling Addiction?

Although gambling addiction is often compared to substance abuse, such as the ones found in alcohol and drug dependence, there are some criteria such as chasing losses that are unique to gambling. The symptoms that make gambling addiction comparable to alcohol and drug addiction are the inability to quit and the increasing tolerance by increasing the amount gambled. 

People suffering from gambling addiction often have other risk factors that predispose other addictive behaviours, such as previous psychiatric problems, a lack of community support, or difficult home life.

Oftentimes, people struggling with other addictions will turn to gambling as an alternative in an attempt to get their mind off the substances they’ve been abusing, or worse, as an attempt to earn quick money to buy substances. 

Unfortunately, addictive gambling can be equally unhealthy and life-ruining. The first step towards battling gambling addiction is to admit that you have a problem and accept help willingly. Thankfully, gambling addiction is treatable, and help is available. 

There are numerous tools and practices in place that offer addictive gambling help in Alberta, and if you suspect that you or anyone you know might become addicted to gambling, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Gambling Addiction vs Problem Gambling

In comparison to gambling addiction, problem gambling is a broader term that’s used to describe different patterns of harmful gambling behaviour. A person with a gambling problem does not necessarily suffer from gambling addiction, but the different patterns may harm the person’s relationships with their family, as well as their financial situation.

The term ‘pathological gambling’, albeit somewhat synonymous, indicates a mental health disorder of impulse control. Although problem gambling and gambling addiction, as well as compulsive gambling, are related, the former often represents the symptoms that indicate the illness, while pathological gambling or addiction is the illness. 

Compulsive gambling, on the other hand, stands between the above-mentioned terms and is used to describe a condition when a person cannot control the urge to keep gambling despite being aware of the toll it takes on their life.

Physical Signs of Gambling Addiction 

Contrary to popular belief, gambling addiction can cause different physical symptoms, and there are several signs to be wary of. As gambling addiction is closely linked to depression and anxiety, it can lead to sleep deprivation, which can lead to headaches, nausea, lack of appetite, insomnia, and even stomach issues.

Psychological Signs of Gambling Addiction 

Despite the physical symptoms, addiction is primarily a psychological issue that can cause new mental health issues, such as anxiety, high levels of stress, and depression. Although it often roots from some of these issues, it can worsen any previous conditions a person may suffer from.

Gambling addicts often experience some psychological symptoms such as anxiety, frequent mood swings, inability to focus, nervousness, rage, increased irritability, and feelings of guilt.

Social and Behavioral Signs of Gambling Addiction 

Although the physical and psychological symptoms of addictive gambling are not one-fits-all and can differ from person to person, they’re often hard to notice because they usually require the person struggling with such a condition to open up and seek help.

However, the behavioural and social symptoms of gambling addiction are usually easier to notice and present in all forms of gambling addiction. They include gambling away large amounts of money (usually outside of the person’s planned bankroll), gambling for longer than planned, borrowing money to gamble, loss of control, social isolation, and denial.

Logo of dice, playing cards and searching for responsible gaming organizations

Where to Get Help? Alberta Responsible Gaming Organizations 

The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission takes responsible gaming in Alberta very seriously and mandates that all legally operating gambling sites and venues have the policy in place. 

Despite this, there are several independent organizations available to Albertans, including the Problem Gambling Resources Network Alberta, the AGLC GameSense, MyHealth Alberta, Alberta Gambling Research Institute, Our House Addiction Recovery, and the Alberta Health Services (AHS) Addiction Helpline.

Other Responsible Gaming Organizations in Canada 

Besides the Alberta-based organizations, there are also organizations that operate nationwide and offer gambling help in Canada, including the Responsible Gambling Council, the Partnership, the National Centre for Responsible Gaming, and the Responsible Gaming Network.

Responsible Gambling Council

The RGC is an independent non-profit organization that’s been working in the prevention of problem gambling in Canada and globally for over 3 decades. They’re dedicated to reducing the risks of gambling through innovation, awareness, and improved safeguards, as they promote safer gambling in communities around the world. The RGC website offers numerous informative articles and leaflets that aim to display the risks of gambling in a clear and informative manner with various tools that problem gamblers can use. Moreover, the Council recently launched an online gambling PSA in collaboration with thinkTV in an attempt to educate the public on the risks of online gambling in Alberta too.

Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gaming

Commonly known as The Partnership, this is one of the largest networks in Canada that works with several organizations in the country to advance responsible gambling and encourage safer play. All parties within the Partnership collaborate to build and share knowledge that challenges and influences decision-making within organizations and offers help for problem gambling in Canada.

National Centre for Responsible Gaming

The National Center for Responsible Gaming was established in 1996 and has since launched a field of study to explore gambling disorders. Moreover, it funded some of the most important research in the US and around the world on the matter and aims to help individuals and families affected by gambling disorders by providing first-class research and evidence-based education programs.

Responsible Gaming Network

RGN is a non-profit organization on a mission to raise awareness about the issue and provide genuine assistance to people who are dealing with gambling addiction. The site provides various online resources, such as a responsible gambling checklist, a list of treatment providers, as well as numerous articles on responsible gambling. Moreover, the RGN is a gaming encyclopedia and offers all the information one might need to make informed decisions and keep it fun and safe.

A timer, stop sign and pressure gauge on a credit card for responsible gaming tools

Tools Available in Alberta 

All legally operating gambling sites in Alberta must have a set of responsible gambling tools available to their players. They include the ability to set deposit limits and betting limits, opt for self-exclusion, request a cool-off time, and impose session limits.

Deposit Limits

Casino operators allow users to set deposit limits, thus allowing them to be in control of their bankroll. Additionally, some casino sites impose deposit limits on players that might have a gambling problem, thus limiting the amount of money they can deposit to their betting account.

Betting Limits

Betting limits, or wagering limits, is a tool that allows players and/or operators to limit the amount a player can wager on a given day or a week. Once the player reaches their limit, they won’t be able to continue wagering. Imposing betting limits is a beneficial tool because it allows players to manage their bankroll efficiently and protect any winnings they have made.


A popular tool for gambling addicts, self-exclusion means an official exclusion from participating in online gaming. It can be done directly on the casino site or through a program or service, where players can choose the duration of the exclusion themselves. 

It can last for a month, a few months, or a few years. With self-exclusion, the player’s name and information will be submitted to all legally operating sites in Alberta, as well as the AGLC.


Popularly known as time-out sessions, cool-off sessions are a more drastic measure when compared with setting deposit and betting limits, but less drastic than self-exclusion. They allow players to suspend access to their betting accounts at legal Alberta gambling sites for a limited amount of time - usually between one day and a month. 

However, some sites offer cool-off periods of up to 6 months. During the cool-off time, players won’t be able to log into their accounts, make transactions, or place any wagers.

Session Limits

Session limits enable players to specify how long they would like to be able to remain logged into their accounts at sports betting sites. Players can set up daily or weekly limits, indicating how much time they would like to be able to play at the casino site. When the time is up, the session will expire, and the player will no longer be able to log in to their account until the next day or week.

How Do Alberta Responsible Gaming Organizations Compare With International Organizations?

Canada is among the leaders when it comes to player help and raising awareness of the problem of addictive gambling. Many Canadian organizations, such as the Responsible Gambling Council, cooperate with the most successful problem gaming organizations in the world, such as the British BeGamble Aware, GamStop, GamCare, and Gambling Therapy, as well as the US Gamblers Anonymous.

Alberta Problem Gambling in Numbers

How to Gamble Responsibly?

Gambling is all about fun. Although there’s no booklet that you can read and follow to the letter, the most important thing to consider is to keep gaming as an entertainment-only activity. Don’t chase your losses, manage your bankroll well, stick to your budget, and always keep track of the money as well as the time you’ve spent gambling. 

Don’t expect to win, and don’t look at gambling as a means to earn money. Instead, focus on gambling as a source of entertainment and remember that the house always has a slight edge. Also, make use of all the tools at hand.

AGLC Self-Exclusion Program for Players

If you come to a point when gambling is no longer entertainment for you, or you realize that you’re just gambling too much, the AGLC has a self-exclusion program that can help you get back on track. The program lets players exclude themselves from all casinos in Alberta, including online casino sites that operate legally in the province.

How to Self-Exclude Yourself?

The AGLC self-exclusion program offers players to choose the length themselves, where the options range from as short as six months to as long as three years.

To self-exclude, participants can:

Responsible Gaming at Alberta Land-Based Gambling Venues

All land-based gambling venues are mandated to promote responsible gaming. In fact, some casinos, such as the Deerfoot Inn Casino and Elbow River Casino collaborate with the AGLC to offer such services to their players. Additionally, all land-based casinos in Alberta feature a GameSense Info Centre kiosk on their casino floors where players can get information about responsible gambling.

Responsible Gaming FAQs

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