States that have licensed online poker usually do so after setting in place stringent regulations that carefully monitor and manage all online poker activity. These stringent regulations which include paying high taxes prove to be a major turn-off to online poker players who prefer to play at illegal poker websites that guarantee them higher payouts and no tax deductions.
These illegal poker websites have flourished all across the world and the underground online poker industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, posing a huge threat to the regulated online poker industry.
Quebec has suffered from these illegal poker websites as they have drawn away a significant percentage of Quebec’s online poker players and cost Quebec millions of dollars in taxes.
The government of Quebec recently announced that it was considering rolling out legislation that will require Internet service providers (ISPs) to compulsory block all illegal gambling and online poker websites. If this legislation gets passed, the provincial iGaming brand Espace-jeux will then generate an additional $13.5 million in revenue during the financial year 2016-2017 and then generate over $27 million per year going forward.
In a statement, Carlos Leitao, Quebec’s finance minister said
Online gambling sites are not illegal to view and to legislate blocking for commercial gain sets a dangerous Canadian precedent. In fact, once blocking gaming and gambling sites is established, it is easy to envision the government requiring blocking of sites that are alleged to infringe copyright or blocking e-commerce sites that are not bilingual or do not pay provincial taxes.
The government in Quebec wants to come down hard on these illegal poker websites as they want to level the playing field and ensure every online poker websites operates within the regulations imposed by the government of Quebec. During the past few months, a number of governments have cracked down on these illegal poker websites, putting together a blacklist of these domain names and circulating them to ISP providers so that they can be banned.
Governments also enlist the help of financial service providers and give them a copy of the blacklist along with an instruction to not process any financial transactions originating from these blacklisted websites. Quebec might not be so harsh with the new legislation as Amaya Gaming, the biggest online gambling company in the world is based out of Quebec and the government will want to take into consideration how the new legislation could affect Amaya Gaming.