As the largest of all the 13 Canadian provinces and surpassed in size only by the territory of Nanavut, surprisingly enough Quebec doesn’t necessarily host the heaviest concentration of gambling aficionados as one might think. It’s not because there aren’t enough options. If anything, there aren’t enough stakers for the plethora of gambling activities the province boasts.
The majority of the population is concentrated along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River, in between the heaviest populated Montreal (approximately 4 million residents) and the capital city.
The primary regulatory body of the province is RACJ (Régie des Alcools, des Courses et des Jeux) which focuses on ensuring the safety and transparency of players across all gambling activities offered locally. Even so, gamblers might be more acquainted with the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) that oversees poker rooms and online casinos within the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. Betway and Zodiac Casino – two giant operators – are currently regulated by the KGS, for example.
Quebec’s Collection of Gambling Activities
If you’re thinking about land-based options, just know that in spite of its sheer size, Quebec has only four brick-and-mortar casinos:
- Casino de Montreal
- Casino du Lac-Leamy
- Casino de Mont-Tremblant
- Casino de Charlevoix
However, all establishments offer a great diversity of gambling activities. For example, the exquisite Casino de Montreal is composed of three main buildings that houses over 3,000 fruit machines, 25 poker tables, and 100 table games, apart from four restaurants and two bars. It has been reported that approximately 20,000 players come through the casino’s doors on a daily basis.
In addition to this, Quebec also offers two gaming halls – Quebec City Gaming Hall and Trois-Rivieres Gaming Hall – that also contain virtual lottery terminals, keno, blackjack, electronic roulette, and slot machines, apart from live racing events.
Lottery is another big aspect of any Quebecer’s thrill seeker, as this particular gambling activity has been enjoying massive success for the past half century and doesn’t give any signs of letting up anytime soon.
Loto-Quebec (the government proprietary operator) is in charge with overseeing and upkeeping fair and transparent practices across all gambling-related activity, including lottery, keno, kinzo, and bingo events. Espacejeux.com is a product of Loto-Quebec and boasts over 35 lottery games, including Lotto 6/49 and Lotto Max, on top of a relatively modest array of slots acquired through some of the most reputable game providers on the market (the likes of Microgaming, Interactive, IGT). In total, there are nearly 40 bingo halls and 4,000 retail lottery outlets sprinkled across Quebec and regularized by Loto-Quebec.
Life as a Quebec Online Gaming Enthusiast
About 66% of Quebecers partake in gambling activities, on average. With such compelling offering (only made broader by offshore casinos), it is understandable that keeping true to the strong cultural heritage surrounding Canuck gambling comes natural in such a favorable environment. Also, Quebec is one of the few gambling jurisdictions where players are allowed to join in on games of chance once they turn 18.
There are no restrictions relating to offshore casinos, so gamblers looking for more diversity than the local ventures have to offer can rest assured that there are plenty of choices. Moreover, there are no taxes on real money winnings – unless you make a living out of professional gambling.
Might be just superstition, but the province proved rather lucky for quite a few thrill-seekers. One of the biggest wins ever recorded at Casino de Montreal came in the form of an astounding $1.7 million Jackpot, out of a $15 bet on the Powerbucks progressive slot linked to venues across Manitoba and Columbia.
Quebec Officials’ Support for Local Gamblers
Players seeking help can visit any “Centru du Hasard” kiosk found in all Quebec gambling establishments, Trois-Rivieres, and Loto-Quebec’s Montreal headquarters. The central purposes of these outlets are to:
- Raise awareness in regards to all forms of gambling
- Educate locals and tourists on the nature of gambling activities
- Suggest strategies to counteract problem gambling
Not only that, but according to the official Loto-Quebec website, gaming hall employees are meticulously trained to detect signs of problem gambling. In turn, security agents on location are alerted to tend to such customers until health counselors from crisis or addiction rehabilitation centers arrive on the scene. Alternatively, there is also a bilingual, free-of-charge self-exclusion program in place to which players can refer to. Ultimately, players concerned about their gambling habits can refer to the designated Gambling: Help and Referral help line that is constantly displayed on the screens of every slot machine (1-800-461-0140).