Loto-Quebec: More Than 6,000 Have Opted To Self-Exclude From Online Gambling So Far This Year

Written By Jose Colorado on May 27, 2022
loto quebec online canada gambling self exclusion numbers

Quebec bettors are excluding themselves from Canada online gambling activities at an all-time high.

Loto-Quebec reports the number of self-excluded punters on its online platform hit its highest point since creating the service nearly 30 years ago.

In 2020-21 alone, 7,353 people enrolled in the self-exclusion program through Loto-Quebec casinos. That’s nearly double what it was in the previous fiscal year (4,276).

Loto-Quebec encouraged by rising enrollment

Despite the big spikes in self-exclusion numbers, Loto-Quebec is encouraged — rather than discouraged — about the increase.

After all, the self-exclusion program – created in 1993 – is meant to be used. It is an entirely voluntary agreement between a gambler and a casino establishment.

The premise is a punter authorizes Loto-Quebec to deny them access to its establishment for a certain period of time. But the duration of the self-exclusion process is determined entirely by the gambler.

Based on that, rising self-exclusion rates should be a good sign in theory.

It’s considered an essential first step in helping to control one’s gambling.

Online gaming a slippery slope, critics say

On the other hand, one can’t help but shudder at the rising tide negatively impacted by gambling.

Critics argue online gaming pushes customers to play more intensively.

That becomes especially true in a pandemic setting as isolation, boredom and people intervening are much less likely than at a real-life casino.

Just because more people are enrolling does not necessarily mean prevention is occurring.

Record-breaking years of self-exclusion

It is important to note that Loto-Quebec calculates its enrollment numbers in relation to its program rather than the traditional calendar year. The end date for each year is March 31. The current 2022-21 enrollment period could still break last year’s record-breaking mark of 7,353.

loto quebec online gambling self exclusion numbers


COVID casino closures likely reason behind numbers

Nonetheless, the Crown corporation believes there is a simple explanation for the sharp increase in online self-exclusion registrations during the COVID-19.

Due to the closure of land-based casinos for a large portion of the global crisis, Canadian gamblers have had to migrate almost exclusively online. And with that, access to 24/7 online gaming services became available.

More time exposed to gambling runs the risk of more compulsive behaviours happening, and thus, the increase.

Regardless, there is no target in mind for where Loto-Quebec would like to see its self-exclusion registration numbers.

But ideally, the Crown corporation wants to have more of its self-excluded players participate in its assistance services offered by “Jeu: aide et reference.”

The telephone service provides information, referral and support service on compulsive gambling.

Retail casinos see drop in self-exclusion rates

Then there is the other side of the coin. Unsurprisingly, because online self-exclusion programs increased, services decreased (see chart above) at retail casinos.

With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, perhaps the current year’s increase in numbers should be expected. Nonetheless, a 28% increase (from 111 to 391) is quite a leap in any circumstance.

With Loto-Quebec’s tentacles stretching far, gamblers have their fair share of opportunities to enroll in the program throughout the province.

Loto-Quebec reports gamblers have excluded themselves from the following casinos over the years:

Educating Canadians on self-exclusion programs

Loto-Quebec is not alone in its promotion of self-exclusion programs. In fact, the technique has become a widespread tool for many provincial operators to prevent problem gambling.

As the Canada online betting market expands, gamblers need to know when to tap out. The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) in Canada outlines some key moments when gamblers should consider a self-exclusion program:

  1. Gambling is no longer fun.
  2. Gambling causes financial, health or relationship problems.
  3. Feeling like taking a break would benefit you.
  4. Gambling is causing you – or your loved ones – undue stress.
  5. The urge to gamble is becoming uncontrollable or addictive.
  6. Gambling has taken over all aspects of your life.
  7. Gambling causes physical, emotional or psychological harm.
  8. You’re chasing the win to offset losses.

PlayCanada.com promotes responsible gambling.

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Jose Colorado

Jose Colorado is a British Columbia-based writer. He lives in Burnaby and loves sports, anime, writing, business and the occasional walk on the beach.

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