MONTREAL, Feb. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - At its January 26, 2010 meeting, the Québec Cabinet formally sanctioned a change to the online gaming regulation, allowing Loto-Québec to offer online games of chance. Minister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Montréal region Raymond Bachand announced the decision today alongside Loto-Québec President and Chief Executive Officer Alain Cousineau.
"Our government has decided to authorize the Société des loteries du Québec to offer online games of chance. Inasmuch as this is a sector that is developing exponentially in an illegal way, Loto-Québec is being given the responsibility of working to redirect this already existing but illegal gaming activity to a site that is secure, legal and trustworthy. I believe this to be an efficient way of fighting the underground economy," declared Mr. Bachand. Loto-Québec, declared Mr. Cousineau, intends to carry out this project successfully and with the full rigor and integrity that have characterized its operations for 40 years.
The fact is, Québécois currently have access to more than 2,000 online gaming sites that are illegal, unregulated and often of doubtful integrity: "This is a way for us to channel the gaming offering in a controlled circuit and environment whose integrity will be beyond reproach," declared the President and CEO.
Using its internationally acknowledged expertise in responsible gaming and basing itself on the proven Swedish model, Loto-Québec will put in place several control and prevention measures, explained Mr. Cousineau. These will notably include verification of player age and weekly account replenishment limits as well as the ability for players to self-exclude at all times, plus making game information available. On this point, Mr. Cousineau made it clear that before the future Loto-Québec gaming site goes live it will be subject to international responsible gaming review.
"In this respect," Loto-Québec's President and CEO continued, "thanks to its rigorous approach to responsible gaming, Loto-Québec last April became the very first lottery corporation in the world to obtain Level 4 certification in the World Lottery Association's general responsible gaming framework. This is the highest international certification available in the field."
A multidisciplinary team is already at work creating the Internet site and fine-tuning the various security and responsible gaming measures that will be available for the fall of 2010, when Loto-Québec intends to launch its online gaming site. "In order to accomplish this," added Mr. Cousineau, we are currently working with the British Columbia and Atlantic lottery corporations." All three corporations have in fact signed a memorandum of understanding to share a common online gaming platform that includes poker.
In recent years, online gaming sites have been more and more active in soliciting Québec players. As proof, this economic sector has shown average annual revenue growth of 30% in Canada between 2003 and 2008, going from $184 M to $675 M(1). In 2011, this number should exceed one billion dollars. Currently, annual revenue from Québec is conservatively evaluated at around $80 M.
"These sums currently represent a loss for the Québec Treasury," Mr. Cousineau stated. "However, by channelling online gaming, Loto-Québec will be able to keep a significant part of this money here in Québec by returning the entirety of its profits to the Québec government and community, just as it does for its other operations."
Technical data sheets are available on the Loto-Québec web site.
(1) Source: The Boston Consulting Group
/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/
For further information: For further information: Marie-Claude Rivet, Assistant Director, Media Relations - Loto-Québec, (514) 499-5079; Source: Loto-Québec