Quebec Monopoly Moves to Block Online AccessPublished June 25, 2016 by Lee R
Quebec is choosing to walk the monopoly tightrope in the court of public opinion.
In monopoly-controlled Quebec, a law has been enacted to blocked access to online gambling offered by unlicensed operators, targeting any and all operators outside of provincial monopoly Espacejeux.
Loto Quebec Only
Launched in December 2010 by Quebec government monopoly Loto Quebec, the provincial monopoly is now the only online gambling site Quebecers will be able to access.
International Law Relevant?
The legal move addresses the ongoing problem of gaming operators offering services to players in Canada´s second-most populous province of Canada. Opponents of the action contend that the move is a violation of international law.
The move is an extension of changes to the Quebec Consumer Protection and gambling laws introduced by Québec Finance Minister Carlos Leitäo´s province budget for 2015-2016. The changes called for Internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to all major gambling sites besides Espacejeux.
Benefits of Legislation
In addition to potential taxation benefits to the government, other potential economic benefits to the Quebec market include attracting more players to Espacejeux through advertising and partnerships at a projected rate of $13.5 in additional revenues in the first year and $27 million for every year after.
The first portion of this legislation was actionised on May 17, 2016 , when the Quebec government approved Bill 74 requiring Internet Service Providers SPs to block access to all gaming sites outside of Espacejeux. State lottery Loto-Quebec submitted the first list of offending online gaming sites to be blocked by Bill 74.
Once the law takes effect, targeted ISPs will be notified, and then have 30 days to fall in line, after which violators would become liable for fines of up to $100,000 per each day of non-compliance.
Possible Market Entrants
There is some talk of Loto Quebec assenting to license a few online gaming providers after the new law takes effect, with PokerStars and FullTilt owners Amaya Gaming rumored to head any list for consideration due to the ongoing business relationship that Loto Quebec and Amaya have already maintained in the long term.
The usual concerns about monopolies are sure to be voiced by opponents, but the Quebec government has ultimate say in the type of regulation it establishes. It looks like a wait and see scenario, though operators might want to think about kindling, or rekindling, relationships with Loto Quebec.