The Québec Online Gaming Coalition (QOGC), an organization that advocates for the legalization of regulated online gaming and sports betting practices in Québec, has recently commissioned Mainstreet Research to conduct a survey on the gaming habits, and thus the analysis, of just over 1,000 players residing in Québec.
This coalition is an industry-led organization that represents leading online gaming operators situated in the jurisdiction of Québec, an eastern province in Canada. Amongst its ranks, this organization includes notable operators such as the following: Betway, DraftKings, Flutter, Entain, and Rush Street Interactive.
The results of this survey were rather alarming, and cast Loto-Québec, the only fully sanctioned iGaming operator and government owned iGaming site in the province, in a rather bad light.
Drawing inspiration from the Ontario iGaming model that has, since 2021, been implemented in this jurisdiction, the intention of the Québec Online Gaming Coalition (QOGC) is to persuade Québec to adopt a licensed iGaming framework that would involve third-party operators.
In this article, we will be delving into exactly what the results of this survey entail, the comments made from both parties involved, and go into further detail about the implications of what such accumulated data can have for the future of the iGaming market in Québec.
What the Québec Online Gaming Coalition (QOGC) survey entails
A survey conducted by Mainstreet Research and commissioned by the Québec Online Gaming Coalition (QOGC) placed its focus on the analysis of just over 1,000 players residing in Québec.
The aim of this survey was to analyze, and thereby determine, the gaming habits of the inhabitants of Québec when playing on an online basis.
The data accumulated in this newly released survey brought forth a great deal of insight into the current state of online gaming and sports betting in the province of Québec:
Almost 3 out of 4 local players residing in Québec, or 73% of gamblers, harbor a preference for privately-operated iGaming platforms and habitually choose these sites to play online casino games and to place sports wagers on.
72% of gamblers utilize the Loto-Québec platform solely to purchase lottery tickets, and not to play online casino games or place sports betting wagers.
In this way, a closer look at this survey reveals that only 26.6% of players residing in Québec visit the Loto-Québec site to play online casino games or place sports betting wagers.
67%, or two-thirds, of Québec-based online gamblers who participated in the survey were in favor of the implementation of a licensing system that would provide a form of regulation on private-sector sites of mobile casinos and sportsbooks operating in the province. By doing so, a ‘licensing and tax regime’ would be created.
56% of players who participated in this survey were in agreement that the creation of an independent regulator who would oversee all sports betting and online gaming in Québec would ‘provide greater oversight amid growing concerns about consumer safety and responsible gaming.’
In this way, from the analysis of this data, the survey concluded that one should be doubtful of the ability of the provincial authorities to adequately block illegal offshore sites, the same illegal offshore sites that appear to be so popular with gamers residing in Québec.
This survey also sheds light on the way in which the inhabitants of Québec have shown strong support for the potential implementation of new regulations and the inclusion of independent bodies in their province.
The results obtained from this survey are consistent with the data obtained from the general population during the Coalition that took place last May. This similarity in results shows that there has been no abatement in the appetite of Quebecers for a new regulatory framework pertaining to online gaming and sports betting in their province.
Comments made with regards to the results of this survey
Natalie Bergeron, the appointed spokesperson at the Québec Online Gaming Coalition, referred to the results obtained from this survey as ‘an important wake-up call’, and made the following statement:
“These results show that Loto-Québec’s monopoly only exists on paper, and the Crown Corporation’s recent assessment of its market share does not reflect reality.
“The Québec government must consider the habits and preferences of Quebecers who play online games and establish a proper regulatory regime to protect the majority of Quebecers who play on privately operated platforms for online casino games and sports betting and not on the Crown Corporation’s platform.”
In addition to this, Bergeron stated the following:
“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.”
She also added that “Quebecers have an appetite for private operators, and whatever the [current] restrictions are, they’re going to find a way to play with them.
“The Quebec government has had a very heavy tendency to compare itself to Ontario on a number of files. [The regulated Ontario model] is one occasion where we all benefit from seeing what has happened there.
“This [survey] data solidifies the reason why we need to pay attention to what the coalition is proposing.”
In reaction to the growing awareness that the results of this survey have generated, Bergeron stated that “We are happy to have generated conversations on a topic that was not really being discussed previously and that various stakeholders are now paying attention to and want to participate in a public debate about regulating the online gaming market.”
Comments made on behalf of Loto-Québec
In reaction to the survey released by the QOGC, Renaud Dugas, a spokesperson for the Crown agency, spoke about his concerns regarding the true intentions of those who have conducted this survey.
Here, Dugas states that the same members of the coalition who state that they support responsible gambling in Québec, as well as a fully legalized gaming framework, are the same entities who are offering illegal gaming options to the residents of Québec. In addition to this, Dugas has remarked on how these practices are in direct violation of Canada’s Criminal Code:
“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.
“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.”
What is the Québec Online Gaming Coalition (QOGC)?
The Québec Online Gaming Coalition (QOGC) is an organization that represents online gaming operators that are situated in the jurisdiction of Québec:
“The Québec Online Gaming Coalition (QOGC) is an industry-led organization that brings together the leading online gaming operators. Our members offer a variety of services, from sports betting to online casinos, and have several programs in place to promote a responsible and safe gaming environment.
“The Coalition wishes to work with the Québec government, local lottery corporation and responsible gaming stakeholders to develop a transparent regulatory framework for online gaming in Québec. By doing so, we wish to help foster a responsible and safe environment that protects consumers all while providing revenues to the Québec government through licensing and taxing model – similar to Ontario."
What does the Loto-Québec platform entail?
Compared to Ontario, one of the largest online gambling markets in Canada with a total of over 70 authorized iGaming operators, Québec only has 1 fully sanctioned iGaming operator: Loto-Québec, a government owned iGaming site:
“Loto-Québec was introduced in 1969 to regulate gambling and keep it out of the hands of illegal gambling operators and organized crime. As a result, we’ve been providing the people of Québec with experiences that entertain and inspire them to dream big for over 50 years.
“And because Quebecers’ individual and collective well-being is at the heart of all that we do, we work to ensure that our business is conducted in a socially responsible manner and that we have a positive impact on communities across Québec. 100% of profits go back to Québec—so when the people of Québec play, we all win!”
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