Sports betting and gaming enthusiasts in the province of Quebec enjoy a variety of gaming options, ranging from neighbourhood bars offering video slots to large-scale land-based casinos, and a growing number of provincially-operated paper-based and online lottery and sports betting games. Residents of Quebec can also take advantage of a number of online gaming, poker and sports betting sites that are operated offshore.
However, the current government monopoly on gaming and sports betting, which is regulated by the Quebec Alcohol, Racing and Gaming Commission (La Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux) forbids the operation of privately-owned online and land-based casinos, poker rooms and sportsbooks, with the exception of land-based poker rooms based on First Nations territories, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC).
Gaming Laws in Quebec
In the province of Quebec, gaming and sports betting are controlled by a number of laws, most notably the Act respecting racing, the Act respecting lotteries, publicity contests and amusement machines, and the Act respecting the Société des loteries du Québec.
The Quebec Alcohol, Racing and Gaming Commission (RACJ) was formed in 1993 to regulate, supervise and enforce the above laws and to certify gaming machines used in the province’s lotteries and land-based casinos, as well as ensure that gaming machines’ payout rate is statistically in line with advertised rates.
Established in 1969 to implement the province’s first public lotteries following their legalization by the Canadian federal government, today Loto-Quebec is mandated to own and operate a wide variety of games of chance, including lotteries, video lottery terminals (VLT), bingo halls, and a growing portfolio of online lotteries, casinos and sports betting games.
Loto-Quebec also operates a number of land-based casinos and their associated resort hotels, as well as gaming halls in Quebec City and Trois-Rivieres.
The corporation recently launched an online gaming portal called EspaceJeux.com, where players can take advantage of online casino games, poker rooms, Bingo, sports betting and lotteries.
Sports Betting in Quebec
Loto-Quebec currently operates sports betting games in the province of Quebec under the brand names Mise-o-jeu and Predictions.
Mise-o-jeu is an odds-based sports betting game that allows players to predict outcomes on two- to eight-event parlays. All selections must be correct for the parlay to be declared a winner. The minimum wager is $2, while the maximum wager on a Mise-o-jeu ticket is $100. Prop bets, which are referred to as single bets, are also available via Mise-o-jeu.
Predictions is a card-based game where the player wagers on the outcome of specific games or player/team props as outlined in a Predictions selection sheet, which are published every Thursday. Available sports include football, hockey, soccer, baseball and basketball. The cost to play Predictions is $5 per selection sheet, with the player or players with the most correct selections sharing a prize pool equal to 60% of total wagers.
No Single Team Sports Betting
Since single-team sports betting is illegal under Canada’s criminal code, Loto-Quebec offers no single-team sports betting games. Loto-Quebec’s parlay offerings also offer significantly poorer odds compared to online sportsbook options operated off-shore, with Loto-Quebec’s house edge on Mise-o-jeu wagers estimated to be as high as 30%, compared with single digits for online sportsbooks.
Poker and Casino in Quebec
Loto-Quebec owns and operates four land-based casinos across Quebec, including Casino du Montreal, Casino du Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Casino de Mont-Tremblant, and Casino de Charlevoix, located east of Quebec City.
In addition to the corporation’s gaming halls in Quebec City and Trois-Rivieres, an estimated 11,410 VLTs, also known as video poker machines, are in operation at privately owned and operated bars across the province.
Poker rooms are available at each of Loto-Quebec’s land-based casinos, while EspaceJeux.com offers an array of online video slots, electronic table games and video poker, as well as the opportunity to make online purchases of tickets for popular lotteries such as Lotto Max and Lotto 649.
Other Gaming Options in Quebec
While Loto-Quebec holds a legal monopoly on gaming operations in the province of Quebec, gaming and sports betting fans still enjoy many alternatives to some of Loto-Quebec’s limited options.
Online sportsbooks such as Bodog, Bet365, and 5Dimes have a growing customer base in Quebec. Established for many years, and known for their superior customer service and the availability of a wide variety of betting options with competitive odds, the online sportsbooks represent the biggest competition to Quebec’s sports betting offerings.
In addition, since they operate offshore, online sportsbooks can offer single-game betting options not available to sports betting fans playing Mise-o-jeu, as well as betting lines that change in real time and are in line with major land-based sportsbooks in Las Vegas.
Major online sportsbooks like Bodog and Bet365 also provide players with a complete online casino experience and online poker rooms, as well as comprehensive coverage of horse racing, both at many Canadian racetracks as well as major racetracks around the world.
However, recent news from the Quebec government has given cause for concern to sports betting fans looking for alternatives to Mise-o-jeu. The government has announced plans to block internet access to internationally licensed online gambling sites servicing customers in Quebec, in an effort to drive business to EspaceJeux.com.
The government’s proposed censorship of offshore sites has caused an uproar among gambling enthusiasts and free speech advocates, who will likely mount a court challenge to any restriction of access imposed by the province.
First Nations Poker Rooms
Poker players do not have to travel far to find a game. A growing number of land-based poker rooms are opening for business in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake, located just minutes from downtown Montreal.
Regulated by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, a number of the poker rooms are gaining strong international reputations for hosting some of the biggest events in competitive poker, including WSOP and WPT events.