2014 News Archive
The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) is partnering with Students Against Drinking & Driving (SADD) Alberta to promote a holiday message from students on impaired driving.121 schools participated in the campaign which had students write or draw a message on the dangers of impaired driving onto 25,000 brown paper liquor bags. ....more.
Be good for goodness sake: don’t gift lottery products to minors - December 3, 2014
The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) is promoting a holiday message to remind all Albertans that lottery products are not appropriate gifts for minors at Christmas or any time of year.
Buying, scratching and cashing in lottery products is reserved for adults only and is considered just as much a gambling activity like playing slot machines, bingo and table games....more.
AGLC Annual Report and Charitable Gaming in Review now available. - December 2, 2014
The AGLC 2013-14 Annual Report and Charitable Gaming in Review are now available. Our Annual Report demonstrates our continued commitment to being a leader in creating progressive gaming and liquor experiences trusted and enjoyed by Albertans. As noted in the report, more than $1.4 billion from provincial gaming went to the Alberta Lottery Fund and more than $747 million went to the General Revenue Fund from liquor and licensing operations.
Additionally, the Charitable Gaming in Review provides important insight on Alberta’s charitable gaming model, defining which groups are eligible for gaming licences and how charitable gaming funds are used. As well, the Charitable Gaming in Review details the amount of revenue generated by charities from each gaming activity and how the province maintains the integrity of gaming activities. This past fiscal year, Alberta charities earned nearly $330 million through charitable gaming activities.
Class E Liquor Manufacturing Policy Review Update - December 2, 2014
In December 2013, the AGLC made a number of policy changes related to liquor manufacturing. As a result of the new policies, Alberta’s liquor manufacturing industry has seen many positive developments over the last year, including the opening of the province’s first micro-distillery. For a full update on the status of the review’s 39 recommendations, please read this report.
Awards mark five years of venues’ commitment towards safety and responsible service
St. Albert… Fifty-three Edmonton bars, clubs, pubs and lounges received Best Bar None accreditation for their commitment to high service and safety standards.
Venues that demonstrated outstanding commitment to make their nightspot a safer and fun environment were recognized at the 5th annual Best Bar None Edmonton Awards Night on November 20 at the Coast Edmonton Hotel. This year’s winners include:
- Bar/Lounge: Schanks Sports Grill
- Hotel/restaurant lounge: The Lion’s Head Pub (Radisson Edmonton South)
- Pub: Sherlock Holmes Pub (Rice Howard Way)
- Large Pub: O’Byrne’s Irish Pub
- Club: The Ranch Roadhouse
- Casino: The gaming centre at Northlands Park Racetrack and Casino
“During the past five years, the AGLC has proudly worked with industry and partners to make a positive difference to help Edmonton’s nightspots be both safe and fun,” said Bill Robinson, President and Chief Executive Officer, AGLC. “We appreciate industry’s efforts to grow Best Bar None as part of our overall mandate to create environments of responsible and safe alcohol consumption.”
“Edmonton’s nightlife is an important part of what makes our city a great place to live,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “Best Bar None is an important initiative in ensuring a positive and safe nighttime experience for citizens. I am proud of all the venues that have been recognized by Best Bar None."
“We’re proud that both of our establishments have been accredited for five straight years since Best Bar None was launched,” said David Wilk of Edmonton Hospitality Group, operators of The Druid Irish Pub and On The Rocks on Jasper Avenue. “We encourage other venues to join Best Bar None to help show patrons and the public industry’s commitment to safety, security and top-notch customer service.”
Best Bar None is an accreditation and awards program for liquor-licensed venues that aims to reduce alcohol-related problems by:
- encouraging nightspots to adopt best practices related to customer safety and responsible levels of alcohol;
- giving nightspots the tools to be better prepared for any violent incidents; and
- building positive relationships between the industry, enforcement, agencies, government and community.
Edmontonians can determine if a venue is Best Bar None accredited by a plaque and door signage on display within the premises informing patrons and area residents of their participation in the program.
Best Bar None is a partnership between the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, the City of Edmonton and Edmonton Police Service with support from the Alberta Safer Bars Council.
More than 144 kg of contraband waterpipe tobacco (shisha) and chewing tobacco, as well as a minimal number of cigars, were seized in three separate busts by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC).
The total potential lost tax revenue is estimated to be over $32,000.The contraband products were found in September and October as a result of separate investigations in Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie and Calgary. Three individuals have been charged separately with various violations under the Criminal Code and Tobacco Tax Act:
- Ebrahim Alshihabi (appeared in Fort McMurray Provincial Court on November 5, 2014);
- Timothy Trepanier (scheduled to appear in Grande Prairie Provincial Court on January 12, 2015); and
- Sikandarhaya Visram (scheduled to appear in Calgary Provincial Court December 1, 2014).
- is any tobacco product that does not comply with federal and provincial laws related to importation, marking, manufacturing, stamping and payment of duties and taxes.
- comes from four main sources: illegal manufacturers, counterfeits, tax-exempt diversions, and resale of stolen legal tobacco.
- can be recognized by the absence of a red (Alberta) or peach/light tan (Canada) stamp bearing the “DUTY PAID CANADA DROIT ACQUITTE” on packages of cigarettes or pouches of tobacco.
All wholesalers and importers of tobacco into Alberta must be licensed to sell or import tobacco for resale. In addition, all tobacco products must be labelled according to federal and provincial regulations.
Albertans who suspect illegal tobacco production, packaging and/or trafficking, are encouraged to contact the AGLC Tobacco Enforcement Unit at 1-800-577-2522.
Under a Memorandum of Understanding with Alberta Treasury Board and Finance, the AGLC enforces the Tobacco Tax Act and conducts criminal investigations of contraband smuggling. In 2013-14, provincial revenue from tobacco taxes was $922 million.
UPDATE: New stock available from Mogen David Concord wines - November 3, 2014
On September 29, 2014, Mogen David Concord wine, 750ml and 1500ml bottles, were removed from sale at all retail locations. Fresh stock is now available for liquor stores to order from Connect Logistics.
To date, no complaints or injuries related to consumption of this specific wine have been reported in Alberta. Consumers who have previously purchased this product may direct any questions or concerns to email@example.com or 1-800-344-8851.
With the tagline Thanks Alcohol!, our new public awareness campaign targets binge drinking and encourages young Albertans to think about the choices they are making with respect to drinking.
“Promoting responsible choices is a big part of the AGLC’s mandate, and we continue to work closely with industry and community partners to encourage safe and responsible consumption. Asking young adults to reflect on their drinking habits is, above all, very important for their long term health; it is also another important step in getting to a culture of moderation.”
- Bill Robinson, President and Chief Executive Officer, AGLC
To help ensure safe and responsible liquor service as well as help curb underage consumption, Albertans are reminded that it is the law in Alberta to ID anyone who looks to be under the age of 25 when buying liquor.
“Keeping liquor away from minors is important to the AGLC, to the industry, and we know it’s important to Albertans too.
Engaging Albertans as an active partner in preventing liquor sales to minors can help increase compliance with liquor laws and facilitate smoother transactions in liquor stores.
Ultimately, this is about ensuring responsible liquor service and satisfied customers.”
- Bill Robinson, President and Chief Executive Officer, AGLC
750ml and 1500ml Mogen David Concord wines pulled from retail shelves - September 29, 2014
Mogen David Concord wine, 750ml and 1500ml bottles, are being removed from sale at all retail locations because the products contain elevated levels of arsenic. Health Canada is conducting a thorough assessment to evaluate any health risks posed by the recalled product.
According to Health Canada, arsenic is a naturally occurring chemical element found in very low levels in many foods. In wines, for example, there are two main sources of arsenic:
- arsenic naturally occurring in soil that gets into the grapes; and
- arsenic contained in pesticides.
To date, no complaints or injuries related to consumption of this specific wine have been reported in Alberta. Consumers who have previously purchased this product may direct any questions or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org or
Construction was kicked off today on a new 534,000-square-foot liquor distribution centre. Building the new facility will help the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission to maintain high levels of service within Alberta’s liquor supply chain and keep costs down for the industry.
“Customer service is top of mind for the AGLC with the new liquor distribution facility. Improved operations on the supply end will mean better services to the industry. This will ensure Alberta consumers are served well too.”
- Bill Robinson, President and Chief Executive Officer
The new distribution centre will be located in St. Albert, southeast of the Apex Casino and bordered by Campbell Rd to the west, 142 St to the east, Boudreau Road to the north and Anthony Henday Drive to the south. This location was chosen due to its proximity to Anthony Henday Drive and the existing main liquor warehouse, which will be retained to support the new facility and store slow-moving products.
“Alberta’s liquor industry has experienced unprecedented growth since privatization. Building the new distribution facility makes every sense as the AGLC strives to enhance distribution services and ensure reliable access to liquor products that retailers, and consumers, expect.”
- Honourable Doug Horner, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance
“This is a very good news story for St. Albert and will be received by the industry as a signal to the region that we continue to build momentum on the road to economic prosperity.”
- Wes Brodhead, Deputy Mayor, City of St. Albert
The new distribution centre will eliminate the need for four additional warehouses currently leased in Edmonton, reducing product shuttling and increasing operating efficiencies.
The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) will allow bars, restaurants and lounges in the City of Calgary to begin liquor service at 8 a.m. during the Stampede (July 5-13). Liquor service can start at 7 a.m. on parade day (July 4).
“As part of the continuous improvements to our policies, we’re taking this opportunity to pilot more flexible liquor service hours. This will allow us to get a better sense of both the industry’s as well as the wider community’s appetite for potential changes to liquor laws we plan to look at further down the road.”
- Bill Robinson, President and Chief Executive Officer, AGLC
Previously during the Stampede, the AGLC has been granting extended service hours for private special events such as corporate breakfasts. Based on the success of these past events, the AGLC has decided to provide all Class A, B, and C licensees with an option of early liquor service as part of their regular operations during the two weeks of the Stampede.
“Restaurants Canada and our Alberta members are pleased to see that the AGLC is taking the steps in the right direction when it comes to liquor laws. It absolutely makes sense to give these extended service hours a try during a big event like the Stampede so that all of us know what works and what doesn’t when we’re looking at expanding business opportunities for bars and restaurants.”
- Mark von Schellwitz, Vice President Western Canada, Restaurants Canada
There is no requirement to apply for this particular extension. Licensees will continue to be expected to offer service in a socially responsible way to ensure the safety of their patrons.
The AGLC will evaluate this pilot in discussions with licensees, law enforcement and other liquor industry stakeholders. The feedback received will be used to inform the AGLC’s future review of Alberta’s liquor laws and policies. If a group is holding a special event, they still need to apply for a liquor licence. Hours for special events are determined on a case by case basis..
Provincial and municipal partners in Grande Prairie have teamed up to help liquor licensed premises raise operating standards through Best Bar None program.
“Best Bar None is a great opportunity for liquor licensed establishments to adopt some of the industry’s best practices and learn how to be more proactive in their operations,” says Bill Robinson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. “I encourage all eligible venues to take part in the program and show their patrons the commitment to great customer service and safety.”
At the awards ceremony, held on June 10 in Calgary, 33 bars, clubs, pubs and lounges received Best Bar None accreditation for their commitment to top service standards. The venues that went above and beyond in their commitment to make the city's nightlife both safe and fun also won trophies.
The AGLC is implementing changes to assist charitable organizations and casino advisors with extended table game hours.
In response to feedback received from charitable organizations and advisors on the impact of extended table game hours, the AGLC is moving forward with the following changes:
- Advisor fees will be amended to compensate cash cage advisors an additional $45.00/hour plus GST to assist licensed charitable organizations for each hour the table games are open longer than 14 hours/day.
- The food and refreshment allowance for volunteers working at a casino event will be increased as follows: Edmonton, St. Albert and Calgary from $925 to $1175 (GST included); and all other areas from $425 to $705 (GST included).
- An added night of accommodation and breakfast for those volunteers travelling to casino events, at least 100 kilometres from their municipality, where the table games open before noon on the first day of the event.
All changes will be effective starting July 2, 2014. The AGLC will continue to monitor the situation on extended table game hours with a review to take place by early 2015.
Read our Extended Table Game Hours Policy Update Q & A for further information on extended table game hours and the accompanying changes.
Should you need more information, please contact the AGLC at 780-447-8600 or toll free at 1-800-272-8866.
You can also view our infographic to learn more about extended table game hours.
Over the years, charities have told the AGLC that they found it challenging to submit multiple reports during the year due to administrative pressures, to even simply remembering submission due dates. As a result, many charities have asked the AGLC if it would consider having a fixed date for them to submit their financial reports.
In response, AGLC is pleased to provide a “single date mail out” for financial reporting. What this means is that charitable organizations will receive all gaming financial reports in one package with an assigned reporting end date, except for raffles less than $10,000. This change in financial reporting will make it easier for charitable organizations to send multiple reports at one time throughout the year.
These changes to financial reporting reflect the AGLC’s continued value and appreciation of the province’s charitable and religious organizations who are involved with a variety of projects in various communities throughout Alberta. The AGLC is committed to ensuring that the charitable gaming model continues to serve the best interest of Albertans and protect the charitable benefit.
For more information on the new changes in financial reporting, please refer to the Question and Answer document. Should you have any further questions, please contact Darrell Skarban, Manager, Financial Review, at 780-447-8600 or email email@example.com.
More than 1,600 kg of contraband waterpipe tobacco (shisha) and more than 400,000 contraband cigarettes, with a potential value of over $600,000 in lost tax revenue to the province, were seized in Edmonton by the AGLC.
The contraband products were found as a result of search warrants on two Edmonton area locations and vehicles this past March.
Imad Assi and Ahmed Morsy Elshebiny have been charged with several violations, including Criminal Code charges for fraud over $5,000 as well as charges under the provincial Tobacco Tax Act for possession of more than 1,000 grams of tobacco, and unlawful sale of tobacco products.
Both are scheduled to appear in Edmonton Provincial Court on May 15.
In an effort to help ensure Albertans who choose to drink are reminded that there are risks with alcohol consumption during pregnancy, the AGLC is asking its business stakeholders to help spread the message. All Class A and Class D licensees are now required to post FASD prevention signage in their premises.
“FASD affects entire communities, and the AGLC is proud to contribute in raising awareness and greater understanding of this issue. A simple reminder in liquor stores or bars will keep the message that pregnancies and alcohol don’t mix top of mind for patrons.”
- Bill Robinson, President & CEO of the AGLC
I.D. Under 25 requirement for buying lottery tickets - April 1, 2014
As of April 1, AGLC is introducing an I.D. Under 25 Years program for all lottery ticket retailers. Lottery ticket retailers must now ask for ID for anyone who appears to be under the age of 25. The ability to determine the age of young people can be difficult and using picture identification is the best way to confirm their age.
In addition to the I.D. Under 25 policy, AGLC will continue its practice of not selling any lottery products to minors (any person under the age of 18) as well as not allowing them to play or receive payment of prize money for lottery ticket or Sport Select products.
The I.D. Under 25 campaign features a poster and merchandise strip for all lottery ticket retailers.
Charges laid for stolen lottery ticket - February 27, 2014
Investigators from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) laid a charge against an individual for theft and fraud of a winning lottery ticket.
Wesley Smith, from northern Alberta, has been charged by AGLC under the Criminal Code of Canada with theft over $5,000 and fraud over $5,000. The charges stem from an AGLC investigation related to a complaint of theft of a lottery ticket and a subsequent attempt to claim the lottery win.
The AGLC would like to remind all lottery ticket players to sign the back of every ticket purchased and to check winning numbers themselves. There are many ways to check winning numbers such as scanning the ticket at a self serve ticket checker, calling the winning numbers line that appears on all tickets, calling toll-free at 1-800-665-3313, checking your local newspaper, or at wclc.com.
Maintaining the integrity of licensed gaming and liquor activities in the Province of Alberta is one of the mandates of the AGLC. The AGLC is responsible for investigating Criminal Code offences of theft and fraud involving licensed charitable gaming and provincial lotteries, offences of illegal gaming and provincial offences related to liquor and tobacco.
President of Treasury Board and Finance Minister Doug Horner, who has responsibility for the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC), has issued the following statement regarding early liquor service for the gold medal hockey game and suggestions to amend liquor legislation:
“It was important to give Albertans a chance to watch Sunday’s game together, so I was pleased the AGLC was able to accommodate this request. Allowing all licensees to begin liquor service at 5 a.m. was unprecedented for Alberta and proved to be a unique experience for everyone who took part. I know thousands of Albertans truly enjoyed the opportunity to gather in their local pubs, bars and restaurants to watch Canada win gold.
“Because this opportunity was so unprecedented, the AGLC is going to take the time to talk to its partners — including law enforcement, licensees and municipalities — to see how this unique event went. I trust they’ll use the feedback they receive to help them make informed decisions about any similar future requests.
“I had already committed to working with the AGLC and my caucus colleagues to review the Gaming and Liquor Act in the next year. Certainly the discussions that have taken place over social media over the past weekend will be taken into consideration as we develop our public consultation. I know this is a topic that gets Albertans talking.
“At the end of the day, we want to keep everyone in this province safe while ensuring that Albertans can enjoy liquor responsibly.”
AGLC President & CEO authorizes early liquor service - February 21, 2014
The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) will allow licensees to serve liquor starting at 5 a.m. Sunday, February 23 for the Olympic gold medal hockey game.
“We appreciate the outpouring of enthusiasm of Albertans who want to gather to watch the game on Sunday and will support licensees to serve liquor when the puck drops.”
- Bill Robinson, President & CEO of the AGLC
All Alberta licensed establishments are authorized. There is no requirement to apply.
Licensees will continue to be expected to offer service in a socially responsible way to ensure the safety of their patrons.
Normal closing hours on Saturday remain in effect, then reopening is permitted on Sunday at 4:30 a.m. with food service, and starting at 5 a.m responsible liquor service is allowed.
Last year, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) conducted a review of the hours of operation of table games within Alberta casinos. As part of this review, the AGLC invited 400 randomly-selected eligible charitable and religious organizations, casino operators and all casino advisors to provide input on the potential implementation of longer casino hours.
The results of the consultation indicated the majority surveyed supported extending the maximum hours of casino table games. The most frequent reasons for supporting the change was the possibility for increased revenues to charities, consistency with other gaming activities within casinos, and increased customer service and flexibility.
After reviewing the feedback received and other factors, the Board of the AGLC gave approval to allow casino facilities the option of extending casino table game operating hours to be in-line with casino slot machines. Effective April 1, 2014, casino table games will be allowed to operate a maximum of 17 consecutive hours, commencing no earlier than 10 a.m. and ending no later than 3 a.m.
Eligible charitable and religious organizations will still continue to be licensed for the conduct of casino events and supply volunteers to support the operation of casino table games. Volunteers will continue to be required on site through the full hours of table game operation and during the applicable closing procedures.
The policy change is a part of the AGLC’s mandate to build a strong and sustainable charitable gaming model. For more details on the consultation, the AGLC has posted a “What We Heard” document that summarizes the collected feedback. If you have any questions, please contact Bonnie Yaskiw, Senior Manager, Licensing at 780-447-8837 or firstname.lastname@example.org.