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Gaming - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the new Extended Table Game Hours Policy?


Detailed information about the policy is available in our Extended Table Game Hours Policy Update Q & A

Where can I find out more about the new casino facility licensing process and casino expansions/major relocations?

Detailed information about these processes including the application process and contact information is available in our Gaming Sections

How do I know if a gaming licence is required?

A licence is required if an event contains the following three elements:

    • Chance – an element of random draw or selection that does not involve skill or involves a mix of chance and skill.
    • Consideration (payment) – a cost to enter or participate in the activity.
    • Prize – any item of value awarded to a participant.

What are the different types of charitable gaming licences?

There are four types of charitable gaming licences:

  • Bingo –  a game in which players mark off numbers on cards as the numbers are drawn randomly, the winner being the first person to mark off five numbers in a row or another required pattern.
  • Casinos – gaming conducted in casinos that includes table games and slot machines.
  • Pull Ticket – an instant-win ticket with sealed windows or pull-tabs that open to reveal symbols, letters or numbers that correspond with a specific prize.
  • Raffle – lottery where prizes are awarded based on a random draw of tickets purchased by players. Some common examples of raffles requiring a licence are:
    • 50/50 draws
    • Prize draws
    • Sports drafts or pools

Do I need a license for a raffle or 50/50 draw?

A raffle is a lottery scheme where someone is paying for the opportunity to win a prize. A raffle consists of three elements:

1. consideration (payment);

2. chance; and

3. a prize.

If all these elements are present, a group must obtain a licence.

Q: Do I need a raffle licence for a 50/50 draw?

A: Yes. Your group must first be found eligible for a gaming licence by the AGLC. If your group is found eligible, the licence is issued based on the anticipated total ticket value of the 50/50 draw. Typically, 50/50 draws fall into the raffle category of total ticket value of $10,000 and less and may be obtained at any Alberta registry agent or online using your AGLC internet account.

Q: My family wants to conduct a raffle at our large family reunion. Can we get a raffle licence?

A: No. Only eligible charitable or religious groups may obtain a raffle licence.

Q: If my raffle is very small, do I still need a licence?

A: Yes. You must obtain a licence regardless of the total ticket value, size of the prize, or anticipated sales.

Q: Can a private company obtain a raffle licence?

A: No. Only eligible charitable or religious organizations may obtain a raffle licence. Organisations such as employee social groups exist to benefit their own members, so do not qualify as charities.

Q: Why does a charity need to be involved?

A: Only licensed charitable or religious groups may conduct charitable gaming activities in Canada. Proceeds from licensed charitable gaming events go directly to the charities that conduct the events. The proceeds are used to support valuable community projects and initiatives for non-profit and volunteer organizations across Alberta.

Q: Do I need a raffle licence for a silent auction?

A: No, because the three elements for a raffle (consideration, chance, and prize) are not present.

Q: Can my group conduct more than one raffle at a time?

A: Yes, as long as each raffle meets the relevant “Raffle Terms & Conditions.” Each raffle of more than $10,000 total ticket value must have its own dedicated raffle gaming bank account.

Q: What is a Sports Draft?

A: A Sports Draft is a raffle event were the scoring is based on accumulation of points involving: divisions, player(s), team(s), goals and assist. Entry forms are used to mark a purchaser's picks and there are strict rules that need to be followed. Once the entry form is received by the group and accepted with payment, it is processed and a ticket is assigned. See Sports Draft Terms and Conditions.

Q: Are there rules for Sports Events?

A: Yes. Sport Events such as a Grey Cup where tickets are sold based on a specific game score require additional rules. Refer to Section E of Raffle Terms and Conditions. In some cases the winning ticket might not have been sold, so a random draw will need to take place.

Q: Can a raffle licence be changed or amended?

A: Yes. If the licence has an error, you may return to the registry office where to to have it corrected during the same business day the licence was purchased. For any amendment to a raffle licence after the day it was created, please submit a detailed letter of request (with two executive signatures) to be reviewed by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.

How do I apply to be a vlt retailer and what qualifications are required?

Any establishment open and operating with a valid Class A Minors Prohibited liquor licence is eligible to apply to become a vlt retailer. You may contact the AGLC Hotline at 1-800-561-4415 and indicate youd like to apply for vlts. They will require the following information:

  1. Location name
  2. Location address
  3. Contact name and number

You will be contacted and sent an application to apply. All applicants will be reviewed and assessed. If youd like to discuss what licence you have or how to change it to a Class A Minors Prohibited liquor licence, please contact AGLC Licensing Support at:

St. Albert Calgary
Red Deer
50 Corriveau Avenue
St. Albert AB
T8N3T5
Tel: 780-447-8600
Toll-free:
1-800-272-8876
110-6715 8 St. NE
Calgary AB
T2E7H7
Tel: 403-292-7300
Toll-free:
1-800-372-9518
#3, 7965 49 Avenue
Red Deer AB
T4P2V5
Tel: 403-314-2656

What is a Gaming Entertainment Centre (GEC)?

A Gaming Entertainment Centre (GEC) is a separate room within the facility of a retailer, which contains a minimum of 15 vlts, a maximum of 25 vlts, and is subject to AGLC facility standards and operating requirements. For full details on GECs, see Section 11 of the Licensee Handbook.

In Alberta, what is the average payout rate for vlts and/or slot machines?

Video lottery terminals (vlts) and slot machines in Alberta are programmed to pay out a cumulative average of 92 per cent of all money wagered over all the machines in the vlt/slot network. The payout rate of 92 per cent is averaged over millions and millions of plays, not one playing session. The laws of probability will allow players to win or lose, and leave others to walk away even. The programmed machine payout rates vary based on line counts, denomination, maximum bet and other factors. For example, some machines may be programmed at 92.09% or 91.89%. These percentages vary based on line counts and denominations. In other words, not all vlts/slot machines will have an exact 92% payout.

For example:

  • If you wager $100, your average winnings may be $92 ($100 x 92% = $92);
  • If you replay that $92, your average winnings may be $85 ($100 x 92% x 92% = $85);
  • If you replay the $85, your average winnings may be $78 ($100 x 92% x 92% x 92% = $78); and
  • If you replay your credits four times before cashing out, you may receive $72 ($100 x 92% x 92% x 92% x 92% = $72)

In the example above, the total wager (cash/credits played) is $355 ($100 + $92 + $85 + $78). The total win (cash/credits won) is $327 ($92 + $85 + $78 + $72). The player’s payout rate is 92%.

Ultimately what a player walks away with in winnings depends on their play behaviour. Only a player will determine what their win/loss limit is.

There are several different terms, with different meanings, used to look at transactions involving vlt/slot machines.

The cash/credits won divided into the cash/credits played reflects the payout rate and over millions of spins (the life of the machine) nets out at the theoretical payout. The machine is programmed to the theoretical payout described above.

The cash-in vs. cash-out is simply a difference between each dollar put into a terminal and each dollar taken out. In the example above, the player wagered $100 (cash-in) into a terminal and won $72 (cash-out). The player’s cash-out rate is 72%; however, it does not take into account the number of plays and the actual total wager.

The AGLC ensures all games are fair and gaming activities are conducted honestly, openly and with integrity. Electronic gaming machines, including vlts and slot machines, are tested and approved by an independent gaming laboratory, and must meet stringent technical and operating standards, including the payout percentage, before ever reaching gaming floors.

It’s important to note that electronic gaming terminal games are developed based on randomness, which means that the outcome is not predictable. When you gamble the odds always favour the house. The AGLC encourages all players to get to know the games they play and set limits on the amount they are prepared to bet - and potentially lose.

Who can I contact if I have a problem with a casino or vlt location, or a credit dispute?

If you experience a problem with a casino or vlt location, or you believe you have a discrepancy with the amount of credits you are entitled to, always;

1. Stop play on the terminal in question.

2. Report the problem or discrepancy to the retailer’s staff as soon as possible.

3. If the dispute has not been resolved, call the AGLC’s Gaming Irregularities phone number at 1-800-742-7818.

For your protection and the integrity of gaming, any irregularity known or witnessed should be reported to the AGLC. Callers should be prepared to provide the following information:

1. Name and address

2. Telephone number

3. The location where the problem occurred

4. Nature of the problem

How does my organization register as a charitable or not-for-profit organization?

Contact Corporate Registries at 780-427-2311 in Edmonton (to be connected toll-free outside of the Edmonton area, call 310-0000) or visit their website at servicealberta.gov.ab.ca.

What is Gaming Information for Charitable Groups (GAIN)?

In November 2003, GAIN was launched to help volunteers gain a better understanding of the responsibilities and requirements of a gaming licence and be more accountable to their members and the community at large.

Today, there are four types of sessions:

1. GAIN (overview)

2. Use of Proceeds

3. Combined (GAIN + Use of Proceeds)

4. Casino

All sessions are free and offered throughout the province. For more information about the program or to sign up for a session visit the Gaming Information Session section.

How do I apply to be a ticket lottery retailer and what qualifications are required?

Please call the AGLC at 1-800-272-8876 indicating you’d like to apply for a lottery terminal. A representative will contact you to complete a retailer inquiry. Please have the following information available:

  • Location name
  • Location address including postal code
  • Phone number
  • Business Entity Number (if applicable)
  • Hours of business
  • Square footage of retail space
  • Annual or monthly sales figures
  • Average customer count per day (the AGLC recommends a customer count of at least 300 visitors per day)

The information obtained above will be forwarded to an Account Representative for the area. You will be contacted to discuss the Lottery Ticket Networks available approximately two to four weeks after completing the retailer inquiry.

Once an assessment has been completed, a retailer application package will be sent out. After the completed application package has been returned to the AGLC, your retail location will be scheduled to receive a Lottery Terminal. There is no fee charged for this application process. All applicants will be reviewed and assessed.

Who can I contact if I have a payout dispute with a Lottery Ticket Centre location?

If you have a discrepancy with the payout amount you believe you are entitled to, please:

1. Personally check the ticket numbers to the Official Draw Results.
2. Retain the original ticket and refuse the prize from the retailer.
3. Ask the retailer for a claim form.
4. Submit the completed form and the original ticket, with your name printed on the back of the ticket to:

WCLC Prize Payout
10th Floor, 125 Garry Street
Winnipeg MB R3C 4J1

Any problems or concerns with a Lottery Ticket Centre location or lottery tickets should be forwarded to the WCLC at 1-800-665-3313.

Where can I claim my prize when I win on a scratch ticket or on-line ticket?

AGLC operates lottery games within the province of Alberta, and to win a prize on our games, you must have purchased a ticket in Alberta. We do not operate email or Internet lotteries. Click here for information on lottery scams claiming to be from AGLC or WCLC.

It is IMPORTANT to print your name, address and daytime phone number on the back of your ticket(s).

PRIZES UP TO $1,000

Prizes can be redeemed at the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (Prize Payout Office) or any Lottery Ticket Center offering the service.
Retailers are obligated to pay prizes of $200 or less, but do not have to pay amounts between $200 and $1,000. If you know you have a large win, it's recommended that before having the ticket validated, you ask the retailer if they have the money to pay the prize. If you have problems finding a retailer willing to pay between $200 and $1,000, call the AGLC Prize Payout Office for a list of retailer locations or mail your prize-claim to the Prize Payout Office.

PRIZES UP TO $9,999

You can claim your prize in person from one of the following two offices:

Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) Prize Payout Office
50 Corriveau Avenue
St. Albert, AB T8N 3T5

Tel: 780-447-8616
Toll Free: 1-800-272-8876
Office hours: 8:30 am - 3:45 pm
Calgary Prize Payout Office
Deerfoot Atrium
110, 6715-8 Street N.E.
Calgary, AB T2E 7H7

Tel: 403-663-8301
Toll Free: 1-800-372-9518
Office hours: 8:30 am - 3:45 pm

You will be asked for one piece of identification if your claim is under $5,000 and two pieces of identification if your claim is $5,000 or more.

For prizes up to $9,999, you can also mail your prize claim to the AGLC Prize Payout Office.

PRIZES $10,000 and OVER


Prizes over $9,999 require an appointment and can be claimed at the AGLC Prize Payout Office in St. Albert or mail the ticket to:

WCLC Prize Payout
10th Floor, 125 Garry Street
Winnipeg MB R3C 4J1

If you have questions about your prize claim, call Western Canada Lotteries at 1-800-665-3313.

Are there problem gambling services available in Alberta?

Yes. Call the Alberta Health Services toll-free Help Line at 1-866-332-2322 or visit the AHS website. Additional information is available on the Being Responsible section of our website.

What is the legal age for participating in gaming activities in Alberta?

The legal age for participating in the majority of gaming activities is 18 years of age. This includes gaming activities such as VLTs, slot machines, lottery tickets, raffle and pull tickets.

Bingo is the only exception. On October 1, 2000, the AGLC (in response to a recommendation from the Bingo Review Committee) adjusted its policies to allow some small non-association bingo licensees to apply for an exemption from current policy to allow minors, accompanied by an adult, to play bingo for small cash prizes (no more than $50). However, consistent with the recommendations from the Gaming licensing Policy Review, halls that offer Keno and electronic bingo will be age controlled environments and minors will not be able to work or play at these halls. There are approximately 2,500 bingo licensees in Alberta, and it is estimated that less than 300 will be able to apply for a minors allowed exemption.

Can gaming applications be objected to?

Licence Application Objections

Section 4 of the Gaming and Liquor Regulation (GLR) authorizes the Board to establish policies in relation to considering objections received related to the issue of a gaming licence or registration.

The Board has approved the following policies:

The Board will only consider objections to the issue of a licence to the following applicants if received within 14 days from the date that the notice of application was posted on the AGLC website:

Any objection to the issue of a licence or registration other than those noted above will be considered in accordance with the policies approved by the Board as per the applicable policies including:

Objections may be forwarded to:

Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission
Director, Inspections Branch
50 Corriveau Avenue
St. Albert, AB  T8N 3T5

Should you have any questions, please call your local inspections office.

Are poker tournaments in Alberta legal?

The AGLC, on behalf of the province, is responsible for licensing, regulating and monitoring charitable gaming activities in Alberta.

In addition to the requirements of the Criminal Code, gaming activities in Alberta must be conducted and managed in accordance with the Gaming and Liquor Act, the Gaming and Liquor Regulation and the AGLC’s Casino Terms and Conditions and Operating Guidelines.

The AGLC only licences eligible charities to conduct and manage casino events in licensed facilities. The AGLC will not licence individual poker tournaments or games to be conducted outside of licensed casino facilities. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, all forms of gambling, including poker, must comply with the specified qualifications set out in the Criminal Code. Any form of gaming that does not comply with the qualifications is illegal. Questions about whether a specific game or scheme is legal under the Criminal Code should be directed to a lawyer.

I'm interested in working for your organization. Where can I send my resume?

Please check our Employment Opportunities page. Email, fax or mail your resume to:

Human Resources
Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission
50 Corriveau Avenue
St. Albert AB  T8N 3T5

Fax: 780-447-8918
Email: hr@aglc.gov.ab.ca

Please ensure that you quote the competition number on your resume.

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