QUEBEC STILL INTENT ON BLOCKING COMPETITION TO ESPACE DE JEUX (Update)
Government spokesman confirms that measures announced in the budget will be deployed.
The Canadian province of Quebec says it still plans to move forward with its promise to block internet gambling websites it considers to be illegal, and that take business away from the state-owned and exclusively licensed Loto-Quebec site Espacejeux, according to the CJAD radio station, which approached the provincial government for comment.
Our readers will recall that, despite the findings of its own working group that ISP blocking is impractical and ineffective, the Quebec government budget in March included an intention to deploy ISP blocking in order to reduce competition and boost Espacedejeux revenues.
The provincial finance minister's press spokesperson, Andrée-Lyne Hallé, confirmed to CJAD that these intentions have not changed, despite the absence thus far of legislative action.
"We will follow-up on the measures announced in the budget," she said in an e-mail.
Under the government plan, Loto-Quebec would provide ISP companies with a list of websites to be blocked.
The government estimates that reducing the competition will bring the crown corporation an extra $13.5 million next year, and $27 million the year after that.
Aside from the impracticality of ISP blocking, legal experts have pointed out that there are serious legal obstacles to the government's objective, not least of which is the jurisdictional issue – the federal government has sole jurisdiction on telecommunications.
Canada's legalization additional pre-dates the Internet, and that could prompt arguments that it does not apply to the internet.