Besides Ontario, Canadian provinces have been slow to open up their online gambling markets to private sector igaming companies. DraftKings, Betway, Bet99, and many other iGaming operators are trying to change that. The primarily US-based igaming mega companies have come together to form the base of the Québec Online Gaming Coalition (QOGC) advocacy group.
The QOGC and its members are hoping to convince the Québéc government to develop a regulatory framework allowing for legal private sector iGaming operators in the province. As of now, all gambling in Québec is run through the Québec lottery company, Loto-Québec.
- 66% of Quebecers are in favor of regulating private online gaming operators through a licensing and tax regime.
- “The Coalition would like to build on the Ontario model of online gaming regulation that came into effect in early 2022.”
- Ontario is estimated to have raked in more than $380 million in its first year of legal private sector igGming.
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QOGC guided by recent polling
The QOGC was officially created on May 23, but the groundwork for this new advocacy group was laid much earlier through market research polls. Leger Marketing, the biggest market research company in Canada, polled Québec citizens about online gambling. The results of this poll led to the formal creation of the QOGC. Additionally, QOGC has said the specific findings of the Leger Marketing poll serve as guideposts for what they hope to achieve in Québec.
According to Leger Marketing, 66% of Quebecers are in favor of regulating private online gaming operators through a licensing and tax regime. They also say that 71% of Quebecers feel the government cannot block private online gaming companies under the current system. If this information is to be believed, Quebecers are very much in favor of regulating and taxing private sector online gambling companies. This acceptance of legal sports betting sites is spreading across Canada.
Quebecers also have thoughts on how taxes earned from igaming operators should be spent. 75% of respondents to the Leger Marketing poll believe igaming tax revenues should go towards funding responsible gambling and anti-gambling addiction programs. 64% believe iGaming taxes should be used on additional government programs as well.
Ontario is the template for private igaming operators
A significant section of the QOGC foundational document focused on the Ontario iGaming regulatory regime. Specifically, QOGC says, “The Coalition would like to build on the Ontario model of online gaming regulation that came into effect in early 2022.”
For those unfamiliar, Ontario launched a new agency, iGaming Ontario, alongside the existing Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), to regulate online gambling operators in Ontario. Operators must get licenses from iGaming Ontario and AGCO before they are able to legally operate in Ontario.
Ontario has really been the testgrounds for legal sports betting in Canada.
By every published metric, Ontario’s new program has been a huge success. iGaming Ontario published information on revenue and player behavior earlier this year to celebrate the one-year anniversary of iGaming Ontario and Ontario’s new igaming regulatory regime. iGaming Ontario’s report showed private sector companies earned $1.6 billion in revenue in the first year.
iGaming Ontario’s report also included information from an Ipsos survey conducted in March 2023 that showed 85.3% of Ontario players gambled with a licensed and legal igaming operator. QOGC included this information in their announcement as evidence that a new regulatory licensing regime in Québec would significantly cut back on the amount of gambling at illegal black market and offshore “gray market” sites.
QOGC predicts big tax revenues for Québec
The QOGC’s main argument for a new iGaming regulatory regime in Québec is the amount of money private sector operators could bring in for the province. QOGC said in its statement, “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.”
The Coalition does not specifically point out how much they predict Québec could bring in. However, the QOGC pointed out that Ontario is estimated to have raked in more than $380 million in its first year of legal private sector igaming.
Ontario is arguably a more ripe igaming market than Québec due to the number of sports teams and larger population. However, Québec has strong potential to become a force in its own right. According to the Coalition’s statement, Québec’s earning potential is one of the many things the QOGC plan on studying in the coming months.
Noah Strang is an experienced sports writer having covered many professional sports leagues across North America. He has worked extensively covering the NHL and been accredited media for the Vegas Golden Knights in the past. He’s also known as one of the best iGaming writers across Canada with extensive experience covering the development of legal sports betting across the country. He was born and raised in Vancouver, BC, and enjoys taking advantage of the coastline. When not writing, you can find him watching whatever sport is on TV or playing pickup basketball.