Québec Coalition Comments On Alberta’s Market Launch, Ontario’s Huge Year

Written By Matthew Lomon on June 28, 2024
Quebec parliament building. Alberta's move to open an online gambling market, plus the economic benefits already proven in Ontario are reasons for Quebec to follow suit.

Earlier this month, iGaming Ontario released Deloitte’s report on the second year of Ontario’s regulated iGaming market. It is a report being watched closely in Québec.

The diagnostic confirmed what we already knew — the Ontario online gambling sector has been an economic boon for Canada’s most populous province.

In just its second year of operation, Ontario’s heralded iGaming system supported nearly 15,000 full-time equivalent jobs. It also delivered some $1.24 billion in combined tax revenue to provincial, federal and municipal governments.

Deloitte’s findings, which are no doubt staggering, evoke curiosity as to what regulated online gambling may afford other provinces.

With that in mind, PlayCanada reached out to the Québec Online Gaming Coalition for its thoughts on the recent developments.

Deloitte report a “perfect example” for regulation, per QOGC

The QOGC has spent the past several months lobbying tirelessly for the legalization of online gambling in Québec.

Over that time, the group has made what it’s believed were several sound arguments. Although, none have been able to change the Quebec government’s vehement opposition to their cause.

That said, the QOGC believes the Deloitte report is an example lawmakers in Quebec simply can’t ignore.

“Deloitte’s report shows a perfect example of the benefits of regulating the online gaming market for provinces,” the QOGC said in a statement to PlayCanada.

“Instead of considering these reports, the Québec government chooses to protect the monopoly of a government-owned enterprise and ignore the advice of public health experts and the clear preferences of Québec players who overwhelmingly choose to play with private operators. Quebec must act to regulate online gaming, to the benefit of public services and Quebec society.”

The QOGC has repeatedly urged the Quebec government to follow the recommendations made by public health experts in the 2014 Nadeau Report.

It has also pleaded for lawmakers to consider the results of its December 2023 survey. Here, the poll of 1010 Quebecers who wager online revealed that 73% choose privately-operated sites for online casino and sports betting activities.

In other words, nearly three-quarters of respondents admitted to using non-regulated online gambling sites.

QOGC: Alberta government capitalizes, Quebec government misses out

Alberta made waves last week when the province officially announced its plan to launch an Ontario-like regulated online gambling market.

The landmark decree, which occurred during the 2024 Canadian Gaming Summit, came as little surprise to industry pundits.

There was a time, however, not so long ago when Quebec, not Alberta, seemed poised to become the second Canadian province to follow in Ontario’s footsteps.

In light of the seismic changes to the Canadian online gambling landscape, the QOGC commended its neighbours to the west for moving in favour of regulation, while also emphasizing the opportunity its government is leaving behind.

“Alberta saw the benefits of a regulatory model and is capitalizing on the opportunity,” the QOGC spokesperson said. “The Coalition believes the Québec government is missing an important opportunity to not only generate additional revenues that could help counter the effects of the budget deficit, but also to offer the same high standards of responsible gaming measures to all Québec players, whether they choose to play with private operators or with Loto-Québec.”

Report evidence that Quebec can alleviate Budget woes, create employment opportunities

The last few months have been particularly difficult for Quebec in terms of its economic function.

In March, Ontario’s border buddy released its 2024-25 budget. In it, Finance Minister Eric Girard projected a record $11 billion deficit for the next fiscal year.

Back then, the coalition told PlayCanada it was offering the government a concrete solution to help alleviate its budget woes.

In the wake of Deloitte’s report, the QOGC believes its stance is only further emboldened.

“At a time when the Québec government is asking Crown Corporations, including Loto-Québec, to optimize and increase efficiency in order to find savings, the Coalition believes it offers the government a concrete solution to help the Québec government counter the effects of the budget deficit.

“In a context marked by a record deficit, Québec cannot afford to deprive itself of significant sources of new revenue.”

The coalition’s point remains just as pertinent on the job creation front.

“Premier Legault repeatedly mentions his desire to bring high-paying jobs to Québec. We believe regulating the online gaming market is a good opportunity for the government to capitalize on bringing these jobs to the province.

“While Loto-Québec currently holds only 23% of the online gaming market in Québec, the government must take into account the new habits or preferences of Quebecers who engage in online gaming, and to implement an appropriate regulatory framework.”

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Matthew Lomon

Matthew Lomon has been a contributor at Catena Media’s network of regional sites since July 2022. He first broke into covering the legal North American gambling industry with PlayCanada. Since then, Matthew's reporting has extended to PlayMichigan, PlayPennsylvania, and PlayIllinois. Based out of Toronto, Ontario, Matthew is an avid (bordering on fanatic) sports fan.

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