Industry Reports

La Malbaie Mayor Seeks Government Support amid Jeopardizing Gaming Expansion

Gaming expansion across Quebec might lead to field cannibalization in the foreseeable future if no action is taken by provincial officials. The Charlevoix community and local officials want to see the official scrapping of the proposed Salon de Jeux Quebec City expansion that would make it a well-rounded casino venue.

Michel Couturier, Mayor of La Malbaie, recently pointed out that the Prime Minister had previously promised to avoid harming the local gaming field. Gaming expansion aims to attract a larger crowd and make a given area much more appealing to casino enthusiasts from neighboring regions.

Such an approach makes it possible for the casino operator to then reward the host community with a more generous gaming revenue allocation as compensation. The Quebec City gaming hall could soon turn into a casino venue with more gaming offerings on its premises, if previously announced Coalition Avenir Quebec plans come to fruition.

Gaming Expansion Jeopardizes Existing Locations

This week saw a special event that raised awareness about the risks of gaming expansion at this point. Charlevoix individuals that would directly feel the negative impact of such a move were gathered and had a frank conversation about the possible expansion of the Quebec City gaming hall.

Mayor Couturier wanted to remind François Legault’s position on the subject expressed last year. Mid-2018, Mr. Legault said that transforming the gaming hall into a well-rounded casino venue is a possibility, but it should not be done at the expense of Charlevoix.

He stated that he was ready to scrap everything if the expansion proves to be a harmful move against existing Casino de Charlevoix. Field cannibalization is a thing and it could be a devastating hit for both casino locations, as players would have to choose between the two casinos.

Mr. Legault has made the announcement in Saint-Simeon more than a year ago and with the conversation on the subject becoming more heated, Mayor Couturier found it appropriate to remind about the Prime Minister’s commitment. At this point, evaluations have shown a considerable negative impact of the proposed expansion.

More Evaluation Needed

In the 2017-2018 period, some 34 percent of the individuals traveling to the area do so just because they wanted to gamble at Casino du Charlevoix. Some 25 percent of the players are permanent Quebec City residents. In addition to that, the transformation of the gaming hall into a casino venue could result in gaming revenue drop reaching CA$13 million.

Sylvie Pelletier, President of Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux, said that Casino de Charlevoix staff members also feel uncertain and worry about their future. The casino venue has been a main driving force of the local economy, attracting individuals, while also guaranteeing locals steady income. There are currently 268 employees calling Casino de Charlevoix their workplace and jeopardizing its future puts them at risk.

Mayor Couturier stated this week that gaming revenue allocations from a hypothetical casino is not what Quebec City needs at the moment. The capital sees steady rates of tourists and its economy is thriving, while regions such as Charlevoix and the area actively benefit from the financial support of its casino.