Quebec Online Casino Guide: Homegrown vs International Regulation
For years, Quebecois have been taking advantage of internationally regulated online casino websites to place wagers over the internet. Then in late 2010, the province launched EspaceJeux.com, a Quebec online casino regulated by it’s own gaming authority, Loto-Quebec. Six years later, residents are still at odds to which operators they do business with.
The following is a comprehensive guide that details the advantages and inferiority between the two from a player’s perspective. We’ll also delve into the legal standpoint, and whether it’s relative to the argument at this time.
Benefits of Quebec Online Casino Regulation
The use of EspaceJeux provides advantages for both players and the provincial government.
By authorizing and regulating its own, homegrown online casino, Loto-Quebec is able to provide its citizens with peace of mind. Players are promised a safe, secure gaming experience where all financial transactions and information processing is protected by their own government.
EspaceJeux.com went live on December 1, 2010, providing customers with a variety of online poker games, as well as popular casino games like slots, blackjack, baccarat, roulette and more. In 2011, the online poker side of the business was conjoined with that of British Columbia’s PlayNow poker room, sharing liquidity among players.
As for government’s benefits, the Quebec online casino is also able to collect taxes, which puts money back into the province to help support local organizations, charities and community programs that benefit the region.
Taxation has long been the number one argument of government officials, who are reasonably irritated by the amount of money flowing into offshore accounts – money they have no jurisdiction to collect taxes on.
While there are no genuine statistics reporting how many Canadians gambling online with unregulated websites, it’s been identified that they contribute to an estimated $4 billion each year to offshore sports betting alone. That figure would rise substantially if internet casino, poker and other gambling forms were added to the equation.
Benefits of Internationally Regulated Casinos
You will find absolutely no benefits for the provincial government in this section, but the advantages for Quebec online casino players are many.
The promotional aspect is the most attractive for players. While Quebec limits the type and value of promotional offerings on EspaceJeux, international operators are not restricted, and therefore tend to provide much more frequent and valuable promotions to their players, including bonus offers, free spins, VIP perks and more.
Game variety is another asset enjoyed by players at offshore gambling websites. Quebec online casino regulators have only authorized a specific strain of gambling amusements, and even some of the most popular varieties are missing. For instance, you won’t find any Craps tables on EspaceJeux. The video poker selection is also quite limited, with only half a dozen options listed. For video poker fans, the ability to access 4x as many at offshore online casinos like Royal Vegas makes a pretty big difference.
The largest argument for internationally regulated gambling sites comes from sports betting enthusiasts. In Quebec, sports betting is only legal when wagers are placed as parlays, meaning punters must select 3+ winners, and all must win to receive a payout. Overseas sportsbooks offer a plethora of betting options, including single-event betting. And on top of that, they also provide those superior promotions noted above.
Even poker players are often drawn away from homegrown gaming options. Despite Quebec’s efforts to expand the player base by sharing liquidity with their neighbors in BC, that network only caters to a couple hundreds ring game players at peak hours – not nearly as attractive as some of the internationally regulated gambling websites that average thousands of players on the felt at any given time.
The trade-off for players is that Quebec can’t guarantee their security or financial safety with websites that aren’t provincially regulated. However, so long as the operator is reputable, and is supervised by a distinguished international regulatory body, it should provide its players with the same level of security.
iGaming From a Legal Perspective
There’s a common question circulating the province. Is it illegal for Quebecois to gambling at internationally regulated websites?
Unfortunately, the answer tends to vary, depending on who you ask.
Online gambling continues to fall into a grey area of the law. According to Quebec online casino regulators and many government officials, the answer is yes… sort of.
Some say it’s illegal for players to wager at offshore gaming websites. Others say it’s not illegal for the players, but that operators are violating the law by accepting players from Quebec. And then there are those who don’t hold government office, but do carry impressive law degrees – the experts, as we often call them – who say the Criminal Code of Canada does nothing to deem offshore online casinos illegal.
Technically speaking, the law only prohibits any operator with a physical presence on Canadian land, that isn’t regulated by a Canadian authority, from accepting Canadian wagers. That sentiment was confirmed by legal expert Michael Lipton, Q. C., a partner with the law firm Dickinson Wright, LLP, who specializes in ‘compliance, governance and due diligence requirements integral to the gaming industry’.
“There have been no recent prosecutions — none whatsoever,” said Lipton earlier this year. “There have only been two prosecutions ever in Canada in relation to Internet gaming and both involved servers located in Canada. One was in 2001, the other was in 2007.”
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