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Loto-Québec, forced by the government to remove 1000 video lottery terminals (VLTs) over the next two years, decided to take into account the presence of workers in sectors deemed problematic to carry out this operation. For example, the Crown Corporation will calculate the maximum ratio of 2 machines per 1,000 population and 2 establishments operating VLTs per 5,000 inhabitants by adding the workers to the residents.

Specifically, this method of calculation can have a significant impact on sectors by lowering the concentration of VLT machines. As a result, a sector that should be subject to the VLT withdrawal requirement could thus meet Loto-Québec’s socio-economic criteria.

For example, thousands of people from Montreal Island, the South Shore or the North Shore who go to work every day in downtown Montreal – where the concentration of VLT is twice as much as allowed – inflate the population and change the ratio.

Loto-Québec explained to La Presse that this way of doing it allows it to “take into account the reality and the potential pool of customers of the bars in a sector”. This method was approved by the government when the socio-economic criteria were approved in 2011 it said.

In all of its official documents that state the status of the video lottery, the annual report of which, Loto-Québec uses the “actual population according to Statistics Canada”.

Loto-Québec refuses to reveal the sectors where it intends to withdraw VLTs, deeming it to be “commercial information that is treated confidentially”. Certainly, representatives of the Québec Gaming Corporation (SEJQ), the Loto-Québec subsidiary responsible for the video lottery, met with bar owners in the various targeted sectors of the province in recent months.

“In Saint-Eustache, we deduced from the ten-minute meeting that the SEJQ wanted to cut 30% of machines,” says Olivier Hamel, vice-president of the Quebec Bar Association, Quebec Breweries and Taverns. – same bar owner.

The latter criticized Loto-Québec’s attitude for lack of information. According to Hamel, the corporation assumes “a right of life or death on the merchants.” The method of calculating ratios with workers is an illustration of a “process that has makes neither heads or tails”, he adds.

Before the “parametric” withdrawal of the machines, an operation that will begin in early July, according to information gathered, Loto-Québec launched a voluntary withdrawal program last March. Financial compensation is paid to the owner of the bar where VLTs will be withdrawn; It is equivalent to 22% of the income generated by VLTs in the last 12 months.

The voluntary withdrawal program ends today and would have resulted in the recovery of only about a hundred of the 1,000 machines to be retired. Loto-Québec refused to confirm the information.