Quebec Government Loses Litigation On Internet Gambling Website Blocking

Quebec Superior Court rejects the province’s attempt to ban its citizens’ access to online gaming sites unauthorised by the government’s gambling corporation

The Canadian Press reported Tuesday that the Canadian provincial government of Quebec has lost in a case challenging the constitutionality of its attempts to introduce ISP blocking of online gambling websites not authorised by the provincial gambling corporation.

The Quebec Superior Court rejected the province’s attempt to ban its citizens’ access to online gaming sites, with Justice Pierre Nollet ruling that the Quebec legislation is unconstitutional because it infringes on the federal government’s jurisdiction regarding telecommunications and the Criminal Code.

The 2016 Quebec law (see previous InfoPowa reports) was unprecedented in Canada in ordering Internet service providers to block citizens’ access to online gambling sites unauthorized by Loto-Quebec.

Finance Minister Carlos Leitao used the ruse that the law was necessary to protect the health and safety of Quebecers because private gambling companies don’t apply the same responsible gaming rules as the provincial government, but the government’s motives were widely interpreted as commercial protectionism for Loto Quebec.

Justice Nollet said in his July 18 finding that the main goal of the legislation was to prevent access to private online gambling and not to protect consumers or public health.

The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association challenged the legislation and said it was pleased with the decision.