Loto-Quebec's Plans Shadowed By Legal Dispute

Publish: 10.01.2018

Loto-Quebec, the provincial crown corporation has ambitious plans for the future, which reveal the Montreal-based company intends to keep its market positions by restricting access to foreign-licensed gambling sites.

Quebec’s gambling monopoly wishes to double its current gambling revenue of 1.9% by 2020. This was revealed along with the latest annual report, published last week.

The report also showed Loto-Quebec-owned and operated Espacejeux.com website recorded a year-on-year revenue increase of around 30% or C$85.9 million.

Controversial Bill

To achieve such growth, Loto-Quebec will rely on the controversial Bill 74, adopted earlier this year. According to this piece of legislature, internet providers will be required to block the domains of internationally licensed online gambling sites.

If the provincial government follows through on its plans, Loto-Quebec will have a good starting point for achieving the set goals.

However, several parties objected the Bill, including the federal communications regulator, which took the bill straight to Quebec Superior Court, where is scheduled to appear in March next year.

The opponents of the bill are ready to take the fight to Canada’s Supreme Court if necessary. This means the bill is a long way from entering into force.

Leading the Market

Regardless of the current situation, Loto-Quebec plans to start a campaign to give the public all the necessary information on the importance of domain blocking and its effect on the overall consumer protection.

Available data shows Espacejeux leads the market with 273,000 unique visitors in August, far more than its international rivals. The Stars Group’s PokerStars attracted 107,000 visitors, while the UK-based sports betting site Bet365 was third-placed with only 52,000 unique visitors.

Although now based outside Canada, PokerStars will be treated differently than the others. According to available information, Loto-Quebec will allow access to PokerStars via Espacejeux.com. This option will be opened to other operators, who will have to meet strict criteria, especially when it comes to consumer protection and policy on responsible gambling.