Canada’s Loto-Quebec to Offer Online Gaming

18th November 2009 9:26 am GMT

In a speech Tuesday ahead of the fortieth anniversary of the creation of Loto-Quebec, Alain Cousineau, President and CEO of the Canadian lottery provider, said that the corporation must reinvent itself in response to the growth of online gambling, which he described as a huge and probably irreversible worldwide trend.

Mr. Cousineau told members of the Montreal Board of Trade that the corporation's customers were increasingly participating in online games, creating an estimated CAD$675 million market in 2008 which is expected to exceed $1 billion in 2012.

In response to this trend, Cousineau said that the corporation was supporting a cooperation agreement with the five other provinces which already offer online gaming, an agreement resembling the partnership which enables all lottery corporations to offer the Lotto Max lottery draw nationwide.

Loto-Québec is also planning to submit a proposal to government to set out guidelines for online gaming which could see it launch online poker and sports betting by the middle of next year.

"The lottery sector has changed greatly over the past 40 years," said Cousineau. "Loto-Québec's new products will, therefore, need to incorporate such factors as competition, decision-making and skill, in addition to the fun of playing. That is a major challenge, but meeting it successfully is critical if we are to maintain our products' competitiveness.

"The growth in online gambling is a huge and probably irreversible worldwide trend. Annual revenues drawn from Quebec are conservatively estimated at around $80 million, which is a sharp increase from the $50 million drawn in 2006," he said.

The Loto-Quebec CEO added that the corporation has demonstrated many times over its ability to adapt to changes, and that with the emergence of online gambling, it has no other choice but to adjust to this new wave.

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