Loto-Québec Asks Authorities To Confront Illegal Online Gambling

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on December 1, 2021

Loto-Québec has some concerns.

The Crown agency says it lacks the necessary tools to compete with illegal online gambling sites. 

And, they’re asking for help from police and lawmakers to prevent companies from offering illegal services.

Recently, Loto-Québec’s new president and CEO, Jean-François Bergeron, spoke at the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. During his address, he emphasized the difficulties the lottery is facing with illegal gambling.

“We’re going to do our part, but there’s public security that has to do its part,” Bergeron said. “There’s the federal government – because it’s a criminal law – the federal government has to do its part.”

Bergeron’s biggest concern refers to online gambling ads that promote “free” play. Ads like this are outside the regulatory constraints that govern Loto-Québec. 

And while ads promoting free online gaming are legal — they’re gateways to pay-to-play gambling sites, which is not.

“It’s half legal. The free games they offer us through their TV ads are legal, but we all know that their business model is not based on free play. It’s pay-to-play, and that’s not legal,” he explained.

“With the exception of horse racing and bingo, if it’s not Loto-Québec, it’s not legal. There is no ambiguity.”

Simplifying the registration process 

Bergeron would also like to see the agency upgrading its signup process.

According to him, a significant constraint the company faces is its enrollment process. Player registration needs to be quick and easy.

“It’s complicated to open an account with us,” he said. “We have to simplify the process when a client comes to us while remaining compliant.”

“That’s the first tipping point for players. It’s more than just opening an account and putting in a credit card. There are a lot of checks.”

And, if a player wants to sign up at any offshore online casino, the process is more straightforward.

“They just want a credit card number,” Bergeron argued.

“If they were physical sites, the stakes would not be the same. We would just close their doors. It would be easy. It’s not so easy on the web.”

He also claimed that legislators must provide Crown corporations with a more level playing field until illegal players no more.

Regardless of this challenge, Bergeron said Loto-Québec is “committed to competing with the illegal operators.” No matter what, the agency aims to dominate the competition.

Photo by Shutterstock/rawf8
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina is a Toronto-based online gambling writer who holds a master's degree in journalism. Before joining PlayCanada, she was part of the AskGamblers crew where she reported about the world of online casinos and interviewed numerous iGaming experts. Being in the industry for 5 years, she became an expert in online slots.

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