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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.

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Voluntary cannabis product recalls

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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 Venues

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 outlined how restrictions eased while protecting the health-care system and increasing vaccination rates in the province.

Starting July 1, 2021, Alberta will enter Stage 3 in Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan:

  • All restrictions lifted*, including ban on indoor social gatherings.
  • Isolation requirements for confirmed cases of COVID-19 and some protective measures in continuing care settings remain.
  • The general indoor provincial mask mandate will be lifted, but masking may still be required in limited and specific settings.

*Please follow restrictions that your municipality may have in place.

All gaming facilities (casinos, bingo halls, gaming and racing entertainment centres, horse tracks and VLT retailers) and licensed premises may lift restrictions on masking, capacity and distancing at their discretion.

Restaurants, lounges and cafés that have Class A licences within gaming facilities may lift restrictions on masking, capacity, distancing, barriers and entertainment (e.g., pool tables, live music, etc.) at their discretion.

Licensees must comply with AGLC liquor and gaming policies.

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

How will gaming venues handle patrons wearing masks?
Mask wearing is at the discretion of the individual property after July 1. If 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 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.

Will casinos have the option to adjust handpays?
Handpay levels will remain as they have been since June 2020. However, AGLC is looking at offering an alternate set of lower thresholds and will be seeking industry feedback. Please watch for a brief survey in the coming days.

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.

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 casino events to be rescheduled?
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.
 

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.