Even though Canada’s laws allow organized betting businesses to run only under approved organizations’ supervision, illegal online bookmakers in Quebec seem to avoid detection by the police without much effort. Quebec news outlet La Presse decided to investigate the peculiar ecosystem around unauthorized betting sites.
Quebec’s Thriving Online Casinos
According to a discussion with the Quebec police, the peacekeepers prefer to focus their resources on more damaging and violent crimes. According to them, no complaints against online casinos have ever been registered. Therefore, it isn’t in immediate need of action.
It was elaborated that because many of those businesses are technically based in other countries, the police can’t take any action. A 2014 report by the peacekeeping forces had come to the same conclusion. Yet, despite this being true in most cases, it is generalizing the problem as there are still shareholders and managers who are stationed in Canada and are therefore within police jurisdiction.
One example is Normand Gosselin, who registered his business, GAC Group, as one based in the Isle of Man. However, despite traveling to the Isle to establish the business, in actuality, he is running it from a bungalow in L’Ancienne-Lorette in Quebec. Gousselin operates a casino site by the name PlayNumbersGame which streams games from countries with more favorable gambling laws.
In his defense, Gousselin claimed that there are more GAC Group representatives in Isle of Man who are the ones making the real decisions.
Another example is the Australian company called Royal Wins that moved its headquarters to Toronto in order to join the Canadian Securities and benefit from Canada’s fertile soil for small company investors. However, some of its activities are illegal in the country. Additionally, one of the directors falsely pretended to be a Vatican ambassador.
Despite all of this, Royal Wins got business assistance for dealing with COVID-19.
Online Casinos Aren’t the Top Priority for the Police
It became a bit unclear why the police are reluctant to take action despite such sites functioning in Canada and having their shareholders and managers within the country. Therefore La Presse started searching for who would be responsible for such cases.
The Montreal police were asked if they could take action, to which they responded that online casinos fall under Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux department’s jurisdiction. However, Joyce Tremblay, a spokesperson from the latter body, denied casinos being under the department’s jurisdiction.
The police redirected La Presse to the Sûreté du Québec police force. Its spokesperson Ann Mathieu, however, confirmed that illegal online gambling is in the municipal law enforcement’s jurisdiction after all.
The Montreal police apologized for the confusion and admitted being wrong. Yet, it said that dealing with online casinos isn’t a top priority at the moment, causing disgruntlement among Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault’s office.
Marie-Josée Montminy from the ministry reminded that illegal online gambling is a part of contemporary crimes and shouldn’t be ignored. However, the police force is an independent body and has no intentions of dealing with the problem unless a special budget is provided for the cause.
Illegal gambling can be dangerous because it avoids the usual regulations that ensure a healthy betting ecosystem. However, without the police’s action, the problem cannot be properly resolved.