Loto-Québec hits back at QOGC online gaming survey

Province reaffirms other online operators are running illegally

Québec’s sole legal gaming provider, Loto-Québec, issued a rebuke after the Quebec Online Gaming Coalition (QOGC), a group advocating for the legalization of regulated gaming in the province, released a survey on the iGaming habits of Quebecers.

The survey, conducted by Mainstreet Research, was used by the QOGC to support its argument for a regulated iGaming sector in Quebec. It revealed that nearly three-quarters (73%) of local players prefer private iGaming platforms for online casino games or sports wagering. The survey gathered responses from 1,010 residents who engage in digital gambling.

Formed earlier this year by private gambling companies, QOGC aims to persuade La Belle Province to adopt a licensed iGaming sector for third-party operators, drawing inspiration from Ontario’s model. The coalition includes notable operators like Betway, DraftKings, Flutter, Entain, and Rush Street Interactive.

Loto-Québec was critical of the survey. Renaud Dugas, a spokesperson for the Crown agency, pointed out that the Coalition members, who claim to support responsible gambling and a regulated iGaming framework, are currently offering online casino games illegally to local players.

He expressed concerns about their true intentions.

“Some members of the coalition formed to promote responsible gaming and a new regulatory framework in Québec are violating Canada’s Criminal Code by illegally offering games to Québec residents, which raises serious doubts and questions about their actual intentions,” Dugas said in an email to Gaming News Canada.

“In Québec, the rules could not be clearer: if it’s not Loto-Québec, it’s not legal. Loto-Québec is the only organization that can offer a 100% legal online casino and sports betting website in the province,” he added.

Conversely, QOGC Spokesperson Nathalie Bergeron argued that the monopoly held by the Crown is nominal and does not accurately reflect the current state of the sector. She emphasized the need for Quebec to consider its residents’ online preferences and behaviours and establish a comprehensive regulatory regime for those using private platforms.

“We have a monopoly in Quebec right now. The monopoly isn’t working anymore. [This is] a strong signal it’s time to modernize the system and cater to gamers’ needs,” Bergeron told Gaming News Canada.

Major sports leagues, including the Canadian Football League, Major League Soccer, and the NBA, have also voiced support for a private gaming sector in Quebec. These organizations believe such a move would safeguard the integrity of competitions while fostering responsible gaming practices.

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