Loto-Québec launches espacejeux.com: "We're offering Quebecers a high-performance, entertaining and enjoyable Web site." - Alain Cousineau, President and Chief Executive Officer

MONTREAL, Nov. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Loto-Québec takes an important step in its history today by launching its espacejeux.com Web site. The site went live this morning for the pre-registration period that will last until December 1, at which time registered online members will be able to begin play.

"We're offering Quebecers a high-performance, entertaining and enjoyable Web site that fits into our vision of becoming a world leader in the responsible marketing of games of chance," stated Loto-Québec President and Chief Executive Officer Alain Cousineau. Espacejeux in fact offers a full range of control and prevention measures that are among the most innovative in the industry. These features are part of a remarkably user-friendly interface that players will enjoy.

In January 2010, Loto-Québec asked the government for a regulatory amendment that would enable it to develop an online offering of games of chance. Senior Vice-President of Corporate Affairs Marcel Croux was then given a mandate to put together a working group to bring the project to fruition.

That multidisciplinary team has been working hard these recent months to create the Web site that was launched today. "I offer my congratulations to everyone who participated in this project, including the new business unit's General Manager, François Poulin," declared Mr. Cousineau. "Their unflagging teamwork has made it possible for us to offer Quebecers a site that is entertaining and competitive, and that faithfully reflects Loto-Québec's public image." 

Espacejeux

The name Espacejeux not only evokes its product category-online gaming-but also the wide range of products that are on offer. Using Loto-Québec's own horn of plenty logo, the visual identity of Espacejeux associates the new brand with the public corporation and the values of security and trustworthiness for which it has stood for some 40 years.

Poker will be offered on a platform that the British Columbia Lottery Corporation will partner with at the beginning of 2011. This joint platform will be hosted in Montréal and is provided by G2, a subsidiary of GTECH. Customer account management software was designed by OpenBet Ltd, which also supplies some of the table games. Moreover, OpenBet has opened its Canadian offices in Montréal.

In addition to the eight variants of poker that are on the menu, Espacejeux will offer Quebecers 24-hour-a-day table games like Baccarat, Sic Bo and Red Dog as well as various types of Blackjack and Roulette. Other games like sports betting and bingo will be added to the offering at a later date.

Only adult Québec residents are eligible to register and play on Espacejeux. There is a simple four-step registration process, and online members will be able to make transactions in three ways: credit card, debit card and online bill payment.

Background

Québec citizens are currently exposed to more than 2,000 online gaming sites that are illegal, unregulated and often of questionable integrity. It became more and more evident that it would be necessary to channel and provide oversight for this activity in Québec, especially with observed revenue growth in Canada of 30% between 2003 and 2008 and anticipated 2012 revenues of one billion dollars for owners of illegal sites.

This is why, following the lead of Scandinavian and other European nations, the Government of Québec authorized Loto-Québec to create a site aimed at channelling the gaming offering in a controlled circuit and inside a secure environment characterized by many responsible gaming options.

In addition to providing Francophone and Anglophone Quebecers with a Web site that rises to the level of their expectations, Espacejeux's arrival in the marketplace also means that the profits earned from this activity will be returned to the Government of Québec and contribute to the State's ability to fund its programs.

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Loto-Québec's mission is to responsibly manage games of chance in a controlled and measured fashion, in the interest of all Quebecers.


"Espacejeux reaches the highest standards of responsible gaming."
Loto-Québec's site submitted for review by an internationally recognized expert


In wishing to provide an online gaming site that complies with the highest possible standards and keeping its commitment, Loto-Québec mandated eminent world-renowned consultant and researcher Richard Wood to undertake an independent review of the espacejeux.com responsible gaming strategy and functionalities.

Mr. Wood's analysis as revealed today shows that the Espacejeux environment is "more responsible online gambling environment than currently exists for Quebec residents, who already play (or may want to play) games of chance on the Internet1." His study terms Loto-Québec's strategy as "a well thought out and implemented plan that ranks as one of the most comprehensive of it's kind world-wide."

"Mr. Wood's conclusions show that we are in the industry forefront in terms of responsible gaming," declared Loto-Québec President and Chief Executive Officer Alain Cousineau.

The mandate given to Mr. Wood was, we can recall, to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the espacejeux.com Web site and propose ways of improving it. The goal here is to optimally help players to maintain healthy gaming habits while directing those experiencing difficulties to appropriate support services.

Some fifty stringent, innovative measures have been established, based on three guiding principles:

  • Players are themselves responsible for their level of participation in games
  • Enlightened choice is a necessary requirement for responsible gaming
  • Science can help determine what information contributes to enlightened gaming choices

Here are some of the measures that have been implemented on Espacejeux:

  • Rigorous age controls to ensure that all players are 18 years of age or older
  • A self-exclusion program
  • A mandatory timeout every 60 minutes
  • A gaming behaviour self-test, advice for avoiding problem gaming and hyperlinks to available help sites as well as their contact information
  • Tutorials provided to players and a practice site for playing without real money, accessible only to registered members
  • Individual limits on time of play, deposits and expenses
  • Player gaming history available at all times

Finally, it is worth noting that Loto-Québec is the very first lottery corporation in the world to have received the highest available international certification for responsible gaming from the World Lottery Association.

1 Espace Jeux responsible gambling strategy, Richard Wood, 2010.

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Loto-Québec's mission is to responsibly manage games of chance in a controlled and measured fashion, in the interest of all Quebecers.


Fact Sheet       espacejeux.com: events and promotions



  • A $10 cash bonus to play at table games for members who register before December 1st.
  • Giant Launch Tournament with a total purse of $250,000 (registration free).
  • The Espacejeux launch Bad Beat Jackpot is $100,000
  • Lucky hands:
    • Each millionth hand (1 million, 2 million, etc. right up to 25 million), will offer $500 to be shared equally among players who were dealt cards at the start of the hand.
    • Each hundred thousand hands (100,000, 200,000 etc. right up to 4,900,000) will offer $300 to be shared equally among players that were dealt cards at the start of the hand.
  • Guaranteed Tournaments:
    • Espacejeux will run daily Guaranteed Purse Tournaments, whatever the number of players
    • There will be 5 Guaranteed Tournaments on weekdays, 6 on Saturday and 7 on Sunday
    • A $50,000 Guaranteed Tournament will be run on the first Sunday of each month
  • A free registration fee tournament for new members each week with $1,000 in prize money.
  • Free registration fee cash tournaments open to all to learn poker risk-free with real money.
  • Prizes for the best players of the week ($1, 000) and month ($7,500 divided among players on the Leaderboard).
  • Sports event tournaments. Among available prizes, a first: five luxury evenings for two at the Jean Pascal Gala de Boxe on December 18, 2010.
  • Québec Grand Championship of Poker in the spring of 2011.


Fact Sheet          espacejeux.com: Responsible Gaming Measures



  • Age and Identity Verification
    • Applicant's age and identity are verified by Equifax when an account is opened.
    • If Equifax cannot provide 100% confirmation, a more exhaustive identification process is undertaken. The applicant is required to contact Loto-Québec and provide certain pieces of ID before registration can be finalized.
    • The verification process can take several days. During that time, and until age confirmation has been obtained, the account remains inactivated.
    • The verification process also applies to applicants that wish to play practice games without real money.
    • Checks are also made to ensure that players have only one account.
  • Self-exclusion 
    • This option is always available.
    • As soon as a player's account is active on the site, he or she can self-exclude; any amounts remaining in their account are then reimbursed.
    • Self-exclusion can last a month up to one or more years.
    • Players may not change their mind about the length of their self-exclusion period once that has been selected.
    • The self-exclusion function is easy to access.
  • Deposit Limits
    • Players must set a weekly deposit limit.
    • This limit can be changed at any time. Lowering the limit takes effect immediately; raising the limit is subject to a 7-day waiting period.
    • No deposits can be made to an account once the weekly limit has been reached.
  • Gaming Information
    • Players can always access a dashboard that shows the following information:
      • Time played
      • Amount spent
      • Account balance
      • Gaming history (time and amounts played by month, year or since account opening)
    • Pop-up windows impose gaming timeouts on players every 60 minutes. Time played, amounts spent, winnings or losses are displayed along with a question that requires the player to answer whether or not they want to continue playing or stop.
    • Return to Player percentages for table games as well as prizing structure are clearly shown on the site.
    • Return to Player rates for practice games are the same as for real play.
    • Players can cancel or change a bet before playing.
  • Responsible Gaming Measures
    • A reference to the help line is always displayed on the site. Players who have doubts about their gaming habits will find clear information on the site that enables them to contact appropriate resources.
    • The site offers advice for avoiding gaming problems. This advice informs players on ways to play responsibly.
    • A gaming behaviour self-evaluation test is available on the site. The results of the test tell the player if he or she demonstrates healthy or risky behaviour.
    • During registration and before being authorized to play, members must confirm that they have read the "Information on gaming" section that includes warnings about gambling and advice on responsible gaming. Accent here is on entertainment rather than on gambling in and of itself.
    • Through the Mise sur toi Web site, a link accesses the GamTalk chat room that provides support to players.
  • Other Measures
    • The only authorized means of payment are debit card, credit card and online bill payment.
    • All staff involved in operations and that work at the call centre receive training on responsible gaming.


Fact Sheet        espacejeux.com: How to register



There are four steps in the Espacejeux registration process:

  • Step 1 - Identification: A prospective member enters his or her name, contact information and promotion code if any, then chooses to receive or not receive Espacejeux publications, offers and promotions by email. Next, the applicant chooses a Username and a Password.

  • Step 2 - Account parameters: Members are required to choose spending and time of play limits for their Espacejeux account then decide on the weekly ceiling on deposits. Any changes made to lower this ceiling become effective immediately. Raises to this limit take effect after a 7-day waiting period.

  • If players so wish, they can set maximum playing time and spending limits on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

  • Step 3 - Conditions: Members are required to read to and agree to the Espacejeux Conditions of Use and its policy on respecting and protecting personal information, and to take note of information provided on gaming and the risks it entails.

  • Step 4 - Confirmation of identity: Applicants confirm information provided in the first three steps. A credit card number is requested in order to confirm the player's identity, age and place of residence. If there are any doubts about the applicant's identity for any reason whatsoever, a window appears on screen referring the applicant to Espacejeux Customer Service for verification purposes.
For further information:

Marie-Claude Rivet
Assistant Manager
Media Relations - Loto-Québec
514 499-5079
marie-claude.rivet@loto-quebec.com

Source: Loto-Québec

N.B. The Espacejeux launch press kit and Web ads are available in the Loto-Québec newsroom at lotoquebec.com.