Friday December 4, 2015 at 4:35 pm

Quebec, the feisty French-speaking province who is always threatening to secede from Canada, is attempting to create their own state-run online gambling monopoly by outlawing online gambling operators. Is their blacklist a legit legislative ploy? Or will Canadian federal telecommunications laws take precedent?

Montreal Goalie
Quebec's legislature is trying to sneak one past the goalie by blacklisting online gambling sites in order to create a state-run monopoly

For as long as I have been alive, Quebec has been threatening to secede from Canada and become its own country of French-speaking denizens. Secession has always an empty threat because Quebec relies heavy on Canada. It is one thing to preserve your culture, but it's an entirely different thing to become a sovereign state and successfully govern and thrive on your own. Quebec's stale threats remind me of the spoiled rich teenager who threatens to run away…it's adorable in theory, but they could never survive without mommy and daddy's credit cards.

 

Earlier this year, Quebec's government outlined an economic plan that was similar in size to David Foster Wallace's 1000+ page novel Infinite Jest (which itself had a subplot about Quebecois separatists). Buried deep in the government's economic plan was a notion to curb illegal gambling.

 

Long story short, Quebec's gambling governing body Loto-Québec currently operates the gambling venture Espacejeux, which is doing poorly and getting crushed by the competition. Loto-Québec wants to whack the competition with a legislative end run that would outlaw external gaming operators by creating a state-run monopoly. If passed, Loto-Québec would control all the online gaming in Quebec including poker, sportsbetting, and DFS. As a result, many of your favorite online gaming sites like PokerStars and Pinnacle will get placed on a blacklist because the new legislation will force Canadian ISPs to block access to prohibited gaming sites.

 

C'est la guerre!

 

Of course, Canadians are in an uproar because Loto-Québec move to create a blacklist is a means for the provincial government to profit off of censorship. Canadian federal law should supersede in this case. Many Canadian ISP providers will ignore Quebec's ban because it violates Canada's Telecommunications Act.

 

Read more about Quebec's potential online gambling ban…

French Canadian Stars
Quartet of French-Canadian superstars: Duhamel, Dion, Lavigne, and LaLiberte (clockwise)

Quebec, particularly Montreal, has been an epicenter for arts and sports in North America. Many of the world's best hockey players – coincidently a plethora of goalies – mastered the game playing pond hockey all over Quebec. Let's not forget the countless contributions to the music world from the likes of Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne, and Arcade Fire.

 

Oh, and how could we forget Guy LaLiberte, the high-stakes poker-loving founder of Cirque du Soleil? Over the last two decades, millions of Las Vegas visitors have been treated to Guy's psychedelic display of aerial acrobatics. LaLiberte has been very generous with his money donating millions to fund clean water projects in developing countries, in addition to donating large chunks of cash to the high-stakes poker ecosystem.

 

Montreal has always been a hotbed for poker. 2010 WSOP Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel is a proud resident of Montreal, Quebec. Femme fatale Isabelle Mercier was also born in Quebec and she cut her teeth playing poker in Montreal card rooms.

 

In the last five years, Montreal has become "Casablanca" for American online poker exiles. In the wake of Black Friday 2011, American pros migrated to Montreal and opted to settle down in Quebec versus more expensive Canadian cities like Vancouver or Toronto.

 

And here's Canada's Arcade Fire with an appropriate song Rebellion

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