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Important information for Albertans

AGLC is taking the COVID-19 coronavirus matter seriously. Please visit AGLC.ca/COVID19 for the latest updates.

COVID-19 Gaming Q & A

While not exhaustive, AGLC has prepared the Questions & Answers below to answer many of the questions that you or your organization may have related to COVID-19.

If you belong to a charitable organization and have additional questions, please contact:

If you are calling on behalf of a casino facility, racing entertainment centre, bingo hall or VLT retailer and have any additional questions, please follow up with your usual Gaming and Regulatory Services associates or contact the AGLC Hotline at 1.800.561.4415 or HotlineRequests@aglc.ca.

For all other inquiries, please call 1-800-272-8876 or submit your questions at aglc.ca/contact-us

Please refer to Alberta Health guidance found at Alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.

 

Questions and answers

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Gaming and charitable gaming for the general public

Are gaming venues open in Alberta?
On May 26, 2021, the Alberta government announced a three-stage roadmap, Alberta's Open for Summer Plan, that outlines how restrictions will ease while protecting the health-care system and increasing vaccination rates in the province.

Starting June 10, 2021, gaming facilities (casinos, bingo halls, gaming and racing entertainment centres and horse tracks) may reopen in Alberta at one-third capacity, as part of Step 2 in Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan. Licensed premises (bars, lounges, etc.) with VLTs may also reopen.

A mandatory provincewide indoor masking requirement and distancing requirements remain in place.
More information on sector guidelines can be found at Alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.

Can restaurants and lounges in Alberta gaming venues offer liquor and food service?
Starting June 10, 2021, restaurants, lounges and cafés that have Class A licences within gaming facilities may reopen for indoor and outdoor dining.

  • Up to a maximum of six people per table.
  • Restaurants, lounges and cafés must collect the contact information of one person from the dining party.
  • Tables and dining parties must be two metres apart or separated by an impermeable barrier that will prevent droplet transmission.
  • No entertainment allowed (e.g., pool tables, live music, etc.).
  • Liquor service ends at 11 p.m.; in-person dining must close by midnight.
  • Takeout, curbside pickup and delivery services are permitted.

Will patrons be able to play slots, electronic table games, VLTs and bingo?
Yes. AGLC will work with casinos, VLT venues and bingo halls to ensure casino slots, electronic table games, traditional table games and VLTs meet proper physical distancing and sanitizing requirements.

Will patrons be able to play traditional table games?
Yes. Table games will resume in Step 2 of Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan, starting June 10, 2021.

How will gaming venues handle patrons wearing masks?
When a patron wears a facemask within a casino or racing entertainment centre, staff will arrange for camera footage/surveillance to comply with security and self-exclusion requirements. This also applies to VLT venues with more than 15 VLTs for security reasons.

Patrons are allowed to temporarily drop their mask for facial recognition for security and surveillance reasons.

Are there specific hours of operation gaming venues should follow?
Gaming venues (casinos, bingo halls, gaming and racing entertainment centres and horse tracks) have the flexibility to decide if they will re-establish their full operating hours or reduce their hours. Check the venue’s website for their hours of operation. Licensed premises (bars, lounges, etc.) with VLTs must close by midnight.

How do I make a complaint about a licensed premises that is not adhering to provincial health directives?
AGLC continues to work with all licensed venues and asks all owners/operators to comply with public health guidance from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health on the new restrictions. Venues that contravene public health directives risk immediate suspension of their licence.

Complaints can be submitted by email at Inspections.Mailbox@aglc.ca. Please be sure to include the premises operating name and address, including town, along with the details of your complaint.

Who will enforce these rules?
Temporary authority to enforce public health orders, including those impacting retail and food and beverage services (restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges, cafés) remain in effect for enforcement partners, including AGLC.

When will charitable casino events resume?
Charitable casino events will resume once most casino facilities and table games reopen on June 10, 2021. Please check the venue’s website for their hours of operation.

When can charities expect casino events to be rescheduled?
AGLC continues to work with charities and communicate updates as they become available. To accommodate all charities, it will take AGLC staff some time to reschedule casino events. Casino event inquiries may be directed to Licensing.Casino@aglc.ca.

Proceeds from events in June 2021 will be included as part of the charity pool proceeds for the next quarter (July to September 2021). There will be one pooling period from June 10 through to October 1, 2021.

What conditions will gaming venues need to meet as part of the new measures? 
Casinos, racing entertainment centres, gaming entertainment centres and bingo halls are required to limit capacity to one-third (33 per cent) of occupancy as set under the Alberta Fire Code and adhere to public health guidelines: Alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.

Is there financial support for charities?
AGLC recognizes the significant financial impact the closures have on Alberta’s charities. As the gaming regulator, AGLC is not in a position to offer stimulus; however, AGLC will continue to share information we have about available programs.

Casinos and Racing Entertainment Centres

Are gaming venues open in Alberta?
On May 26, 2021, the Alberta government announced a three-stage roadmap, Alberta's Open for Summer Plan, that outlines how restrictions will ease while protecting the health-care system and increasing vaccination rates in the province.

Starting June 10, 2021, gaming facilities (casinos, bingo halls, gaming and racing entertainment centres and horse tracks) may reopen in Alberta at one-third capacity, as part of Step 2 in Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan. Licensed premises (bars, lounges, etc.) with VLTs may also reopen.

A mandatory provincewide indoor masking requirement and distancing requirements remain in place.

More information on sector guidelines can be found at Alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.

Can restaurants and lounges in Alberta gaming venues offer liquor and food service?
Starting June 10, 2021, restaurants, lounges and cafés that have Class A licences within gaming facilities may reopen for indoor and outdoor dining.

  • Up to a maximum of six people per table.
  • Restaurants, lounges and cafés must collect the contact information of one person from the dining party.
  • Tables and dining parties must be two metres apart or separated by an impermeable barrier that will prevent droplet transmission.
  • No entertainment allowed (e.g., pool tables, live music, etc.).
  • Liquor service ends at 11 p.m.; in-person dining must close by midnight.
  • Takeout, curbside pickup and delivery services are permitted.

Will patrons be able to play casino slots and VLTs?
Yes. To ensure proper physical distancing, AGLC will work with each casino and racing entertainment centre to make casino slots and VLTs available every two metres (six feet), unless separated by a physical barrier. Working within each floor configuration, the team will aim to strategically make the most popular casino slots and VLTs available.

For the safety of patrons and staff, the remaining units will remain disabled and operators will remove all chairs at unavailable devices unless separated by a physical barrier.

Operators are responsible for cleaning all AGLC owned and leased devices with AGLC approved cleaners.

Will patrons be able to play electronic table games (ETGs)?
Yes. Facilities with ETGs (electronic roulette, e-baccarat, e-blackjack, e-craps and e-sic bo) will follow the same physical distancing requirements as casino slots and VLTs. AGLC worked with each facility to ensure available seats are spaced every two metres (six feet), unless separated by a physical barrier

Will patrons be able to play traditional table games?
Yes. Table games will resume in Step 2 of Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan, starting June 10, 2021.

When will charitable casino events resume?
Charitable casino events will resume once most casino facilities and table games reopen on June 10, 2021. Please check the venue’s website for their hours of operation.

When can charities expect casino events to be rescheduled?
AGLC will continue to work with charities and communicate updates as they become available. To accommodate all charities, it will take AGLC staff some time to reschedule casino events. Casino event inquiries may be directed to Licensing.Casino@aglc.ca.

Proceeds from events in June 2021 will be included as part of the charity pool proceeds for the next quarter (July to September 2021). There will be one pooling period from June 10 through to October 1, 2021.

What conditions will gaming venues need to meet as part of the new measures? 
Casinos, racing entertainment centres, gaming entertainment centres, and bingo halls are required to limit capacity to one-third (33 per cent) of occupancy as set under the Alberta Fire Code and adhere to public health guidelines: Alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.

How should gaming venues handle patrons wearing masks?
When a patron enters a facility wearing a mask, security will immediately arrange for surveillance to obtain full facial coverage of the patron with and without the mask, as well as full body coverage of the patron.

If operators provide masks to patrons at any time while inside the facility, a supervisor or security will arrange for surveillance to obtain full facial coverage of the patron with and without the mask, as well as full body coverage of the patron.

Patrons wearing masks will be required to remove their mask for confirmation of identification when required to provide ID for AML/FINTRAC transactional reporting and/or confirming the patrons identity at tables and all cash/slot cages, as well as when checking for patrons enrolled in the self-exclusion program.

Are there specific hours of operation my gaming venue should follow?
Operators have the flexibility to decide if they will re-establish their full operating hours (Monday to Sunday, between 10 a.m. and 3 a.m.) or reduce operating hours. 

Will casinos have the option to adjust handpays?
The handpay thresholds will remain the same as they were before the closure (except for two exceptions, bolded below). These thresholds were developed for the safety of casinos/RECs (including workers, volunteers, patrons and the general public) in reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

  • 1 cent to $1 slot machines set to $2,500;
  • $5 slot machines set to $2,999; except IGT slot machines now set to $5,000;
  • $25 slot machines set at $9,999.99; and
  • Electronic Table Games set at $5,000; except SciGames Quartz Hybrid now set to $2,999

This is a temporary measure for the safety of patrons and staff. AGLC will continue to evaluate when it’s appropriate to return handpay values to their previous levels.

Is there financial support for gaming venues?
We recognize the impact this mandatory closure may have on businesses and their employees. As the gaming regulator, AGLC is not in a position to offer compensation; there are online resources to provincial and federal supports for employers, for which Canada’s gaming industry is eligible:   

  • Provincial supports for businesses
  • Federal supports for businesses: the 2021 federal budget outlines a $12 billion plan to extend key COVID-19 business programs and supports, including:
    • federal wage and rent subsidies and lockdown supports, originally set to expire in June, will now be available through September.
    • extending the EI sickness benefit from 15 to 26 weeks.
    • extending wage and rent subsidies until September 25, 2021, with potential to extend until November 20, 2021.

How do I make a complaint about a licensed premises that is not adhering to provincial health directives?
AGLC continues to work with all licensed venues and asks all owners/operators to comply with public health guidance from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health on the new restrictions. Venues that contravene public health directives risk immediate suspension of their licence.

Complaints may be submitted by email at Inspections.Mailbox@aglc.ca. Please be sure to include the facility operating name and address, including town, along with the details of your complaint.
 
Who will enforce these rules?
Temporary authority to enforce public health orders, including those impacting retail and food and beverage services (restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges, cafés) remain in effect for enforcement partners, including AGLC.
 

Bingo halls

Are gaming venues open in Alberta?
On May 26, 2021, the Alberta government announced a three-stage roadmap, Alberta's Open for Summer Plan, that outlines how restrictions will ease while protecting the health-care system and increasing vaccination rates in the province.

Starting June 10, 2021, gaming facilities (casinos, bingo halls, gaming and racing entertainment centres and horse tracks) may reopen in Alberta at one-third capacity, as part of Step 2 in Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan. Licensed premises (bars, lounges, etc.) with VLTs may also reopen.

A mandatory provincewide indoor masking requirement and distancing requirements remain in place.

More information on sector guidelines can be found at Alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.

Can restaurants and lounges in Alberta gaming venues offer liquor and food service?
Starting June 10, 2021, restaurants, lounges and cafés that have Class A licences within gaming facilities may reopen for indoor and outdoor dining.

  • Up to a maximum of six people per table.
  • Restaurants, lounges and cafés must collect the contact information of one person from the dining party.
  • Tables and dining parties must be two metres apart or separated by an impermeable barrier that will prevent droplet transmission.
  • No entertainment allowed (e.g., pool tables, live music, etc.).
  • Liquor service ends at 11 p.m.; in-person dining must close by midnight.
  • Takeout, curbside pickup and delivery services are permitted.

Can bingo halls offer remote participation for bingo events?
Yes. Streaming through YouTube, bingo halls are able to conduct real-time online bingo events. Players are able to pre-order and purchase their bingo cards by phone or in-person, and cards will be available for pick up at the hall.

Bingo operators interested in hosting media bingo events should contact AGLC’s Compliance Branch and use the standard rules of play developed between Bingo Alberta and AGLC’s Regulatory Services Division.

Is there a specific number of events a bingo hall needs to offer?
At the discretion of the bingo association, bingo halls have the flexibility to decide if they will 
re-establish their full operating hours or reduce operating hours. If hours of operation, days of operation or the number of events held in a week changes, please notify AGLC by email at Inspections.Mailbox@aglc.ca.

Is there financial support for gaming venues?
We recognize the impact this mandatory closure may have on businesses and their employees. As the gaming regulator, AGLC is not in a position to offer compensation; there are online resources to provincial and federal supports for employers, for which Canada’s gaming industry is eligible:   

  • Provincial supports for businesses
  • Federal supports for businesses: the 2021 federal budget outlines a $12 billion plan to extend key COVID-19 business programs and supports, including:
    • federal wage and rent subsidies and lockdown supports, originally set to expire in June, will now be available through September.
    • extending the EI sickness benefit from 15 to 26 weeks.
    • extending wage and rent subsidies until September 25, 2021, with potential to extend until November 20, 2021.

How do I make a complaint about a licensed premises that is not adhering to provincial health directives?
AGLC continues to work with all licensed venues and asks all owners/operators to comply with public health guidance from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health on the new restrictions. Venues that contravene public health directives risk immediate suspension of their licence. 

Complaints may be submitted by email at Inspections.Mailbox@aglc.ca. Please be sure to include the facility operating name and address, including town, along with the details of your complaint.

 Who will enforce these rules?
Temporary authority to enforce public health orders, including those impacting retail and food and beverage services (restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges, cafés) remain in effect for enforcement partners, including AGLC.
 

VLT retailers

Are gaming venues open in Alberta?
On May 26, 2021, the Alberta government announced a three-stage roadmap, Alberta's Open for Summer Plan, that outlines how restrictions will ease while protecting the health-care system and increasing vaccination rates in the province.

Starting June 10, 2021, gaming facilities (casinos, bingo halls, gaming and racing entertainment centres and horse tracks) may reopen in Alberta at one-third capacity, as part of Step 2 in Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan. Licensed premises (bars, lounges, etc.) with VLTs may also reopen.

A mandatory provincewide indoor masking requirement and distancing requirements remain in place.

More information on sector guidelines can be found at Alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.

Can restaurants and lounges offer liquor and food service?
Starting June 10, 2021, restaurants, lounges and cafés may reopen for indoor and outdoor dining.

  • Up to a maximum of six people per table.
  • Restaurants, lounges and cafés must collect the contact information of one person from the dining party.
  • Tables and dining parties must be two metres apart or separated by an impermeable barrier that will prevent droplet transmission.
  • No entertainment allowed (e.g., pool tables, live music, etc.).
  • Liquor service ends at 11 p.m.; in-person dining must close by midnight.
  • Takeout, curbside pickup and delivery services are permitted.

Will patrons be able to play VLTs?
Yes. To ensure proper physical distancing, AGLC worked with each VLT retailer to make VLTs available only every two metres (six feet) or separate them by a physical barrier supplied by the retailer. Working within each floor configuration, the team aimed to strategically make the most popular VLTs available where possible.

For the safety of patrons and staff, the remaining units will remain disabled. VLT retailers are asked to remove all chairs at unavailable devices to meet physical distance requirements, unless separated by a physical barrier.

Can retailers install barriers between VLTs and have them all enabled?
Retailers can install dividers between VLTs, but they cannot be connected to or impact the integrity of the VLTs themselves or the bases/spacers and cannot obstruct the view of the front of the VLTs by the staff or cameras. The costs of these installations will be the responsibility of the VLT retailer.

For locations with 15 or more VLTs, please contact AGLC’s Investigations Branch at Investigators.Mailbox@aglc.ca to confirm any planned barrier installations will not interfere with camera coverage. 

Can retailers move VLTs to meet physical distance requirements?
AGLC is required to move any equipment, such as VLTs. AGLC will do its best to accommodate retailer requests to move VLTs two metres (six feet) apart. AGLC’s timing is based on resource availability. Retailers can contact their respective key account coordinator for more information.

Are there specific hours of operation VLT retailers need to follow?
Liquor service must end by 11 p.m. In-person dining must close by midnight.

Is there financial support for gaming venues?
We recognize the impact this mandatory closure may have on businesses and their employees. As the gaming regulator, AGLC is not in a position to offer compensation; there are online resources to provincial and federal supports for employers, for which Canada’s gaming industry is eligible:   

  • Provincial supports for businesses
  • Federal supports for businesses: the 2021 federal budget outlines a $12 billion plan to extend key COVID-19 business programs and supports, including:
    • federal wage and rent subsidies and lockdown supports, originally set to expire in June, will now be available through September.
    • extending the EI sickness benefit from 15 to 26 weeks.
    • extending wage and rent subsidies until September 25, 2021, with potential to extend until November 20, 2021.

How do I make a complaint about a licensed premises that is not adhering to provincial health directives?
AGLC continues to work with all licensed venues and asks all owners/operators to comply with public health guidance from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health on the new restrictions. Venues that contravene public health measures risk immediate suspension of their licence.

Complaints can be submitted by email at Inspections.Mailbox@aglc.ca. Please be sure to include the premises operating name and address, including town, along with the details of your complaint.

For any questions, please contact Hotline at 1.800.561.4415 or HotlineRequests@aglc.ca.

Who will enforce these rules?
Temporary authority to enforce public health orders, including those impacting retail and food and beverage services (restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges, cafés) remain in effect for enforcement partners, including AGLC.
 

Charitable organizations: Casino events

When will charitable casino events resume?
Charitable casino events will resume once most casino facilities and table games reopen on June 10, 2021. Please check the venue’s website for their hours of operation.

When can charities expect casino events to be rescheduled?
AGLC will continue to work with charities and communicate updates as they become available. To accommodate all charities, it will take AGLC staff some time to reschedule casino events. Casino event inquiries may be directed to Licensing.Casino@aglc.ca.

Proceeds from events in June 2021 will be included as part of the charity pool proceeds for the next quarter (July to September 2021). There will be one pooling period from June 10 through to October 1, 2021.

What conditions will gaming venues need to meet as part of the new measures?
Casinos, racing entertainment centres, gaming entertainment centres, VLT venues and bingo halls are required to limit capacity to one-third (33 per cent) of occupancy as set under the Alberta Fire Code and adhere to public health guidelines: Alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.

Is there financial support for charities?
AGLC recognizes the significant financial impact the closures have on Alberta’s charities. As the gaming regulator, AGLC is not in a position to offer stimulus; however, AGLC will continue to share information we have about available programs.
 

Charitable organizations: Use of proceeds

How are charitable gaming proceeds eligible to be used? 
Charitable proceeds are intended for eligible charitable purposes. AGLC works directly with charitable groups to support charitable program delivery. The Charitable Gaming Policies Handbook includes a wide range of eligible purposes for use in direct charitable program delivery, such as equipment, donations, emergencies, travel, wages, etc.

Are there any changes to how charitable gaming proceeds may be used during the COVID-19 crisis?
AGLC recognizes that charitable groups may need expanded use of proceeds temporarily in order to maintain key charitable programs while addressing impacts of the crisis. The following uses are eligible without the requirement for prior approval normally required for these requests: 

  • Facility: groups that normally use a maximum 50 per cent use from gaming proceeds may use 100 per cent for operating expenses.
  • Wages/Salaries: groups may use gaming proceeds for any positions that provide charitable or administrative services, even if the group is not able to carry out normal operations during the crisis.
  • Charities may use gaming proceeds to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) to their members for gaming events; however, prior to purchasing PPE, charities should contact their respective bingo or casino facility to determine what equipment may be made available to them.
  • Emergency Assistance: groups may use gaming proceeds to assist members or individuals who are facing serious circumstances. 
  • Donations: groups may use gaming proceeds for donations to other licensed groups or non-licensed groups to assist with charitable purposes. If the donation is made outside Alberta or Canada, AGLC staff are available to provide prior approval upon submission of the Request to Donate Proceeds Outside Alberta along with the Statutory Declaration and Recipient Agreement forms. 
  • Canadian Red Cross: groups may use gaming proceeds for emergency purposes relating to COVID-19 anywhere in the world if the proceeds are provided directly to the Canadian Red Cross.
  • Aid of the Distressed: groups may use gaming proceeds for programs and services that address issues of social concern such as poverty, mental or physical illness, or disability. 
  • Case by case: upon request, gaming proceeds may be considered for other uses not included above. Inquiries may be directed to Gaming.UseofProceeds@aglc.ca with the subject line: COVID-19 UOP Request. AGLC staff are operating remotely and responses to requests may be delayed. We thank you in advance for your patience.
     

Charitable organizations: Raffles

Can our group have an online raffle?
Only eligible organizations currently registered with AGLC may obtain a raffle licence. More information can be found here.

Can we conduct the draw if there are no members of the public available to witness the draw?
Yes.  If members of the public are unavailable to attend a draw, or if the draw cannot be conducted in a public space, groups may still conduct the draw(s) with these requirements: video and voice record the draw (using a cell phone is acceptable), and document the names and contact information of the individuals present. Prior approval is not required.

Can our group cancel its raffle or extend the draw date(s)?
A group may cancel its raffle or extend its draw date by completing the Raffle Amendments Draw Date Extension Request or Changes form and submitting it to AGLC at Gaming.Licensing@aglc.ca.