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A breach in Loto-Québec’s monopoly

Montreal, July 24, 2018 – The Quebec Superior Court handed down a decision yesterday in the online gaming file: Loto-Québec will not be able to have foreign gambling sites blocked. Beyond the matter of jurisdiction that was before the court, this breach in the government-owned corporation’s monopoly is a step in the right direction.

According to Vincent Geloso, Associate Researcher at the MEI, the fact that access to such sites is illegal is an aberration. “Preventing Quebecers from gambling online on foreign websites is incompatible with the values of a free and democratic society,” declares the economist.

There is no doubt that this vice is profitable for the government. “For the 2016-2017 fiscal year, Loto-Québec paid over $1.2 billion to the Quebec government. But there’s no need to maintain a monopoly in order for gambling to be profitable for the government. It’s simply a matter of taxation, as in the case of fuel taxes,” adds the researcher.

“It would just make sense for private companies to be able to provide this kind of service online. There is no valid reason in 2018 for the government to maintain a monopoly over an online activity. If people elsewhere can handle it, why wouldn’t Quebecers be able to?” asks Vincent Geloso.

While Loto-Québec’s online gaming platform is growing, it still represents less than half of bets placed by Quebecers on the internet. “The government should be realistic: Loto-Québec is not the best entity to satisfy the demands of the modern consumer. The private sector could meet this demand more effectively within a regulated market, as is the case elsewhere,” concludes the economist.

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The MEI is an independent public policy think tank. Through its publications and media appearances, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing reforms based on market principles and entrepreneurship.

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Interview requests: Daniel Dufort, Director of External Relations, Communications, and Development, MEI / Tel.: 514-273-0969 ext. 2224 / Cell.: 438-886-9919 / Email: ddufort@iedm.org

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