New Quebec Gambling Law Puts Amaya Inc Under Pressure
Loto-Quebec, the state-owned gaming operator in Quebec has said that it is preparing a list of unlicensed online gaming operators who are to be blacklisted.
Loto-Quebec has exclusive rights over online gaming in Quebec and operates the site Espacejeux.
Once prepared Loto-Quebec will send this blacklist to the regional online gambling regulator, Régie des Courses et des Jeux du Québec (RACJ) after which it will be shared with all internet service providers (ISP) in Quebec who will be required to block these blacklisted gambling sites.
This move by Loto-Quebec comes on the back of a recent law passed by Quebec lawmakers that bans unlicensed online gambling operators in the region. The new law came into force on May 18. The law was mooted to curb unlicensed operators who are dominating the online gaming space in Quebec, taking 90 percent of the share and leaving Loto-Quebec with a mere 10 percent.
Quebec legislators believe that the new law will enable Loto-Quebec to claim a predominant position in the market and protect players from unlicensed sites. The law is however a death knell for many offshore gaming sites operating in Quebec. Amaya Inc, the parent company of PokerStars, the world’s biggest poker site will also be impacted due to this new law.
PokerStars will need to either exit the market or enter into an agreement with Loto-Quebec since the company cannot afford to be blacklisted. A number of international markets such as New Jersey have regulations in place that do not allow the issuance of gambling licenses to operators that have been blacklisted in any part of the world.
The Canadian gaming company has been in discussions with Loto-Quebec for the last 24 months to enter into a partnership but no agreement has been reached so far. According to the new law, every blacklisted company has up to six months to enter into an agreement with Loto-Quebec and obtain approval to function.
In a statement, Eric Hollreiser, head of corporate communications Amaya said,
As the global leader in online gaming, Amaya would happily expand its existing partnership with Loto-Quebec to go through the necessary process to become an online solutions supplier accredited by Loto-Quebec and to help define the future online gaming guidelines.
Amaya has supported the law saying that it offers necessary protection to players within Quebec. Quite a few gambling operators such as Ladbrokes however have chosen to pull out from the market citing regulatory concerns.