Loto Quebec came out strongly against criticism leveled at it regarding the decision to introduce online gambling to the province by fall this year. The state run corporation is hoping to bring in $50 million in revenue by 2013 and is doing all it can to introduce the poker and casino sites this year.
However, regional health officials have cited research that online gambling can lead to an increase in problem gambling and have therefore called for a 12 month moratorium on the decision. The officials said that this time could be used to conduct independent research on the potential ‘dangers’ of online gambling and to form social ethics sub committees at National Assembly level.
Health officials said that if it could be proved that online gambling was relatively ‘safe’ for the general public, the sites could open up over a 24 month transitional period.
A statement in response by Loto Quebec refuted the statistics quoted and said: “Regardless of what the regional public health officials say, it should be noted that Quebeckers currently have access to over 2 000 illegal and unregulated gaming sites that are of dubious integrity. Loto-Québec wants to channel the gaming offer in a controlled, safe environment with irreproachable integrity.”
While Loto Quebec’s generalization of all online casinos being of “dubious integrity” is not quite on target, its efforts to go ahead with its plans to legalize online gambling should be applauded.