Le Lézard
Classified in: Tourism and vacations
Subject: AVO

A missed opportunity - Loto-Québec withdraws its proposal to open a gaming hall in downtown Montréal

MONTRÉAL, Sept. 19, 2023 /CNW/ - After learning of the Direction générale de la santé publique's position, Loto-Québec has decided to withdraw its proposal to open a gaming hall in downtown Montréal, despite provisions that would have allowed the project to go forward. Right now, conditions are not favourable to its success.

Aware of the fact that gambling?and video lottery terminals (VLTs) in particular?poses a certain risk, Loto-Québec had come up with a responsible proposal to reduce their accessibility and remove 600 VLTs currently located in bars in disadvantaged areas on the island of Montréal. Ultimately, 20% of VLTs would have been withdrawn, and the number of establishments in Montréal equipped with VLTs would have dropped by 20%.

Loto-Québec understands that the Direction générale de la santé publique saw some aspects of the gaming hall's location as risky: the fact that it would have been right next to the Bell Centre in downtown Montréal, and would have been tied to Groupe CH, a highly visible and beloved brand.

Although Loto-Québec respects the Direction générale de la santé publique's position, it does believe this was a missed opportunity. Responsible marketing practices?like introducing a range of entertainment options designed to encourage social interaction and provide a safe, responsible environment for gambling?would have been implemented.

Comments from Jean-François Bergeron, President and Chief Executive Officer of Loto-Québec

"We're convinced that revamping our land-based model would allow us to better meet today's challenges and needs. Not doing anything does not amount to a solution. Neither does reducing supply without providing new options to meet player demand." 

"By no means does Loto-Québec's future rest solely on the proposed Bell Centre project, but we are disappointed that the project isn't going through."

"I want to thank all those involved in the project, like the public health teams, the City of Montréal, and most importantly Groupe CH, for their cooperation over the last two years. I commend Groupe CH on being one of the few professional teams that refuse to do business with illegal gambling operators."

SOURCE Loto-Québec

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