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Quebec Government Starts Pushing Online Gambling Legalization

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Months ago, Loto-Quebec announced its intentions to start offering online gambling services. All that was needed was the approval of the government, and this week, Finance Minister Raymond Bachand confirmed that legalization was in the works.

The cabinet has now approved the move towards online gambling, although it was done more for the purposes of ridding Quebec of illegal Internet gambling operations. The underground market is expected to take a big hit once Loto-Quebec begins online gambling operations.

Sweden is being used as the model for safeguards and other operational activities for the Internet gambling. Sweden has become one of the top countries for online poker, and Quebec hopes they can create a similar monopoly.

Currently, it is estimated that around $80 million a year is being spent by Canadians on Internet poker. That number could be driven up if people have the comfort of knowing they are dealing with a reputable site.

Across the border in the US, there are also talks under way in government about overturning the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The UIGEA was created in 2006, but has not had its rules published yet. That was supposed to occur back in December, but Rep. Barney Frank and other lawmakers were successful in having the rules delayed for six months.

The process could take several years before peak revenue is seen, but Bachand believes that by 2012, revenue could reach $50 million annually. That would be a much needed source of income during these tough global economic times.

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