Quebec CanadaTo Censor Offshore Online Gambling

Published Friday, May 27, 2016 -
Quebec CanadaTo Censor Offshore Online Gambling

The international online gambling industry depends a great deal on the cooperation of internet service providers and government authorities to function and grow. In many jurisdictions there are strategies that governments have been using to stem the illegal offerings made by internet gambling operators which are somewhat controversial. In the USA the financial institutions were ordered to not accept transactions originating from online gambling operations and in other areas the internet service providers were told not to give access to unlicensed offshore online gambling.

The legal implications that ensue when the internet is disrupted are costly and time consuming for international online gambling operators who operate in the legal grey areas.

Recently Quebec Canada’s Bill 74 omnibus legislation which includes language authorizing the ministry of finance to order Internet Service Providers block online gambling sites not authorized by the provincial gambling monopoly Loto-Quebec was passed in Quebec’s provincial parliament.

The internet service providers are compelled to respond to the government’s ruling which some legal voices claim is not valid because the telecommunications is part of the federal rather than provincial jurisdiction. Censorship of this type has no precedent in Canadian law and will be contested by the censorship watchdog groups. Quebec’s provincial finance minister Carlos Leitao used the argument that Quebec would be framing the issue as a ‘public health’ matter.  In order to protect the public it was said that only Loto-Quebec had the tools to protect the province’s problem gamblers from harm. Loto-Quebec would benefit from the blocking of competitive web locations offering online gambling by $27m per year in additional revenue.

The unprecedented controversy that Bill 74 has created was discussed in the House of Commons recently during which Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly said that the Liberal party “believe in net neutrality” and would be having “ongoing discussions” with Quebec. These talks are most likely now legal issues for the courts.

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