Sportsbook franchisees are now demanding Quebec to be the next legalized sports betting jurisdiction in Canada. A syndicate of eight Canadian Sportsbooks formed the Quebec Online Gaming Coalition in May to influence the authorities to license private players to enter the territory. The frontline members of QOGC include DraftKings, Bet99, Entain, Rush Street Interactive, a co-owner of BetMGM, Apricot Investments and Games Global.
Some of the partners, like Betway and Bet99, were also in operations in the unauthorized gray markets in Ontario and urged strongly for the licensing and proper taxation structure. The flutter strongly vouch for the players’ safety, advertising and responsible gambling and also generating growing revenue for the government.
At the moment, sports betting is only possible through Loto-Quebec’s Mise-o-jeu in the province. The coalition aims to assist the authority of Quebec in forming an autonomous regulatory body and a framework for commercial online betting. As Ontario’s sports betting regulators keep touting their success despite very little clarity in operation, the pleaders suggest that following a similar path to its provincial neighbor can lead Quebec to success.
State officials in the United States are requesting federal aid in putting a stop to illegal black-market operators in the nation, prompting the push to open more provincial regions to private operators. Operators are keen to access Canada’s second-most populated province, Ontario, which is presently available to private iGaming businesses. 8.7 million people live in Quebec, which is about the same number as Virginia.
Some of the results of a recent Leger Marketing poll of Quebecers regarding gambling in the province served as inspiration for the establishment of the QOGC. According to the study, 66% of respondents favored regulating private online gambling operators through a license-and-tax outline, and 71% of Quebecers questioned believe the provincial government could not stop such operators (who may be held elsewhere or outside the province, but not by the region itself).
The sole legal online sportsbook in Quebec is Loto-Quebec, but several others exist in Ontario. Additionally, the coalition is just beginning the conversation, whereas the Ontario iGaming model developed over the years to take its shape. So much development in Quebec also needs time. The Ontario government opened a competitive market for online casinos and sports betting in April 2022. Furthermore, in addition to Loto-Québec’s similar digital activities in Ontario, which are managed by the publicly owned Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., The governing body currently encompasses more than 70 gaming websites. Within a year of operation, Ontario’s system has earned $1.4 billion in gross revenue and more than $35 billion in total wagering (including poker, casinos, and sports betting).
One of the private players in Canada, NorthStar Gaming Holdings Inc., has encountered massive wagering in Ontario.
Before politicians amended the Criminal Code in 2021, it took years for single-game wagering to be legalized in Canada. The Online Gambling Task Force suggested that Québec establish a licensing authority for private operators in 2014.
Nearly ten years later, only Ontario has let private operators into the Canadian online gaming market, despite Canada having authorized single-game wagering. The pressure and detailed framework proposal might be just what Quebec needs to cross the finish line.
Nevertheless, the uncontrolled gray market is still in operation in provinces other than Ontario for the time being.
Last Updated: July 28, 2023