Loto-Québec is in discussions with the Montreal Canadiens for the potential installation of hundreds of video gambling machines at the Bell Centre. This was revealed in a recent radio interview by the Crown agency’s CEO Jean-Francois Bergeron. If agreed, the gaming machines, sport betting terminals and poker tables will be placed at the 1909 Taverne Moderne restaurant.
The Bell Centre is a multi-purpose arena which is the home of the Montreal Canadiens. It first opened its doors in May 1996 and has a capacity of over 21,000 people. Meanwhile, the three-story 1909 Taverne Moderne adjoins the arena and has been closed since the start of the unprecedented situation. The VLTs could find a new purpose for the venue.
Talks are Already in Motion
Mr. Bergeron recently said that the Crown corporation is not ready for an official announcement but there are talks with the hockey team. The agency has been in talks with the Canadiens for several months now, and one of the major discussion topics between the two parties was whether the VLT venue will open every day from noon to 3 a.m.
Psychologist and gambling expert Jeffrey Derevensky commented that the Crown corporation wants to bring gambling to downtown Montreal. He explained that the mini-casino with slots and sports gambling terminals would try to take advantage of the market, while also increasing market and market penetration by moving slot machines out of the casino and into a new facility.
One of the objectives of the Corporation is to lower illegal gambling rates, however, the expert does not agree. He said that instead, it would allow fans going to games to place a quick wager on the outcome. He also stated that slot machines are a continuous form of gambling which is more problematic than the other forms of gaming and believes it is not a smart choice to proceed with it.
In the meantime, Finance Minister Eric Girard commented the provincial government has two conditions for the Bell Centre project. The first one is to have public health as a priority, and the second one would be to try to ensure that if it becomes reality, the project would move toward an overall decrease in video lottery terminals across the province.
More News on the Crown Agency
At the start of the new calendar year, Loto-Québec issued its new Boréal instant ticket series, which comes in collaboration with Pollard Banknote Limited. The latter congratulated the Crown entity on the launch of the innovative ticket concept, which features 30 different images of animals who reside in Québec. It was specifically created for the provider’s new digital printing press.
Meanwhile, in December 2022, the Crown agency gave an update on the first half of the 2022-2023 fiscal year. For the six-month period, it reported total revenues of CA$1.466 billion and a consolidated net income of CA$805.3 million. These are a CA$382.9 million and CA$221.3 million, respectively, increase over last year’s same results.
Source: Van Vlaardingen, Caroline “Loto-Quebec in talks to install video gaming machines at Bell Centre” CTV News Montreal, February 22, 2023