The Kahnawake Gaming Council (KGC) makes it known that they have received a copy of the report submitted recently by the Quebec Working Group. The latter was tasked to study the effects of online gambling as introduced by Loto Quebec in 2010 via Espacejeux.com. In light of the findings and recommendations embodied in the report, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK) and the KGC expressed their willingness to work with the Quebec government in establishing a secure and unbiased gaming environment for the province, as well as in resolving the existing jurisdictional disparity between them.
However, in extending their offer, the councils pointed out key findings and recommendations detailed by the report, to which they gave their viewpoint and position.
The MKC and the KGC took note that the report “When the Reality of the Virtual Catches Up with Us,” clearly stated that the launching of Espacejeux.com neither spurred an increase nor intensified online gambling participation and practices in the province of Quebec. The KGC pointed out that such findings refute erstwhile commentaries that placed Internet-based interactive gambling in a bad light, as well as contradict the prediction of former Loto Quebec CEO Alan Cousineau of how Espacejeux.com would breakdown the operations of the so-called illegal gambling sites.
The councils’ statement also highlighted the Working Group’s remarks about the likely conflict of interests created by Loto Quebec’s role as a self-regulatory body, yet tasked to market as well as launch profitability initiatives in behalf of the government. The KGC reiterated its opinion that Loto Quebec’s autonomous authority gives the crown corporation the power to make one-sided decisions that could compromise the well-being of Quebecers.
The council further pointed out the contrast between Loto Quebec and the KGC, the latter being wholly independent from online gambling operators licensed under KGC’s authority and supervision, an issue, which the KGC had pointed out repeatedly in past occasions.
The KGC cited as reference its response to former Québec Minister of Finance, Raymond Bachand’s claim that Loto Quebec’s online gambling programs via the Espacejeux.com will adversely affect the online gambling initiatives that Kahnawake has been carrying out for several years. The KGC had asserted before that it is not involved in offering online gambling products and services but merely hosts at the Mohawk Internet Technologies data center, the servers that facilitate the remote gambling activities of licensed operators. Doing so allows the KGC to regulate and monitor the Internet-based interactive gambling operations licensed under its authority.
Loto Quebec, stands in contrast as it was given the authority to offer online gambling products and services, which denotes competing not only with well established operators licensed by the KGC but by other licensing jurisdictions as well. In carrying out such initiatives, Loto Quebec must self-regulate yet remain competitive in order to bring forth the revenue expected by the provincial government.
However, the MCK is opposed to the Working Group’s suggestion of initiating steps to recommend the amendment of the federal Criminal Code, unless the proposal will include recognition of the First Nations’ inherent right to participate in Canada’s gaming industry.
In closing, the MCK extended its offer to discuss gaming issues with Quebec government officials, an offer ignored in 2010 by Quebec’s Minister Responsible for Native Affairs Pierre Corbeil. Although the statement did not make mention of such actions, it is on record that Quebec officials had more than once, cold-shouldered MCK’s previous offers of discussions by abruptly cancelling the scheduled meetings without explanation.