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Loto-Québec to pay $50 million to cover gambling therapy costs

Mar 26, 2010
Loto Therapy

In 2001, a class-action suit was filed against Loto-Québec. The suit was filed on behalf of 120,000 Quebecers who were seeking damages, claiming that Video Lottery Terminals operated by the group had led to addiction. An out-of-court settlement has finally been reached, with Loto-Québec agreeing to pay for addiction therapy expenses incurred between 1994 and 2002.

CBC News: Loto-Québec to pay for gamblers’ therapy

A class action suit launched in 2001 against Loto-Québec by addicted gamblers has come to a head. Loto-Québec must now pay for addiction therapy treatments for thousands of compulsive gamblers in the province, after the old suit was settled out of court.

The multimillion-dollar settlement was approved by the multimillion-dollar on Tuesday. Loto-Québec has agreed to pay for gamblers’ addiction therapy expenses incurred between 1994 and 2002, to an average of about $5,000 per claimant. The lawsuit will cost the gambling company estimated $50 million as they pay out to about 120,000 claimants in Quebec.

Sol Boxenbaum, an advocate of responsible gambling, said that the settlement falls short because it doesn’t establish any significant legal precedent that will help control problem gamblers.

“We had established that video lottery terminals had addictive features built right into them. In the settlement, the lawyers agreed that the machine does not cause the addiction. So, in other words, we have thrown away everything that we worked towards establishing,” he said.

Claimants have 18 months to request reimbursement for past therapy expenses.

Montrael Gazette: Settlement for gamblers: Court okays deal with Loto-Québec

Canada’s Quebec Superior Court approved a multimillion-dollar settlement on Tuesday between Loto-Québec and thousands of people with gambling problems. The agreement marks the end of a class-action lawsuit launched in 2001.

An estimated 119,000 pathological gamblers were seeking compensation. Justice Gratien Duchesne ruled the deal, settled out of court, is “just, fair, reasonable, appropriate and in the best interests of the members of the group.”

The agreement will see the Quebec government reimbursing claimants for addiction treatments and other fees to gamblers who underwent therapy between 1994 and 2002. The average reimbursement will be about $5000.

The province has been paying for the treatment for people suffering from compulsive gambling since 2002.

Loto-Québec said it is satisfied with the deal, because it clearly states that the VLT machines did not cause the gamblers’ addiction.

“We were proved right on the most fundamental argument,” said a Loto-Québec spokesman.

Lotto-Quebec: Loto-Québec satisfied with the class action settlement

Loto-Québec is satisfied by Québec Superior Court Justice Gratien Duchesne’s decision to approve the out-of-court settlement of the class action lawsuit that was launched by Québec City lawyer Jean Brochu in regards to video lottery terminals.

During the trial, proof was made that video lottery terminals are not the cause of compulsive gambling. This is a position that Loto-Québec has always defended, and was glad to see the plaintiff recognize the fact in the settlement.

For the sake of fairness, the Government of Québec has agreed to reimburse therapy fees for gamblers who were treated between 1994 and 2002. Claimants have 18 months to send in their receipts and claim reimbursement.

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Categories: gambling | lottery

Loto-Quebec Will Offer Canadians New Online Gambling Opportunities

Feb 16, 2010

Canadian gambling law continues to liberalize and as a result, online gambling will be made legal and offered most recently in the Province of Quebec. The lotto and internet poker rooms are the first to be offered. Loto-Quebec will team up with other companies to cover a larger part of Canada.

The Montreal Gazette: Loto-Québec goes online

Loto-Québec will offer Quebecers online poker and sports betting at a site that should be live this year in order control a new, beneficial stream of revenue. Plans received the blessing of the Quebec cabinet, which intends to “cannibalize illegal gambling sites” and see a common electronic platform created for Loto-Québec, B.C. Lottery Corp. and Atlantic Lottery Corp., which covers Canada’s 4 Atlantic Provinces.

A memorandum of understanding was signed by the 3 corporations providing rules governing the new games. Quebec and its partners will need high betting limits to compete with existing online operations. Even with high limits, it’s not sure that the new sites will succeed in luring players from older sites. The number of viable players is a big concern at the moment.

At a media conference in Montreal, the main focus was on legitimacy, regulation and protection that provincially run online gambling would offer consumers. Online games could generate as much as $50 million in new revenue for Quebec in 2012.

CBC News: Loto-Québec to offer online gambling

Quebec’s lottery corporation will launch its first online gambling service this September. Loto-Québec hopes it will add millions of dollars to its coffers by 2013. Allowing Loto-Québec to join the lucrative online market could earn the province $50 million over 3 years, according to Finance Minister Raymond Bachand.

Social costs regarding young adults are particularly grim, suggested Danielle Doyer, the Parti Québécois ’s social services critic. She accused the Liberal government of ignoring the costs in favor of financial gain. Loto-Québec, however, argues that Quebeckers already have access to more than 2,000 online gambling sites that are “illegal and unregulated.”

The site will require players to verify their age, limit their weekly account replenishments and allow players to “self-exclude at all times.”

He also cited a public health study that showed no increase in problematic gamblers in Quebec between 1996 and 2002, suggesting the proportion of the population addicted to gambling always remains the same, regardless of the number of gambling outlets.

The Canadian Press: Quebec loto commission to join B.C. and Atlantic Canada online gambling venture

Quebec’s lottery commission plans to offer online gambling by this fall. On Wednesday, the Quebec government announced that it is allowing Loto-Quebec to set up poker and sports betting sites online. Loto-Quebec will join lottery commissions from British Columbia and Atlantic Canada to provide a common platform for online gamblers.

According to Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand, online gambling is already widespread and government coffers could benefit greatly from the continuously growing market. He says he expects the government to receive around $50 million in dividends from Loto-Quebec’s online venture after just three years.

The lottery commission promised to take steps to limit underage players from taking part.

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