Loto-Quebec has been left to rue a “missed opportunity” after reluctantly withdrawing its proposal to open a ‘mini casino’ near the Bell Centre.
The Canadian crown corporation had planned to rent the 1909 Taverne Moderne restaurant – which adjoins the home of the Montreal Canadiens – to open a gaming hall with 350 slot machines.
But those plans have now been shelved after the proposal received pushback from Montreal Public Health, whose 42-page report denouncing the project was shared to the media earlier this week.
Among the concerns was the gaming hall’s location, which was seen as potentially posing a risk to men between the ages of 18-44 who are “particularly vulnerable” when it comes to gambling addictions.
The decision of Montreal Public Health to report their findings to the media prompted a stern response from Loto-Quebec, but the organization has now admitted defeat in its attempts to open the mini casino on location.
Citing a “missed opportunity”, Jean-François Bergeron, President and CEO of Loto-Québec, said: “We’re convinced that revamping our land-based model would allow us to better meet today’s challenges and needs. Not doing anything does not amount to a solution. Neither does reducing supply without providing new options to meet player demand.
“By no means does Loto-Québec’s future rest solely on the proposed Bell Centre project, but we are disappointed that the project isn’t going through.
“I want to thank all those involved in the project, like the public health teams, the City of Montréal, and most importantly Groupe CH, for their cooperation over the last two years. I commend Groupe CH on being one of the few professional teams that refuse to do business with illegal gambling operators.”