For lottery players, a recent legal settlement involving thousands of compulsive gamblers and Loto-Quebec is generating lots of mixed feelings.
Gamble for fun, not for addiction
At stake is the issue of gambling addiction. Loto-Quebec is a responsible gaming organization and they have reaffirmed their support of addiction-free gambling with a legal settlement to the tune of millions of dollars. But it's not only Quebec that's being affected by the news. There are presently multiple cases scattered throughout Canada.
Details of the out-of-court settlement are still being finalized and a hearing is scheduled in Quebec City for March 2010. The present deal is the result of a class-action suit which was filed in 2001 by a group of pathological gamblers. The large group of plaintiffs numbers almost 120,000 and they are seeking compensation in Quebec.
Video Lottery Terminals
The gambling addicts and their lawyers are placing blame on VLTs for their gambling addictions. They are hoping that the out-of-court settlement will send a strong message to the respective government agencies responsible for allowing such activities. In response, Loto-Quebec has added that no scientific studies confirm that VLTs are responsible for gambling addiction.
Treating problem gambling will take time, but the financial compensation of $5,000 per claimant would place a burden of almost $700 million on Loto-Quebec. The final settlement figure is expected to be closer to $50 million.
Responsible gaming provider
The settlement clearly reflects Loto-Quebec's commitment to responsible gaming practices. Whether all claimants come forward with evidence of their gambling addiction and treatment, or not, is another issue, but the fact remains that a reimbursement is forthcoming. Some observers feel that it's only the lawyers who will benefit while the claimants squabble over dollars as they try to produce evidence of their treatments.