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Quebec Still Reluctant to Introduce Private iGaming Sector

Ontario became a leader in online gambling after opening up its market to private operators. However, despite heavy efforts from third-party brands and the Quebec Online Gaming Coalition. Quebec is unwilling to follow its steps. The local government is alarmed that much like in Ontario, such an iGaming model would also bring a barrage of betting ads.

QOGC of Betway, Bet99, DraftKings, Flutter, Entain, Rush Street and Apricot. Their goal is to convince the local government to introduce a similar iGaming regulatory framework as Ontario which will benefit both the province and operators as they will share revenue. They also called for the launch of an independent regulatory body to supervise gaming in the province.

Province Refuses to Adopt Similar Framework

However, Quebec’s government does not agree with the iGaming expansion plans. The Finance Minister’s office remarked that other jurisdictions have seen an influx of online gambling ads. А while back the Crown’s Renaud Dugas commented that the coalition wishes to promote responsible gambling but at the same time still offers illegal gambling via the grey sector.

But, gambling specialist, Sylvia Kairouz does not agree that this way the province can protect consumers due to the uncontrollable internet world. She noted it is crucial to consider the role of state corporations, and said that land-based gaming state-owned business is an excellent solution. Still, such a monopoly cannot survive in an environment that is open to competition.

Nathalie Bergeron, president of QOGC explained that Quebec should not put an exact copy of Ontario’s model and that is not what the coalition seeks. She added the group only wants to create a system that will satisfy local consumers’ needs while noting that private operators are good at promoting responsible gambling and player protection, as they do it for their sites.

A while back the Crown corporation reported that revenue from its iGaming platform for 2022-23 amounted to CA$403.9 million, which also includes the purchase of lottery tickets online. The coalition reckons the share of proceeds from digital gambling and sports betting stood at CA$279 million. She compared the website to a convenience store validator available at everyone’s homes.

Meanwhile, Ontario’s private internet sector delivered CA$1.4 billion for its first 12 months, and the numbers do not include those from OLG, which is the equivalent of Loto-Québec. OLG delivered CA$2.5 billion to the province while in that time Quebec provided CA$1.6 billion in dividends while retaining the monopoly on the sale of lottery tickets.

Sports Leagues Unite

However, it is not only private operators that call for a regulated iGaming market, as sports leagues have also expressed their support. Canadian Football League’s commissioner, Randy Ambrosie stated such a sector would create a ‘level playing field’ and protect the province’s unique culture. MLS and NBA have also expressed their support for such a model in the province.

Source: Roberge, Simon “Quebec does not want to know how to eliminate the Loto-Québec monopolylaTribune, February 12, 2024