Loto-Quebec Continues To Set New Revenue Records

The provincially owned gambling monopoly in Quebec continues to set new revenue records for online gambling, although with little help from its online lotteries.

Figures released Friday show the gambling monopoly Loto-Quebec generated revenue of C$ 685.8 million (US$ 517.6 million) in the three months ending December 30, 2019 (their fiscal Q3). That represents a decline of 11.1 percent from the same period in 2018, as all vertical reversals reported year-on-year.

The historically dominant lottery company saw its sales fall nearly one-fifth to C$ 219.1 m, which the Crown corporation blamed in its Lotto Max offering on a lack of mega-jackpots. Lottery revenue is down 9.5 percent to C$ 668.9 m over the first three-quarters of Loto-Quebec’s fiscal year.

The division of casinos, which includes the online gambling platform of Espacejeux, announced its Q3 revenue down 5 percent to C$ 247.8 m, while its total of nine months was up 1.7 percent to C$ 760.3 m.

The year-to-date online lottery sales of Espacejeux have bucked the overall lottery trend by growing less than 1 percent to C$ 24.5 m, while online casino revenue gained nearly one-quarter to C$ 68.9 m, for a total of C$ 93.4 m in nine months.

The gaming establishments unit of Loto-Quebec (VLTs in bars and other small venues) slipped 8 percent to C$ 225.6 m in Q4 and lost 1 percent to C$ 691.5 m in the year to date.

Last December marked the 50th anniversary of the creation of Loto-Quebec, which the Crown corp decided to commemorate by relaunching the initial lottery offer, a paper numeric draw ticket carrying the same C$ 2 price tag that it had in 1970. The tickets will only be valid for a six-week duration starting on January 27 and on March 14 the five main C$ 125k prizes up for grabs will be drawn.

This birthday celebration came under fire after Loto-Quebec published a deep video featuring well-known local television presenter Bernard Derome, who had told Quebecers about the launch of Loto-Quebec in 1970. The deep-fake ad pretends to show Derome announcing the launch of the resurrected lottery game.

While no one seems to have distorted the video in an attempt to rewrite history, critics, including Derome, who has been paid for the use of his image, have expressed concern that the frivolous use of deep-fake technology could result in similar efforts that could have far more sinister intent. Loto-Quebec said it has no intention of releasing additional deep-fakes, saying it understands “very well that it is a technology that can be misused.”

Loto-Quebec recently found itself in another minor kerfuffle following the discovery of the president of its board of directors Hélène Fortin as a director on the board of one of Canada’s biggest legal cannabis producers. Although local media initially had a field day with the coverage, a Quebec government watchdog later clarified that this was not a problem until Loto-Quebec started giving away marijuana baggies as prizes.