How to Open a Casino in Calgary

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How to Open a Casino in Calgary

You’ve probably heard of Calgary’s rich history. Maybe you know a bit about the city’s oil mining fields that supply fuel to all provinces and cattle ranches that feed the entire Alberta Province.

And now you want to start a business in Calgary—a casino to be precise. The good news is that gambling is legal in Alberta, and you can indeed establish a casino in the city of Calgary. In fact, you can start a gambling business that provides all these services:

  • Lotteries
  • Slot machines
  • Card Games
  • Sports Betting
  • Video Lottery Terminals
  • Horse Racing

With that in mind, below is the process of acquiring a gambling license in Calgary, Canada.

Understand Alberta’s Gambling Business Model

Provincial administrators in Alberta believe casinos shouldn’t share their profits alone. Instead, they are required to split profits with charities. As a result, nearly all casinos in the province have charity organizations.

In fact, the way Alberta’s casinos operate is through charities. That means you, as a private investor, can provide the money to open a casino. However, you give over management honors to a charity of your choice.

Acquiring your License

Alberta then provides a gambling license to your chosen charity once it receives your application form. Before you send an application to the AGLC, though, get these essential certificates and qualifiers.

  • A Certificate of Incorporation

Unlike a small betting kiosk, a casino requires a certificate of Incorporation to operate in Alberta. Of course, getting incorporated means, you need a unique name and a precise purpose for why you want to run your business.

You can register your unique casino name through a NUANs service provider. These operators reserve your business name for ninety days. If you are not incorporated by then, it can make your name available to everyone.

  • Register an Address

If you want to locate a casino in Calgary, you’ll want to register your address in the city. This is the location your corporation mails will be sent. You also need a director to represent your company, a valid ID, and pay a registration fee.

After that, you’ll receive a Certificate of Incorporation you can use to acquire a gambling license. If the process sounds tedious, it’s because it is.

  • Create Bylaws

Bylaws are rules that govern a company. In some countries, they are private documents created only after a company is incorporated. In Alberta, however, you must submit a copy of your bylaws before you can acquire a license.

Crucially, it’s essential to differentiate bylaws and terms and conditions. Bylaws are used for management. In contrast, you publish your terms and conditions to establish a contract with your customers.

  • Membership List and Financial Statements

Next up is to provide a list of executive board members for your upcoming casino. A quarter of them must be Canadian citizens by law. You also must provide telephone numbers and addresses for all of them.

On the flip side, the AGLC also asks for two years’ worth of financial documents. It helps to have experience in the business world, although that’s not compulsory. That’s because a budget plan is also required before you get licensed. And if you have experience as a business, you’ll be in a better position to create a sound plan.

  • Land Certificate or Lease Agreements

Again, these are documents you’ll need to acquire from officials in Calgary. That’s is after you make agreements with landowners.

Alberta doesn’t charge fees to apply for a gambling license. On the other hand, it takes an average of six weeks to provide a written response.

Moving Closer to a License

The entire process we described above is an eligibility test. Alberta wants to know whether you have what it takes to run a casino in the province before it provides you with one.

Truth be told, not every casino targeting Canadians goes through the entire license application process. This casino,, provides sportsbooks and casino games per Canadian rules. However, it’s licensed in Malta and the UK.

That’s because Canada’s online gambling laws do not prohibit offshore businesses from targeting its citizens. There’s a caveat, though. They can’t establish their offices in Canada.

That said, you shouldn’t be discouraged to run your casino in Calgary. If you are eligible, the next process is relatively easy. But first off, the AGLC will notify you of the following:

  • Casino Events to tell you when you should apply
  • Casino regions in Alberta
  • Approximate wait time if you did not qualify

Apply for a License

Once you provide everything the AGLC requests, next up is to make an application. You can find details about the details you need to submit in your application form on However, you can send an application through email, fax, or a snow mail.

Hiring Staff and Opening Doors

You need employees to run your casino efficiently. The AGLC recommends that you hire a significant percentage of locals. But by law, only a quarter of your board members should be citizens of Canada.

That said, you also need regular employees: dealers, security managers, accountants, and marketers, to name a few. Workers are essential members of your business, so you need to hire the best you can find.

Concerning your casino offices and betting halls, immaculate interiors and lavish VIP sections can help popularize your establishment fast. In Macau, for example, most casinos earn over half of their money from VIP players.

Of course, you also need to treat non-VIP customers accordingly by offering attractive bonuses and quality non-casino services. If you open a sportsbook, you have to provide competitive odds. Otherwise, competition might take you out of business.


Starting a small business in Calgary takes a few days. Establishing a casino, however, takes weeks or months. It’s also a tedious process that involves applying for Incorporation before you even discover if you are eligible to run a casino in Alberta.

As a result, open your casino only if you qualify. And how do you know whether you qualify? Find out what the AGLC requires and stay prepared to provide the necessary documents.

This content is a joint venture between our publication and our partner. We do not endorse any product or service in the article.

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