The Criminal Code of Canada was amended to allow provinces to operate lotteries in 1969. As part of the change, the Code established crown corporation Loto-Québec. It held its first lottery draw in 1970. Loto-Québec then awarded its first $1 million prize in 1976.
In 1985, when the Canadian Federal Government decided provincial governments should have the exclusive right to provide gambling inside their own borders, Loto-Québec’s mandate was expanded to handle gambling operations as well.
In 1992 Loto-Québec created two subsidiaries. This included the Société des casinos du Québec, responsible for building and managing government-owned casinos, and Casiloc, responsible for building and acquiring furniture for the casinos.
Québec’s first government-run casinos approved
By the end of the year, the Québec government approved the opening of two government-run casinos. The first was on Île Notre-Dame in Montréal, while the second was at Pointe-au-Pic in the Charlevoix region.
In 1993 Loto-Québec created a third subsidiary, Resto-Casino, which oversees management of the casino-based restaurants and bars.
The Casino de Montréal also opened 1993 inside the former Expo’67 French Pavilion. At the time, its 1,200 slots and 65 table games. Casino de Montréal expanded in 1994, then took over the former Québec Pavilion in 1996.
Next, the Casino de Charlevoix opened in June 1994 in the Manoir Richelieu’s former summer playhouse on the cliffs of Pointe-au-Pic.
That same year, video lottery terminal gaming was authorized at bars in the province under a program managed by Loto-Québec subsidiary the Société des loteries vidéo du Québec.
The Casino de Hull opened in 1996 becoming Québec’s third commercial casino. It then became the Casino du Lac-Leamy in 2002.
The Casino de Mont-Tremblant opened in June 2009, making it the fourth casino in Québec.
Loto-Québec even went online in 2010, launching the espacejeux.com website. The site has since expanded. It now offers:
- Online lottery sales
- Mise-o-jeu sports betting
- Casino games
- Peer-to-peer online poker
The espacejeux.com also has a mobile app.
Loto-Québec runs all gambling operations in the province, include the lottery.
Loto-Québec’s lottery distribution network comprises more than 8,500 retailers.
Tickets are available for 23 different draw games. The most popular include:
- Lotto 649
- Lotto Max
- Grand Vie
- Lotto Poker
- Quebec Max
- Lotto 😀
- Quebec 49
Loto-Québec lottery retailers also sell 40 different types of scratch games, offering instant wins up to $5 million.
Additionally, there are lottery games available online through the Loto-Québec website espacejeux.com.
Québec video lottery terminals
Video lottery terminal (VLTs) gaming is available at Quebec bars that obtain a permit to operate VLTs from the provincial government’s the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux. VLTs are akin to casino slot machines, and offer line games, keno games, and video poker games. The maximum prize offered by a VLT is $1,000 per game.
Québec gambling halls
Gambling Halls were established in Québec City and Trois-Rivières in 2007. These facilities offer:
- Slot machines
- Video lotteries
- Electronic roulette
- Video blackjack
- Electronic keno
Quebec has four casinos that draw more than 10 million visitors annually. The Loto-Québec subsidiary Société des casinos du Québec owns and operates those casinos. The Société des casinos du Québec’s mission is to oversee the management and development of the province’s casinos.
Casino de Montréal
Established in the former Expo’67 French Pavilion in 1993, Casino de Montréal has since taken over the former Québec Pavilion.
Casino de Montréal underwent four years of renovations prior to 2013 when new gaming and entertainment areas were unveiled. It is now among the world’s largest casinos, with five floors of gaming all open 24 hours. There are over 100 table games and more than 3,000 slots.
Casino de Charlevoix
Casino de Charlevoix opened in June 1994 in the Manoir Richelieu’s former summer playhouse on the cliffs of Pointe-au-Pic. In 1998, Loto-Québec acquired the Manoir Richelieu, then both renovated and expanded the casino. Thus, Casino de Charlevoix became the first Quebec casino linked to a hotel.
The Casino de Charlevoix houses 20 table games and 800 slot machines.
Casino du Lac-Leamy
The Casino du Lac-Leamy opened in 1996 at Leamy lake as the Casino de Hull.
In 2001, the property underwent a $210 million expansion. A 350-room hotel, conference centre, and performance hall were added and it became Casino du Lac-Leamy. Another $50 million renovation to the gaming area wrapped in 2015
Casino du Lac-Leamy now offers 65 table games and more than 1,800 slots.
Casino de Mont-Tremblant
The Casino de Mont-Tremblant opened in June 2009. The casino has three gaming floors featuring more than 500 slot machines and 16 table games.
The legal gambling age in the province of Quebec is 18.
First Nations gaming
There are no First Nations casinos operating in Quebec. However, there are poker rooms located in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake just outside of Montreal. These poker rooms are licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
Poker rooms licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission include:
- VIP Poker Enterprises
- Snake’s Poker Club
- Playground Poker Club
- Stardust Poker Mansion
Québec online gaming
Loto-Québec launched an online gambling site in 2010. The espacejeux.com website now offers online lottery ticket sales, Mise-o-jeu sports betting, casino games, and peer-to-peer online poker. A mobile app is also available.
This is the only authorized online gambling site in the province of Quebec. However, several offshore online casino and online poker operations accept customers from inside the province of Quebec. Canadian law prohibits companies from operating online gambling sites on Canadian soil, but the laws surrounding the activity of online gambling are less cut and dry.
As a result, online casino and online poker operations from outside of Canada continue to accept Canadian customers. The Canadian Government and law enforcement authorities have shown no interest in prosecuting these offshore casino and poker operators.
Québec battles offshore operators
However, in 2016 the provincial government passed a law it hoped would force internet service providers to block local access to offshore gambling sites. It has been unsuccessful in doing so.
It is also worth noting as many as 100 offshore online gambling operations have been licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission operates on Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River across from Montreal. It licenses and regulates online casinos, poker, and sports books, many of which accept customers from all over Canada.