Court rejects Quebec’s bid to ban citizens’ access to private online gaming sites

The Quebec Superior Court has rejected the province's attempt to ban its citizens' access to online gaming sites unauthorized by the government's gambling corporation. Wayne Parry/AP Photo

The Quebec Superior Court has rejected the province’s attempt to ban its citizens’ access to online gaming sites unauthorized by the government’s gambling corporation.

In a recent ruling, Justice Pierre Nollet said the Quebec legislation is unconstitutional because it infringes on the federal government’s jurisdiction regarding telecommunications and the Criminal Code.

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The 2016 Quebec law was unprecedented in Canada and it ordered Internet service providers to block citizens’ access to online gambling sites unauthorized by Loto-Quebec.

Finance Minister Carlos Leitao had said 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.

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

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

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Quebec’s Finance Department wasn’t immediately available for comment.

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