COVID-19 information for Albertans
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For nearly 25 years, AGLC has been recognized as a regulatory leader in Alberta’s gaming, liquor and now cannabis industries. AGLC continues to seek stakeholder feedback and implement improvements to ensure policies are meeting industry’s needs.
AGLC’s continued dedication to reviewing and updating policies demonstrates our deep commitment to a modern regulatory environment that supports consumer choice, innovation and economic growth. See below for a list of AGLC’s modernization achievements over recent years.
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AGLC has streamlined the Liquor Agency Handbook to ease regulatory requirements for Alberta’s liquor industry.
AGLC has amended the Retail Liquor Store Handbook to provide guidelines to liquor stores on additional security measures that can be used to reduce retail thefts.
The General Merchandise Liquor Store Handbook has been dissolved and relevant policies have been transferred to the Retail Liquor Store Handbook to streamline information and provide licensees with efficient regulation.
Liquor licensees are no longer required to dispose of any unsold batches of pre-mixed drink products from slush or drink machines at the end of each day.
AGLC has streamlined, modernized and removed policies in the Casino Terms & Conditions and Operating Guidelines and Racing Entertainment Centre Terms & Conditions and Operating Guidelines.
AGLC has streamlined, modernized and removed policies in the Liquor Licensee Handbook to ease current regulatory requirements for liquor licensees. These amendments reflect AGLC’s ongoing commitment to ensure a balanced regulatory environment that promotes responsible consumption with consumer choice, innovation and economic growth.
Class A liquor licensees may now sell the same variety of mixed drinks available on their in-house menu for delivery and consumption off-premises. This policy amendment expands the opportunity for licensees to generate additional revenue and provides customers with more selection. To ensure products are delivered in a socially responsible manner, drivers are required to have ProServe certification and verify the customer’s age.
To address licensee challenges related to COVID-19 that include the limited ability for licensees to engage with customers (e.g., in-store tastings), retail liquor licensees now have the ability to provide off-premises liquor tastings through online “virtual” tastings.
Recent amendments to the Commercial Bingo Handbook will provide licenced charities with eased regulations and additional flexibility. The amendments include:
These changes also include the removal of duplicate or redundant policies from several subsections.
Following recent amendments to the Liquor Agency Handbook, liquor agency registration applicants are no longer required to submit business plans with their application for registration. Updating policy by removing this requirement reduces administrative burden and expedites the licensing process and potentially saves costs for applicants.
To support additional promotional opportunities for liquor manufacturers and agencies, amended policy now enables complimentary sealed liquor samples for consumption at home. Consumers can be provided only:
In conjunction with AGLC’s commitment to social responsibility, provisions for staff training, municipal approval, serving size regulations, as well as a single sample limit and specific rules around consuming samples are outlined as part of this policy.
AGLC has amended policy to accommodate Class E licensees (manufacturers) to store finished product off-site from the manufacturing facility. This amendment will assist liquor manufacturers in operating more efficiently and provide additional capacity to store finished goods. Off-site storage must be secure, located in Alberta and authorized by AGLC inspectors.
Following a consultation with police services across Alberta, AGLC simplified licensing processes for limousines and large format bikes. Through this process, AGLC heard that paper liquor licences are sufficient and that liquor licence identifier decals are no longer required for licensed vehicles.
Permanent or seasonal farmers’ and artisan markets are now eligible for liquor licensing, within a defined liquor service area.
Hotel operators that wish to offer unique liquor service experiences to their guests as an enhancement to their hotel stays may now provide complimentary alcoholic beverages for hotel guests and all-inclusive hotel packages. Amendments create new business opportunities for the industry, as it emerges from the challenging circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and weakened economy, and reduces red tape.
Liquor policy has been updated to accommodate liquor consumption on bus tours for a set time specified on the licence. Although special event licence bus tours are not available for pub crawls, providing more flexibility in liquor consumption time for special event licensed bus tours, and clarifying the definition of pub crawls, increases business opportunities, while ensuring social responsibility.
Standardizing and consolidating gaming policy will expand business opportunities and enable greater flexibility for casino operators that offer table game progressive jackpots.
AGLC has worked closely with the Government of Alberta in support of the following amendments to the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Regulation, effective July 15, 2020:
To be responsive to the needs of casinos and racing entertainment centres, AGLC has updated IT control standards requirements by streamlining administrative processes, while also reducing some financial pressures.
Charities have more flexibility and expanded fundraising opportunities using a random number generator for bearer ticket raffles (50/50) with a total ticket value of $100,000 or more. Allowing online raffle sales to adults outside of the entertainment venue (within Alberta) will provide opportunities for people who are not at the event to purchase tickets.
Liquor licensees have expanded opportunity to sell liquor on patios that are not attached to licensed premises.
Following a comprehensive policy review and stakeholder consultation, charitable organizations now have greater opportunities to fundraise through raffles. Highlights include: expanding the scope of accepted forms of advertising for charities conducting raffle events; executive members may now delegate a representative to attend raffle draws on their behalf; and the roles and responsibilities of raffle ticket managers are now included in more detail to provide more transparency for licensees.
Alberta estate manufacturers have greater flexibility in their businesses by using up to 75% of agricultural inputs from other Alberta growers, while maintaining their estate manufacturer designation when their production of agriculture inputs is challenged.
To ensure the integrity of Alberta’s non-medical cannabis sector, updated cannabis product delivery and return policy enhances security protocol and increases accountability. The master case system will reduce potential security risks to product during transportation, make delivery easier for licensees and reduce the risk of robbery and crimes of opportunity.
AGLC eliminated the eight-page Separation of Business document to speed up the retail cannabis and liquor licensing application process.
All liquor licensees that conduct their own liquor tastings, independent of a liquor agency, may charge customers a fee that is no longer restricted to cost recovery. In addition, licensees are no longer required to keep records of the tastings they conduct on their own.
AGLC policies in the Casino Terms and Conditions and Operating Guidelines (CTCOG) and Racing Entertainment Centre Terms and Conditions Operating Guidelines (RECTOG) have been updated to provide industry stakeholders with increased flexibility and efficiency in running their operations, including: removing the requirement to be approved as a gaming service provider in order to assist a facility licensee with promoting events such as poker tournaments; streamlining processes and operations respecting access to restricted areas in a licensed facility; and removing redundant policies, allowing facility licensees to establish house rules for multi‐square play (as applicable) and increase betting limits (as applicable) for various table games.
To streamline the approval process for liquor and cannabis licensing applicants, AGLC reduced the period to consider objections to the application for a liquor or cannabis licence from 21 days to seven days. Municipal processes such as development, zoning and business licensing continue to be an important part of ensuring communities’ interests are addressed.
AGLC made several policy changes to help Alberta’s liquor manufacturers, including: removing the need to use raw materials in the production of liquor products; eliminating the maximum 20 per cent of blended or flavoured liquor products; clarifying contracting policies, including adding a provision to accommodate contractors’ distribution of contractees’ product; using litres of absolute alcohol to describe the size of a distiller to align with industry practices; and expanding the definition of alcohol to include kombucha.
Cannabis products may be sold to another licensee in the event of a permanent closure and products may be transferred between stores that are owned by the same entity.
Class A licensees are permitted to sell liquor for off-site consumption. Liquor may be sold through take-out or delivery from licensed establishments with or without the purchase of food.
AGLC reviewed and amended entertainment policies to remove restrictions on the types of authorized entertainment, and support patron and venue staff safety in licensed premises.
AGLC launched the Liquor Sales Application (LSA), a web-based portal for manufacturers to enter or transmit and validate their sales transactions. This portal helps industry provide sales submissions through a new, easy to use, online tool.
Amendments to the Casino Terms and Conditions and Operating Guidelines (CTCOG) and Racing Entertainment Centre Terms and Conditions Operating Guidelines (RECTOG) created many positive changes for casinos and racing entertainment centres. Casino facility licensees have more flexibility on staff uniforms, are able to host table tournaments without prior AGLC approval, have more latitude in the design and layout of their facility and have more flexibility in conducting poker games.
AGLC created the opportunity for licensees of retail liquor and cannabis outlets and minors-prohibited establishments to open on Christmas Day. With this policy amendment, licensees can make business decisions that best support their business and their consumers’ interests.
Domestic breweries are able to use any authorized beer warehouse to store and distribute their products, not just the central warehouse privately operated by Connect Logistics.
AGLC has reduced requirements related to Class D liquor delivery service records. Previously, licensees were required to record information when liquor deliveries were made to individuals who appeared under 25 years old, and they were required to complete Delivery Order Slips listing required information for each order and keep the slip for at least one year.
More opportunity for the types of businesses that can apply for a Class B licence, including, but not limited to, spas, salons, barbershops, funeral homes, speciality boutique stores and repair shops.
AGLC approved liquor service and consumption under a Class B Public Conveyance licence for companies that operate large format party bikes.
AGLC announced Connect Logistics Services (CLS) as the successful proponent following an open procurement for a private-sector operator for the province’s liquor warehousing and distribution network. The new contract, signed with CLS, will drive better value for industry while maintaining high levels of service.
Changes to the CTCOG and RECTOG provided more flexibility to licensees and removed unnecessary requirements. Game managers no longer have to work opening and closing shifts and licensees have more flexibility in optimizing the table mix on the gaming floor to better meet player demand.
Eligibility for a small brewer markup rate was expanded to small liquor manufacturers with an Annual Worldwide Production (AWP) of up to 400,000 hL or less of beer.
Expanded payment options for charities to include credit card, debit card, bank draft, preauthorized debit or electronic fund transfer in addition to cheques when making payments for approved uses of proceeds.
A new section was added to the Liquor Licensee Handbook to provide hotel operators the option of site-wide licensing. Where a site-wide licence is in effect, patrons are able to take open liquor beverages from a licensed premises in, and operated by, the hotel to their room or another licensed area within the hotel.
AGLC listened to stakeholders and accommodated entry fees for slot tournaments in casinos and racing entertainment centres. This opportunity yields a larger prize pool for players.
Further to the amendments made in March 2019, AGLC continued to streamline special event licence policies, clarifying acceptable licensed areas for public resale (including the facts that a high fence and/or a segregated “beer garden” are not requirements).
Simplified the safety programs process relating to Host First Nations (HFN) policies. Written support from RCMP or police services is no longer required for on-reserve community safety programs. In addition, HFN casinos are now able to use proceeds to cost-recover fundraising activities.
AGLC provided opportunities for small liquor manufacturers to sell their products at a wider range of artisan markets.
Amended policy to accommodate cash deposits for lottery and VLT retailers. Previously, lottery and VLT retailers were required to provide an irrevocable letters of credit to establish financial security.
AGLC conducted a consultation with stakeholders, focusing on reviewing and modernizing special event licence policies. As a result, AGLC simplified food requirements and security policy requirements and clarified public resale SEL requirements. Now, some public events previously deemed ineligible for a public resale SEL can receive a licence.
In consultation with casino advisors, AGLC performed a compensation review and changed policy to increase the maximum amount paid for casino advisor wages.
Implemented a small brewer markup to support small liquor manufacturers. Small liquor manufacturers with an Annual Worldwide Production (AWP) of 50,000 hL or less of beer are eligible to apply for a reduced markup program.
Clarified policy related to “aid of the distressed” to increase opportunities for charitable organizations to utilise gaming proceeds to bring aid to the distressed.
Increased the total ticket value for small raffles from $10,000 to $20,000, creating more opportunity for charitable groups to fundraise.
Reduced bingo event licence fees and pull-ticket licence fees.
Created a licence class supporting Ferment on Premises opportunities for customers to make their own beer, wine and ciders on-site within licensed facilities (also known as U-Brew / U-Vin).
Amended policy to provide opportunities for liquor manufacturers to infuse liquor with flavouring agents like herbs, spices and fruit to create specialty drinks and cocktails.
AGLC finalized construction on a new liquor distribution centre to meet the needs of the industry and provide more efficient services. Efficient liquor supply and distribution protects the province’s annual revenue flow of more than $850 million that is used to support programs and services that benefit all Albertans.
Clarified policy related to contract and collaboration manufacturing based on stakeholder input and made adjustments to create business opportunities for liquor licensees.
Improved the process used by retail liquor stores to make claims related to faulty products.
AGLC eliminated lease fees in the net sales calculation for leased slot machines, which increased revenue for casinos, racing entertainment centres and charities.
The liquor tasting policy was amended to provide opportunities for liquor licensees to charge customers for cost recovery on items such as the liquor product, complimentary food items and staffing costs during liquor tastings.
Amended the percentage of gaming proceeds that groups could use to pay for facilities, where the need was identified.
Liquor licensing in spas, salons and barbershops created an opportunity to enhance licensees’ customers’ esthetic experience.