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Quebec Study Recommends Expanding Online Gambling Market

An independent study commissioned by the government of Quebec is recommended that the province liberalize its online gambling market.

The study began its work in 2010 and is 200 pages in length. It recommends expanding the province's online betting market, which currently only has one legal site "Espace-jeux.com". The report also claims that the lone site's launch has not seen much participation since its launch, with only 1.5% participation for the site since its launch.

The report claims that Quebec would benefit from allowing carefully vetted operators offer their games to punters, but also coming up with measures to counteract unlicensed betting which include:

  • Informing such operators of the legal status of Espace-jeux and suggesting they withdraw from the Quebec market without prejudice;

  • Imposing penalties and possibly ISP blocking on those that do not take the hint, allied to tougher enforcement action.

  • Withholding or cancelling government contracts as a means to pressure online gambling software and other suppliers into persuading unlicensed operators to leave the Quebec market.

  • The formation of a focused online gambling regulatory authority to police and regulate the operational, marketing and social responsibility aspects of online gambling, perhaps through the existing provincial Alcohol, Racing and Gambling Board;

  • The introduction of a more effective system, preferably independent of Espace-jeux, to communicate the dangers of problem gambling to the public and monitor the social responsibility conduct of operators in the future.

Reaction in the government has reportedly been positive, with politicians asking the province's betting group Loto-Quebec to consider the report's findings as well as introduce ways on how the suggestions can be implemented going forward.

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