Expert Opinion Against Quebec Online Gambling Move

The outrage against the Quebec provincial government's attempts to stifle competition against its online gambling enterprise Espace Jeux continues to grow. This weekend, a widely publicised Canadian Press report again focused on the reactions of many Net Neutrality and freedom of speech advocates and legal experts perturbed by what they call “the proposed invasion of civil rights”.

Over the last few years Quebec politicians have been discussing how best to protect the underperforming Loto Quebec online gambling web site from the better equipped offshore operators. At stake is an estimated CAD 27 million per year revenue stream for the government if Espace Jeux operates in a monopoly market. Bill 74 seeking to create a monopoly by ordering ISPs to cut off offshore operators is in the provincial parliament.

The ISPs are not at all supportive of such a measure and many experts have opined that this move by the Quebec government will lead to expensive and protracted court actions at the very least. One of them is Michael Geist, a renowned online law expert from the University of Ottawa. He said that the Quebec government does not understand the importance of an open and free Internet. He pointed out that the federal 1993 Telecommunications Act states that except when approved by the CRTC, a Canadian ISP cannot control the content carried by it for the public. The only content blocked so far by the Commission is child pornography. Geist added that the ISP route is not the only one open to the Quebec government. It can order online payment companies like PayPal and credit card service providers requiring them not to process transactions from "undesirable" websites.

Bram Abramson is the chief legal and regulatory officer for TekSavvy Solutions Inc., an Internet provider that services 300,000 homes in Canada. He also condemned the Quebec banning proposal as "extremely complicated and extremely costly". Julius Grey, a Montreal-based constitutional and human rights lawyer, explained that the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled citizens' rights include the fundamental right to hear and read things. Any law that attempts to crush that right violates the freedom of expression.

However, the Quebec government is blind to this deluge of opinion. A spokesperson for Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao, reiterated that online gambling is a public health issue and that it is not only the right but also the duty of the Quebec government has to force ISPs to block 'unauthorised' offshore gambling sites.

Online Casino Articles

A listing of the newest online casino & gambling related articles that have been added to Canadian Casino Sites can be found featured in the listing below.

More Articles