In a statement to PlayCanada, Loto-Québec affirmed its position that the only legal online gambling in Québec runs through the provincial regulator.
The reply came in response to comments from a spokesperson for the Québec Online Gaming Coalition. The QOGC is group of industry stakeholders lobbying to legalize online gambling in Quebec.
Last week, QOGC spokesperson Nathalie Bergeron told PlayCanada the effort is gaining momentum. On Sept. 15, the National Basketball Association, Major League Soccer, and Canadian Football League vowed their support in favour of the coalition’s bid to legalize private-sector online gambling in Québec.
“It’s strange to see the Québec Online Gaming Coalition promoting a regulatory framework, given that some of the signatories provide illegal gambling services to Quebecers, which is a serious breach of the Criminal Code of Canada,” the statement to PlayCanada read.
Currently, Loto-Québec’s Mise-o-Jeu is the only legal online wagering site available in the province.
Loto-Québec questions QOGC’s motives
Loto-Québec, which has served as the province’s sole gambling regulator since 1969, is skeptical of the QOGC’s intentions.
“This raises all kinds of questions and doubts about their true motives. They also claim to be acting in the interests of responsible gambling, despite the very questionable practices of their signatories.”
The signatories referred to in the comment make up the QOGC’s eight-member team of industry players. This group includes:
- Apricot Investments
- Games Global
Bergeron: Status quo is ‘like asking Dracula to supervise a blood bank’
Last week, Montréal Public Health released a 42-page report deciding against Loto-Québec’s plan to build a mini-casino near the Bell Centre. The report, which offered several recommendations, specifically referred to the 2014 Nadeau report.
Identical to the 2014 analysis, Montréal Public Health also recommended the Québec government establish an independent body to supervise the province’s online gambling industry. In time, the QOGC is hoping to assume that role.
“Right now, Loto-Québec is a dual entity,” Bergeron told PlayCanada last week. “They have commercial activities on one hand, and the responsibility to promote responsible gaming on the other. The Nadeau report 10 years ago was already saying that this situation was nonsense because, and I’m quoting, ‘It’s like asking Dracula to supervise a blood bank.’”
However, Loto-Québec does not see it that way.
Loto-Québec: If it’s not LQ, it’s not legal
Contrary to what opponents believe, Loto-Québec feels it is the agency best equipped to oversee Quebec’s potential expansion into online gaming.
“In Québec, there are no two ways about it — if it’s not Loto-Québec, it’s not legal,” the company’s statement to PlayCanada said. “Only Loto-Québec can operate a casino and sports betting website that’s 100% legal in Québec.”
Because Loto-Québec says it has the best interests of Québec and its people at heart, whereas private operators do not.
“Unlike QOGC member websites, the Loto-Québec website is made by Quebecers for Quebecers and 100% of the profits go back to the people and province of Québec,” the statement reads. “Furthermore, lotoquebec.com is a secure website that reflects and promotes the best responsible gambling practices in the industry.”