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  • David Boudeweel-Lefebvre

Towards an online betting monopoly? 

In Québec, the issue of online betting and its regulation by the state is the subject of renewed debate, as the government led by the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) considers introducing new legislation that would severely limit market access for companies other than Loto-Québec. This consideration by Finance Minister Éric Girard comes against a backdrop of declining government revenues and Loto-Québec's financial performance, which has fallen short of government expectations.


Québec's new legislative proposal is a direct response to the expanding activities of private companies in the province. Far from giving up, the government seems determined to regain control over a sector where Loto-Québec has only managed to capture less than 50% of online activity.


Loto-Québec's president recently stressed the importance of strengthening the state-owned company's position, not only to secure government revenues, but also to guarantee a responsible and reliable betting offering. However, Éric Girard's plan to restrict access for private operators is raising significant concerns among the technology companies that support the infrastructure of these betting platforms. The prospect of restrictive legislation in Québec could threaten their economic activity, as they provide essential services to a fast-growing sector.


Québec's approach seems to run counter to trends elsewhere in North America and the world. For example, Ontario has adopted an open regulatory approach since 2022, allowing private businesses to operate legally through a licensing system, generating significant revenues for the provincial treasury. This divergence raises the question of how to optimize online betting regulatory models and their effectiveness in generating revenue while controlling associated risks, such as betting addiction and fraud.


The desire to strictly regulate the sector also raises the fundamental question of the role of the state in regulating economic activities on the Internet. By attempting to limit access to web-based online betting platforms, the Québec government is venturing into complex territory where entrepreneurial freedom and consumer access to a diversity of services could be restricted.


As the end of the CAQ's current mandate approaches, the proposed legislation on online betting could become a political issue. It will test not only the government's ability to impose its vision of economic regulation, but also its sensitivity to the concerns of gamblers and businesses in the sector. The outcome of this debate could well redefine the future of online betting in Québec, in a context where financial, ethical and social issues are more interconnected than ever.



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