Coalition Forms to Push for Expanded iGaming in Québec

The Québec Online Gaming Coalition (QOGC) wants to use Ontario as a model for creating a similarly regulated market for online casino gaming and sports betting in Québec.
Quebec City skyline with Chateau Frontenac at sunset viewed from hill -- Coalition Forms to Push for Expanded iGaming in Québec
May 25, 2023

The coalition believes that the introduction of regulation would allow the Québec government to earn revenues over and above those already offered by the current system Six major iGaming operators have joined forces with two UK-based entities to form the Québec Online Gaming Coalition (QOGC), which aims to work with the provincial government in Québec and local stakeholders to create a new regulatory framework for online casino gaming, sports betting, and online poker in Québec in the province.

The coalition said it wants to use the model that Ontario built for regulated iGaming to create a similar regulatory framework in Québec. That means Québec could be in the opening stages of establishing a new online poker, casino gaming, and sports betting market.

“[A] licensing system and regulation has allowed the Ontario government to receive substantial revenues from private gaming operators, estimated at more than $380 million CDN ($279.5 million USD) in the first year,” QOGC said in its first-ever statement to the media, issued Tuesday.

“The coalition believes that the introduction of regulation would allow the Québec government to earn revenues over and above those already offered by the current system and that these new funds should be reinvested these funds in key sectors of the Québec economy.”

Specifically, the coalition wants to establish an independent regulatory body for iGaming in Québec. But it also wants the province to focus on consumer safety and responsible gaming.

QOGC said it plans to contribute to Fonds de recherche du Québec-Société et Culture (FRQSC), a government agency, “to continue to study gaming behaviors and the ways in which the coalition can protect and provide a safe and responsible gaming experience for Quebecers.”

Mise-O-Jeu: The Only Game In Town

In Québec, online sports betting is allowed, but the provincial lottery, Loto-Québec, holds a monopoly over the vertical. The lottery launched its online sportsbook, Mise-O-Jeu, in 2004 — the same year that the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) launched its PlayNow platform.

QOGC members include six iGaming companies:

  • Bet99
  • Betway
  • DraftKings
  • Entain plc
  • Flutter Entertainment
  • Rush Street Interactive (RSI)

Apricot Investments Limited and Games Global Limited are also members of the coalition. The former is a venture capital firm with a portfolio of assets in the gaming industry, while the latter is an iGaming supplier. Both are based on the Isle of Man.

The coalition’s members include several well-known brands that are active in Ontario. Bet99, Betway, and DraftKings are obvious players in the province, but BetMGM — a 50-50 joint venture between Entain and MGM Resorts International — is also live in Ontario with online poker, casino gaming, and sports betting.

Entain also has its partycasino, partypoker, partysports, and Sports Interaction brands live in Ontario. Meanwhile, RSI’s flagship brand, BetRivers, offers online casino gaming and a sportsbook. RSI is also working on a new poker platform based on Run It Once (RIO) poker.

Two brands owned by Flutter — FanDuel and PokerStars — offer online casino gaming and sports betting in Ontario. PokerStars also has online poker.

Survey Shows Support for Reform

The coalition said it was spurred into action by the results of a recent survey by Leger Marketing. According to QOGC, the survey found that:

  • 66% of respondents support allowing private online gaming operators and setting up a regulatory framework
  • 71% of Quebecers believe the provincial government doesn’t have the power to block private online gaming operators
  • 75% agree that tax revenue generated from iGaming should help fund social responsibility programs, including addiction prevention
  • 64% agree that tax revenue from iGaming should go toward the province’s general fund

Sports betting has been legal in Québec (and all of Canada) since August 2021, when the federal government in Ottawa passed legislation authorizing it. The bill, C-218, amended the federal Criminal Code to allow single-event sports betting. Up until then, such wagers were illegal in Québec.

Loto-Québec also offers peer-to-peer online poker on its Espace Jeux platform, part of the Canadian Poker Network (CPN), an informal interprovincial compact that includes British Columbia (BC), Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Québec.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) helpline at 1-888-532-3500

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