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Loto-Québec joins online gambling scene

Friday, November 19th, 2010 | 12:01 pm

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Quebec's gaming authority is branching out from traditional casinos and video lottery terminals into the lucrative world of online gambling.

Loto-Québec launched its new website, Espacejeux, on Friday.

Until Dec. 1, players can only register to become members of the site. After that, they will be able to play blackjack, poker, roulette and other online gambling games 24 hours a day.

Only Quebec adults are eligible to register and play on the site. People can wager using their credit cards, debit cards and online bill payment.

Eight kinds of poker games will be offered, in addition to table games such as baccarat, blackjack and roulette. Sports betting and bingo are expected to be added in the future.

Critics have cautioned Quebec about getting into online gambling, saying it will only make it easier for young people and problem gamblers to lose money.

But Loto-Québec CEO Alain Cousineau said the site includes rigorous controls to prevent underage players and problem gamblers from playing. He said the site will be an alternative to the illegal, unregulated and questionable gambling sites that exist in cyberspace.

Profits will go into Quebec government coffers, he added.

Earlier this year, the province created an advisory committee of independent experts to study the effects of online gambling. The committee will monitor the rollout of the new site and report back to the government within three years.

CBC News

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