Loto-Québec ‘Exploring’ Sports Betting at Casinos and Gaming Halls

The comments come more than a year after single-game sports betting was made available to the provinces, but as retail-wagering experiences remain limited.

Oct 13, 2022 • 16:04 ET • 3 min read
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The only legal provider of sports betting in Quebec says it is looking into taking event wagers at its casinos and gaming halls in la belle province

A spokesperson for Loto-Québec confirmed the government-owned corporation’s interest in both in-person wagering at casinos and online sports betting, the latter of which the company offers via its Mise-o-jeu+ sportsbook. 

Loto-Québec also offers a version of Mise-o-jeu that can be played at lottery retailers in the province, Canada’s second-most populous. And, like other provincial lotteries, Loto-Québec has been offering single-game sports betting since the federal government authorized that wagering in August 2021. 

However, the company doesn’t yet have brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at the four casinos and two gaming halls that it operates — at least not yet. 

“Loto-Québec is in fact exploring the idea of offering sports betting in its casinos and gaming halls,” spokesperson Renaud Dugas said in an email to Covers last week. 

A single-track mind

The comments come more than a year after single-game sports betting was made available to the provinces after a longstanding federal prohibition but as retail-wagering experiences remain limited for Canadian sports bettors.

One of the reasons for the legalization of singles was it could help brick-and-mortar gaming facilities in Canada. Those facilities were hard-hit by COVID-19-related restrictions and can face competition from rival casinos in the United States.

“Communities with existing casinos and other gaming operations, particularly along the Canada-U.S. border, could benefit from single event sport betting, especially in light of recent changes to gambling laws in the United States,” an August 2021 press release from the federal government said.

Nevertheless, while provinces have been quick to allow single-game sports betting over the internet, they’ve not been as quick to establish Las Vegas-like sportsbooks at physical casinos. 

In Ontario, for instance, the province has opened a competitive market for internet gaming that has more than 20 different operators taking bets. The province’s casinos, though, do not yet have brick-and-mortar sportsbooks taking single-game wagers. 

Loto-Québec recently reported that sports betting generated around $8.3 million in revenue from April 1 to June 27, an increase of 7.7% from last year's first quarter. The government-owned company also said there was a 33.3% increase in online sports betting sales compared to last year, before single-game wagering was legal in Canada. 

“Single-event betting, which was added to the gaming options in August 2021, is very popular with players and strongly encourages live betting,” Loto-Québec said in a press release.

Loto-Québec also reported a resurgence at its casinos and gaming halls during its first quarter. Revenue from that business line was $263.4 million for the three months, up 242% from a year earlier. 

But the company has had some headaches lately, such as a brief strike that disrupted lottery operations. CBC/Radio-Canada also reported this week that Loto-Québec reported almost $420 million in large cash transactions to Canada's anti-money laundering agency over the past six years. 

Even so, Loto-Québec says it is making headway in its fight against online sportsbooks that are not provincially regulated yet taking bets in the province.

“We launched a new phase of our 100% Legal campaign to remind people that lotoquebec.com is the only legal casino and sports betting website in Québec,” president and CEO Jean-François Bergeron said in a press release. “This campaign is part of our brand repositioning strategy and our effort to cement our place in the industry. It also highlights our integrity and our responsible gambling practices, which are a great source of pride for us.”

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