Online gambling increased in Quebec during the pandemic

A new study found that during the first year of the epidemic, there was a sharp increase in the number of people from Quebec who participated in online gambling.

According to research 15% of the population is now engaged in online gambling, up from 5% in 2018.  That is a significant increase.

According to the report, some gamblers moved online as gambling establishments like casinos closed. There was also an increase in new online gamblers during the first year of the epidemic, with sports betting being a particularly popular option.

Sports betting was only minimal in Canada ten years ago. But now it has significantly increased.

The rise in sports betting is partially explained by changes to the law in Canada. It now permit bets on specific games and aspects of those games, such as a player’s performance.

Most respondents who were asked why they gambled online said it was to pass the time or have fun. Others said it was because they felt depressed and alone.

Advertising’s increasing prevalence was also a significant factor. 88% of internet gamblers saw commercials for online gambling, according to the survey. During the first year of the pandemic, the first-half of them reported seeing more online gambling commercials.

Another 20% of respondents claimed that throughout those 12 months, commercials had an impact on their gambling behaviors.

These figures don’t surprise Maison Jean Lapointe, a semi-private non-profit that provides addiction treatment, especially for gambling addiction.

They believe that since the pandemic began, the situation has altered significantly.  They claim that over 350 individuals (nine out of every ten patients there receiving therapy for gambling) suffer with online gambling.

People were at home throughout the epidemic and had no choice but to spend time online or in front of the television.

They were constantly exposed to commercials. These sell the idea that you can win money gambling, so it is alluring.

As of now, people can gamble whenever they want, which means temptation is never far away.

You can gamble whenever you want, without anyone knowing thanks to your phone and laptop. You don’t need to leave your house and as  it’s online, you don’t use physical currency. This makes it very simple to lose track of your spending.

More laws are needed to shield Quebec residents from the dangers of online gambling. An impartial regulator who can examine the impact is needed. Everytime a game is introduced, it should pass via the regulator to determine its risk to the populace.

Limiting the amount of adverts they are exposed to is a safeguard that should be used to protect gamblers who are losing control of their gaming addictions.

Canada could emulate Belgium, which earlier this month opted to forbid casino advertising across all media platforms.

The government needs to take action. There is a comparison between cannabis advertising limitations and potential curbs on casino promotion.

Advertisers are free to do whatever they want in Quebec. They don’t promote all forms of gambling, but they do promote a wide variety of games. On your smartphone you can play a game like Candy Crush and see and ad pop up.

Loto-Québec is an organization whoch should do more to limit the amount of gambling commercials that Quebecers see. 

It has previously said in a statement that it chose not to promote online gambling during the pandemic however. 

It claims to have taken steps to stop illicit television and sports advertising, and it is in discussions with the government concerning rules.

Loto-Québec has made steps to promote responsible gaming in its advertising and on its website, according to the Quebec Finance Ministry.

The state-owned company stated that it was continuing their efforts to prevent access to unlawful sites. They are seeking to reinforce the position of the business as the only responsible online gambling operator, and reduce the prominence of marketing. Federal law prohibits them from preventing access to unlicensed operators’ websites.

Loto-Québec has made steps to promote responsible gaming in its advertising and on its website, according to the Quebec Finance Ministry.

Online gambling increased in Quebec during the pandemic

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