Quebec online casino games help replace VLT revenue.
Not long ago, it was decided that video lottery terminals (VLTs) should no longer be so prevalent in Quebec, Canada –
especially in lower income areas of the province. Gaming regulators
began the slow but steady reduction of VLTs in 2017. The move was
expected to be a boon for reducing the level of harm these machines
can bring to players, but a bane for the amount of revenue Loto-Quebec is used to generating with each passing year.
The latest revenue reports are telling a much different story than
previously expected. Not only are the gambling-related tax coffers
still generating an influx of money, the lottery and gaming regulator
is seeing record breaking revenue in the 2018-19 fiscal year, and
they’ve got a host of new online casino games and budget-minded
productions to thank for it.
Lynne Roiter, President and CEO of Loto-Québec, comments:
“Over the past five fiscal years, even with our total revenues on the rise, we’ve maintained tight control over our expenses. That’s helped to improve our productivity… All of our business sectors are contributing to the increase in net income, which reflects the efforts being made right across the Corporation.”
Quebec Online Casino Games Compensate for VLTs
In the 2016-17
fiscal year, just before the reduction of VLTs went into
effect, Loto-Quebec reported consolidated revenue of $3.636 billion;
an increase of 2.1% on the previous year’s results. Of that, 50.3%
was attributed to lottery sales, 27.3% to gaming establishments,
22.4% to live and online casino offerings. Internet casino gaming
(minus online lottery) contributed $45.75 million to those stats.
year, as the video lottery first began to be pulled from
local bars, consolidated revenue still rose 3.7% to $3.77 billion.
Similarly, lottery sales made up 49.9% (-0.4%) of the totals, with
gaming establishments coming in at 26.7% (-0.6%) and casinos 23.4%
(+1.0%). This time, online casino gaming revenue came in at $64.31
million, up a whopping 40.6%.
Now, according to the latest financial
review released by Loto-Quebec – and with even more
high-yield VLTs gone from the province’s gaming landscape – revenue
is climbing so fast, it’s breaking records. Consolidated revenue came
in at $2.827 billion (after $1.16bn lottery payouts), up another 3.1%
year over year. Contribution rates are shifting, though. Lottery
sales contributed to 34.6% of total revenue (-15.3%), gaming
establishments 33.8% (+7.1%) and casinos 31.6% (+8.2%). Once more,
we’re seeing a significant boost in online gambling activity, with
revenue up 19.36% to $76.76 million.
Reduction in VLTs a Necessary Imposition
Quebec’s choice to reduce the number of VLTs was not an easy one, but
a necessary one for the sake of the gaming public. There’s been an
overwhelming increase in the number of lawsuits against the
manufacturers and operators of these games, accusing them of
developing the machines to be intentionally predatory in nature.
Their design, say opponents of the devices, is such that it
encourages and perpetuates at-risk and problem gambling behavior.
In an effort to reduce harm, Quebec wrote up a new formula for how
many (if any) machines could be located in any given community. There
may now be only two gaming establishments per 5,000 inhabitants, and
only two machines per 1,000 inhabitants. Officials confirmed in
February that the approximate 12,000 machines present in January of
2017 have been reduced to less than 10,000.
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