On Friday, Loto-Quebec announced that it had rolled out a new eSports category via its Mise-o-jeu sports betting offering. Loto-Quebec’s online gambling site Espacejeux.com is currently offering 13 different markets on this weekend’s StarCraft II World Championship Series (WCS) Summer Circuit Championship.
The WCS event is taking place in Montreal for the first time as part of the DreamHack Open: Montreal weekend that gets underway on Friday (12) and concludes on Sunday. Loto-Quebec has teamed up with DreamHack by sponsoring the Loto Quebec Indie Zone, which will offer free space to a dozen local independent game studios to showcase their products.
Around 10k eSports enthusiasts are expected to attend the DreamHack Montreal event. Loto-Quebec’s director of sports and entertainment betting Louis Beaudet said demand for eSports betting opportunities was growing and Loto-Quebec was “filling the gap by offering a secure and honest environment for placing bets.”
Loto-Quebec is also offering markets on Friday’s Dota 2 International 2016 contest and Beaudet said the site would “continue to track interest in this type of betting over the coming months.”
Playnow.com, the online gambling site of British Columbia’s provincial gaming monopoly, already offers eSports betting on StarCraft II, Dota 2 and the League of Legends, among other markets.
Loto-Quebec’s online gambling revenue rose one-third in its most recent fiscal year but the monopoly believes it could do much better if its online monopoly was more rigorously enforced. The province passed legislation this spring that would force internet service providers to block the domains of unapproved gambling sites.
Quebec’s finance minister has claimed the IP-blocking plan is intended to protect consumers from shady sites, but he only made this claim after originally stating that the plan was designed to boost Loto-Quebec’s annual revenue by C$27m. The plan, which has yet to be implemented, is already the subject of two legal challenges.