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Loto-Québec announces the dates and conditions for the reopening of its gaming establishments, as well as the cost-saving measures affecting its operations and personnel

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Loto-Québec announces the dates and conditions for the reopening of its gaming establishments, as well as the cost-saving measures affecting its operations and personnel
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Loto-Québec will gradually reopen its establishments according to the following schedule, with operations adjusted to comply with physical distancing and hygiene standards:

  • Hilton Lac-Leamy: July 13
  • Casino de Charlevoix, Casino de Mont-Tremblant, Québec and Trois-Rivières gaming halls: July 16
  • Casino du Lac Leamy: July 23
  • Casino de Montréal: August 3
  • VLT and Kinzo network: July 7
  • Network bingo: July 3

As establishments reopen, the Corporation’s top priority will be to ensure that operations resume in such a way as to allow employees and customers to stay safe while enjoying a fun environment.

 

Rigorous safety measures, modified opening hours and an online reservation system

When Loto-Québec’s establishments reopen, customers will notice the following important changes to operations and on gaming floors, including:

  • New online reservation system for customers
  • Casino sectors will be limited to a maximum of 250 customers at a time
    • Québec City gaming hall(250 customers)
    • Trois-Rivières gaming hall(250 customers)
    • Casino de Charlevoix(250 customers)
    • Casino de Mont-Tremblant(250 customers)
    • Casino du Lac-Leamy(4 sectors with 250 customers = 1,000)
    • Casino de Montréal(6 sectors with 250 customers = 1,500)
  • Complete disinfection of each establishment every day and cleaning of gaming machines between customers
  • All employees on gaming floors required to wear procedural mask and, when required under CNESST standards, eye protection
  • Customers required to wear a mask or face covering
  • Directional signage people must follow to get from one location to another and two-metre physical distancing signage
  • Reconfiguration of gaming floors:
    • Slot machine activation that ensures physical distancing
    • Reduced number of players at gaming tables and installation of protective panels between the dealer and players
  • Availability of rubber-tipped stylets to avoid touching slot machines
  • No handling of cards or chips by the customer
  • Bars and show halls to remain closed for the time being
  • Snack food service only
  • New opening hours:

     

Casino de Mont-Tremblant and Casino de Charlevoix Casino du Lac-Leamy and Casino de Montréal Québec City and
Trois-Rivières gaming halls
Thursday: 11 a.m. to midnight

Friday: 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.

Saturday: 9 a.m. to 3 a.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m. to midnight

Every day: 9 a.m. to 4 a.m. Monday to Wednesday:

10 a.m. to midnight

Thursday to Sunday:

9 a.m. to 3 a.m.

 

All information on the reopening and applicable measures is available at https://casinos.lotoquebec.com/en/portal/establishments.

 

Savings measures affecting operations and personnel

Since the COVID-19 crisis has been affecting Loto-Québec’s commercial operations for over three months already and despite the announcement of the upcoming gradual reopening, the Corporation is forced to apply savings measures to its operations and all personnel. The decision was made in order to align staffing needs with the level of activities.

Indeed, casinos, gaming halls, video lottery terminals (VLTs) and Kinzo halls have been closed since March, and in-store lottery sales were suspended for six weeks, all of which resulted in a significant reduction in the Corporation’s activities and revenues. Loto-Québec must therefore revise operations to meet the pace at which commercial activities resume.

In an effort to maintain employment and expertise, the Corporation will implement measures that affect management personnel and employees as well as operating and capital budgets in corporate and business sectors. The measures to be implemented are as follows:

 

  • Significant reduction in operating and capital budgets in all corporate and business sectors for 2020-2021
  • Temporary layoffs in various sectors (particularly 2,250 operations employees in casinos and gaming halls)
  • Cancellation of supernumerary employee contracts
  • Salary freeze and cancellation of all bonuses for management personnel for 2020-2021
  • Hiring freeze
  • Temporary reduction of the work week

Meetings with management personnel, union representatives and employees from all sectors were held yesterday and today to inform them of the decisions, explain the situation and address concerns.

Canada

The Future For The Online Gambling Market in Canada

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The Future For The Online Gambling Market in Canada
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

This week Private Members Bill C-218 to legalise single event sports betting in Canada received Royal Assent.

This seismic event paves the way for a dramatic change in the gambling industry in Canada with the opportunity for provincial government-run sites like PlayNow in British Colombia and the OLG in Ontario to add sports betting markets to their product portfolios, and, should they choose, each province to open up the market for private betting firms to be licensed to operate in the territory.

Before now punters in Canada could only bet on the outcome of individual games at sports by using offshore gambling sites. Bettors must use review sites like thecasinoheat.ca if they want to find out where they can play with safe operators who are licensed outside of Canada in jurisdictions like Malta or Gibraltar.

So to the future, and much like the situation in the United States, where legalisation of sports betting is happening state by state and with different rules and regulations in each one, so the same is expected for the provinces of Canada.

Bill C-218 broadly allows for single-game bets in Canada, allowing either the province, or a business or other entity licensed by the province to run a ‘lottery scheme’ in which single event bets are taken.

However, how this scheme is executed is down to each individual government.

 

Ontario

It is widely expected that the private sector will play a big part of the gambling market, both online and offline in the next decade, with Ontario leading the way in making plans for a fully regulated and competitive market much like that being built south of the border.

Indeed, Ontario’s plans for a new iGaming market are intended to come to fruition in late 2021, and whilst the specifics are not yet clear, it is expected that they will include both sports betting and casino and other games provided by private companies.

A discussion paper published by the Ontario government in March 2021 suggests that revenue share agreements between private companies and a newly formed Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) would be the best way to move forward, with firms paying a share of all revenues generated through games and betting to the AGCO rather than through taxation.

With this model, and by leveraging existing game and platform testing and auditing required for alternative jurisdictions, it is believed that private companies could be up and running by the end of the year.

So in Ontario, the future is very much for the existing government-owned Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) to exist alongside new betting firms operating in the province, with single event sports betting added to its OLG website as soon as it is legal to do so, maybe even by September.

 

British Columbia and the Other Provinces

Whilst Ontario has taken the lead with its discussion paper and moves to establish the groundwork for a new gambling market that will include casino and poker products from established betting firms, in other provinces the focus for now is solely on capitalising on the opportunities provided by the legalisation of sports betting.

In British Colombia the British Colombia Lottery Corporation plans to implement new betting markets on its PlayNow website as soon as they legally can, with in-person betting at land-based casinos expected to follow in the longer term.

The same is likely to happen in Alberta where the government-run PlayAlberta website is set to add betting markets later this year. Meanwhile, land-based venues may offer the opportunity for single event sports betting at a later date.

 

Conclusion

Canada has been a long time in catching up with the other regulated gambling markets in Europe and the States, but with the passing of Bill C-218 and now Royal Assent, the opportunity has arrived to provide bettors with safe and competitive products, whilst bringing much-needed revenues into the government that had previously been going to offshore firms. The new bill will also hasten the move towards a new framework for all types of online gambling in Canada in which private operators running casino games will also be able to take bets from punters there legally for the first time.

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Canada

Can Canada Take Lessons From European Nations Who’ve Legalised Sports Betting?

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Can Canada Take Lessons From European Nations Who’ve Legalised Sports Betting?
Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

Canada is another step closer to legalizing single-event sports betting, with a new bill proposing to overturn a federal ban on this kind of wagering recently securing approval in the House of Commons.

Currently, Canadian law only allows for parlay bets, meaning wagers must be placed on multiple selections, all of which have to come good for the parlay to win. If Bill C-218 becomes law, however, the market will potentially be opened up to sportsbooks offering single-event bets. It will signal the start of a new era, just as the overturning of a similar federal law in the US did in 2018.

Although technically outlawed, single-event gambling has not been impossible in Canada. Speaking in parliament, MP Kevin Waugh pointed out that single-event sports gambling is a $14 billion dollar industry in Canada, with the money going into the pockets of off-shore betting sites and black market bookies.

Summing up the problem with illegal betting, Waugh said, “There are no consumer protections in place. There are no problem gambling programs offered and no guidelines that bookmakers are required to follow. This also means that the economic benefits are not being felt by Canadians.”

While Canada may be poised to enjoy a big cash injection through the legalisation of single-event sports betting, what about the issues that come with opening up legal gambling? Canada will inevitably want to look at other nations which have long since allowed it, and learn lessons from the challenges and controversies they’ve dealt with.

 

Problem gambling and young fans

One of the issues with opening up sports betting is the potential risk of a rise in problem gambling. According to a study by the University of Guelph, sports bettors are at a higher risk of problem gambling compared to other types of gamblers. However, the problem isn’t so much with sports betting itself, as it is with the typical personalities of people who enjoy betting on sports. According to the researchers, sports gamblers tend to have a more optimistic, idealistic attitude towards gambling compared to non-sports gamblers.

Since the US Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) in 2018, a whole string of states have chosen to allow legal sports betting, yielding useful data on gambling patterns. A large-scale study by the American Gaming Association shows that 69% of sports bettors are male, with 45% in the 23-34 year old age bracket.

The takeaway from such research is that gaming authorities and charities in Canada may need to focus particular attention on younger, male gamblers who can so often fall into risky behaviour patterns. At the same time, lessons should also be learned from countries like the UK, where the widespread availability of betting sites on platforms like smartphones has seen a steep rise in women problem gamblers. Experts have highlighted that social stigma rooted in expectations that women are level-headed “caregivers” can lead to females flying under the radar when it comes to gambling addiction.

The UK has a long-established sports betting market, with gambling being further opened up with the Gambling Act 2005. An issue that has caused concern is the potential targeting of adolescents by gambling firms. A recent University of Stirling study showed that 96% of 11-24 year olds had seen some sort of gambling marketing in the previous month.

While there have been attempts to mitigate the issue – for example, by banning gambling adverts during live sports games broadcast before 9pm – controlling the problem on social media has become more of a challenge. Social media accounts for betting companies may feature content that’s interesting to young sports fans, especially when it comes to esports. This is another potential minefield that legislators in Canada may have to navigate.

 

Normalization of sports betting

Canadian lawmakers may also want to consider the significant controversy around how marketing sports betting can inextricably link sports with gambling within the culture. One of the countries with the highest gambling losses per adult is Australia. In 2017-18, this stood at a huge $1,292 AUD per adult for the year, with sports betting losses seeing the largest percentage increase. A 2017 article in the Harm Reduction Journal explored the normalisation of gambling in sports, and concluded that marketing aimed at young men was strongly linked to this mindset.

Many participants in the Australian study talked about how sports commentary links the game with gambling, using specific betting language and focusing on performances and stats. Some sports broadcasts rely on odds given by bookmakers, even crossing over to them during the broadcast to give live odds. In the words of the report, “Most participants stated that crossing to bookmakers throughout the match had become such a normal part of the game that they rarely thought to challenge the presence of these forms of promotions”.

In the UK, there’s been fiery debates around gambling companies advertising on soccer shirts. Eight Premier League teams currently advertise gambling companies on their team kit, while money from the gambling industry is also poured into lower-level leagues. Campaigners in the UK have long been voicing strong opposition to this influence, though they have had pushback from figures within football who cite the lifeline that lucrative sponsorships have brought the sport, particularly during the economic catastrophe of Covid-19. A new era of sports gambling in Canada may well bring such debates to the Great White North.

 

Creating laws and setting limits

Another challenge is getting gambling legislation right. For example, the UK’s Gambling Act 2005 was written at a time when online sports betting was still evolving, before the rise of smartphones made it accessible in an unprecedented way. The UK is set to update its gambling laws in 2021, and it’s speculated that there may be sweeping changes regarding online stake limits, deposit payment methods, and advertising. There will also be a review of VIP and loyalty schemes, which often target sports bettors, and can carry a higher risk of fraud and problem gaming.

Right now, many companies operating within the industry – including sites aimed at Canadian bettors – make a point of applying their own regulatory standards. For example, affiliate site BestOnlineCasino.ca vets its listed operators, making sure they meet compliance standards before recommending them to users.

Reputable online casinos and sportsbooks also have their own policies and tools to help people gamble responsibly, from deposit limits to algorithms that can detect risky behaviour.

The upshot is that, if and when Canada brings in single-event sports betting, it will have other countries’ experiences to draw on, and legislators will no doubt be looking around to see what kind of laws have been introduced and what’ll need to be included from day one.

As such, it could be argued that Canada has a significant advantage over other countries which implemented sports betting years or decades ago. While places like the UK have had to tweak and adapt legislation over time (with the UK Gambling Commission recently slapping online casinos with new rules on how slot games operate, for example), Canada will have a much clearer view of the ramifications of sports betting. It’s clear that the lawmakers know the potential impact of legalisation, but now it’s up to them to ensure they build a framework for safe and fair gambling in the country.

 

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Canada

Fortuna Gaming: Wizard Slots Launches in Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand

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Fortuna Gaming: Why King Casino Is Becoming One of The Most Popular Online Casino's in The World
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A new online casino has launched in Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand.

Wizard Slots, which is home to over 500 slot games, will now be accessible in Canada Ireland, and New Zealand to players over the legal gambling age. Wizard Slots is a popular slot game website in the United Kingdom, and the company is now expanding to other locations across the world.

Online gambling is a large worldwide industry and it continues to expand along with changing laws and legal practices.

With the launch of Wizard Slots in Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand more than 500 slot games will now be available online to players of legal gambling age. Games include famous titles such as Fluffy Favourite Slots and Starburst Game, which are two of the most popular online slot titles in the UK.

Wizard Slots is a casino website that requires players to create an account before they can access any of the slot games or promotions available online. The website boasts new games being released weekly, and it is currently one of the most popular online casinos in the UK for slot games.

Online slot games are a form of gambling where the objective of the game is to spin the reel and match symbols. This is the most popular form of online gambling in the UK, which has caused Wizard Slots to expand their reach to be accessible in countries such as Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand.

Wizard Slots is an online casino that is accessible on desktop, mobile, and tablet devices in the UK and now Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand following the launch.

The company is fully authorised and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission for players within the United Kingdom. They also are now regulated under the AGCC in their new locations, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand.

For more information regarding the regulation of Wizard Slots and responsible gambling, please see the website: https://www.wizardslots.com/

Fortuna Gaming owns and operates over 20 casino brands throughout different GEO’s that includes Wizard Slots.

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