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Quebec May Start to Block Offshore Gambling Sites

April 13, 2015

Certainly those gambling interests in Canada that are government-backed or government-regulated were going to get to the point where they took some sort of action against gambling operators from outside the country who were able to attract business from their citizens. We are not saying that time has already come, but we can tell you that it has been proposed.

In a budget that has been offered to lawmakers in Québec, there is a provision that would provide for a "blacklist" of hundreds of online gambling sites that are headquartered offshore (i.e., in other countries) which would prevent them from being accessed through Internet service providers within the province. In other words, they are going to block the business from going outside the country, if at all possible.

So the sites will be listed as "illegal" by Loto-Québec, which controls the government-sanctioned gambling within the province. There will be amendments made to the Consumer Protection Act which will put that list of sites into "prohibited" status for any service provider. What's interesting about this is that it will undoubtedly create some kind of a conflict with the Kahnawake Mohawk territory, which licenses and regulates some of the sites, even though it is located within Québec, so that for all intents and purposes, they will have the same status as offshore sites.

Many people within the government of Québec don't consider the Kahnawake operation to be something that is sovereign, and there is a long history of tension, so there may be some things that have to be ironed out as a result of this amendment, especially if this budget gets passed.

For those who are unfamiliar, it is rather easy for residents of any province, including Québec, to access online gambling sites located outside Canadian jurisdiction; as easy as it is to access the Internet itself. Because those sites operate within an atmosphere of greater competition, they have better offers for consumers, and therefore have been able to attract enough business to make some of the government interests a little shaky.

It has been proposed in the past that something be worked into the law so that Canadian citizens not be permitted to access, and subsequently play on, the sites where their money is "going out of the country." Of course, this would be in favor of their own sponsored gambling sites, where they can collect taxes on the revenues. Québec would be the first province to do this, if indeed this amendment were to remain part of the budget bill, which is reportedly over 600 pages in length.

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