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COVID-19 information for Albertans

Please visit AGLC.ca/COVID19 for the latest updates – including information on in-person access to AGLC services.

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 https://alberta.ca/covid-19-public-health-actions.aspx.

 

Questions and answers

Last updated: September 23, 2021

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Gaming Venues

How do the new restrictions announced on September 15 impact gaming venues in Alberta?
Effective September 16, masking and physical distancing are mandatory in all indoor public spaces and workplaces provincewide. Employees must mask in all indoor work settings, except while alone in work stations.

Effective September 20, some businesses may choose to participate in the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) and require all patrons to produce government-issued proof of vaccination or a recent privately paid negative COVID-19 test.

Municipalities may have additional requirements set out through bylaw. Please follow all restrictions that your municipality may have in place.

If a business chooses not to require proof of vaccination, they will be required to adhere to new capacity and operating restrictions.

General information on current restrictions can be found here https://alberta.ca/covid-19-public-health-actions.aspx.

Relevant Public Health Orders (Order 43-2021) can be found here https://alberta.ca/covid-19-orders-and-legislation.aspx.

Who is eligible for the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP)?
Detailed information about the REP is available at: COVID-19 public health actions | Alberta.ca. Participating in the REP permits in-scope businesses, entities and organizers to operate without most public health restrictions as outlined in Order 43-2021. Masks are still mandatory indoors.

In general, businesses eligible to participate in the REP include:

  • Restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and nightclubs
  • Casinos, bingo halls, racing entertainment centres (REC)
  • VLT Lounges
  • Public facilities that host weddings/funerals/special events

How do businesses participate in the Restrictions Exemption Program?
Operators do not need to apply, but must follow or exceed the program requirements at all times, including requiring all patrons/attendees aged 12 and over to provide valid:

  • proof of vaccination, or
  • proof of a privately-paid negative rapid test result taken within 72 hours of service, or
  • documentation of a medical exemption

Resources are available for businesses who choose to participate in the REP.

Please visit COVID-19 public health actions | Alberta.ca for the most up-to-date information on the Restrictions Exemption Program.

Municipalities may have additional requirements set out through bylaw. Please follow all restrictions that your municipality may have in place.

Is there funding to help businesses implement the Restrictions Exemption Program?
The Government of Alberta announced a one-time $2,000 payment to small and medium-sized organizations to help offset some of the costs of implementing the REP. Organizations may use the funds as they see fit to help implement the REP.

To be eligible for the Restrictions Exemption Program Implementation Grant, an organization must be:

  • on the list of eligible in-scope operators
  • implementing the Restrictions Exemption Program consistently as part of daily operations
  • verifying proof of vaccination, negative test results or medical exemption for patrons 12 and over
  • a permanent establishment in Alberta, and
  • employing fewer than 500 employees

Organizations fitting these criteria can apply online at: Restrictions Exemption Program Implementation Grant | Alberta.ca

What are the public health restrictions for casinos, bingo halls, racing entertainment centres (REC)?
Casinos, bingo halls and RECs that implement the REP can operate as per normal, with some restrictions.

  • Patrons must wear a mask while standing, moving around or at the table, but they can remove it to eat or drink while seated or standing but not moving. 
  • Restaurants, lounges and cafés that have Class A licences within gaming facilities that implement the REP will be permitted to resume normal operations, including the resumption of liquor service until the end time on their licence. Patrons must be masked when they are not eating or drinking.

Municipalities may have additional requirements set out through bylaw. Please follow all restrictions that your municipality may have in place.

Organizations not participating in REP must comply with the following public health measures:

  • Capacity will be restricted to 1/3 fire code occupancy. 
  • Attendees must be with household members only, or two close contacts if they live alone.
  • Ensure physical distancing of 2 metres between persons who are not part of the same cohort. Alternatively, partitions can be used to protect patrons and staff where it is safe and makes sense to do so.
  • Casinos that chose not to implement the REP cannot serve food, liquor, or any beverages. However, they can choose to apply the REP at their restaurants, which would be able to operate as indicated above.
  • Bingo halls that choose not to implement the REP cannot serve food or liquor.

What are the public health restrictions for VLT retailers and lounges?
VLT retailers who choose to participate in the REP may operate as per normal, with some restrictions. 

  • Patrons must wear a mask while standing or moving around, but they can remove it to eat or drink while seated or standing but not moving.
  • Restaurants, lounges and cafés that have Class A licences that implement the REP will be permitted to resume normal operations, including the resumption of liquor service until the end time on their licence. 

Municipalities may have additional requirements set out through bylaw. Please follow all restrictions that your municipality may have in place.

Organizations not participating in REP must comply with the following public health measures:

  • Capacity will be restricted to 1/3 fire code occupancy. 
  • Attendees must be with household members only, or two close contacts if they live alone.
  • Ensure physical distancing of 2 metres between persons who are not part of the same cohort. Alternatively, partitions can be used to protect patrons and staff where it is safe and makes sense to do so.
  • Prohibited from serving food, liquor or beverages.

How will gaming venues handle patrons wearing masks?
There is a mandatory provincewide indoor masking requirement. This applies to locations where a business or entity operates and is applicable to employees, visitors, and the general public.

Patrons can temporarily drop their mask for facial recognition for security and surveillance reasons.

Are there specific hours of operation gaming venues should follow?
Gaming venues 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.

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

When can charities expect to be rescheduled for casino events?
AGLC Casino Licensing is rescheduling groups for casino events and will contact groups directly. 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.

Is there financial support for gaming venues?
There are supports for employers, for which Canada’s gaming industry is eligible. Information on federal supports for businesses can be found here

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.

 

Charitable organizations: Casino events

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

When can charities expect to be rescheduled for casino events?
AGLC Casino Licensing is rescheduling groups for casino events and will contact groups directly. 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.

Can a casino require volunteers for charitable gaming events to be vaccinated/screened for proof of vaccination?
Casinos have discretion on how to manage employees and volunteers on their premises. A casino may choose to require proof of vaccination for both employees and volunteers. If volunteer numbers are impacted and are inadequate to support operational requirements, please contact Regulatory at Inspections.mailbox@aglc.ca. AGLC will manage AGLC staff in order to ensure support to casino operations.

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.