The 2008-09 financial year saw Loto-Québec hold its own amid the challenges of the current economic downturn

Figure 2


LOTTERY STILL KING

Lotteries still contribute the lion’s share of Loto-Québec annual revenues (Figure 2), thanks to the popularity of online play, which generated 63 percent of total sales of C$1.90 billion in 2008-09. Online sales increased $9.8 million (0.8 percent) during the year. Overall sales, however, declined 0.4 percent, a further sign of the maturation of the traditional draw and instant ticket markets, where sales declined 10.2 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

The popularity of video lottery continued unabated in 2008-09. Despite a 36 percent decrease in the number of bars and brassieres offering VLTs, as mandated by the company’s 2004-2007 development plan, revenues increased 1.4 percent to C$1.06 billion. (Figure 1) The current VLT network consists of 10,735 terminals at 2,321 locations.

Figure 1

TOUGH TIMES FOR BINGO

Traditional bingo as a funding tool for non-profit organizations continued its steady decline in 2008-09, a situation mirrored throughout Canada, as attendance falls (4 percent a year since 1997), the game’s clientele ages, and consumers abandon the game to pursue other forms of entertainment. A national smoking ban imposed in 2006 has served to further discourage loyal players. Revenues in Quebec declined 13.8 percent in 2008-09 to C$35.4 million.

Figure 3

CASINOS FORGE AHEAD

The three casinos in operation in Quebec in 2008-09 weathered the global recession’s impact on tourism to post an increase in total revenues (including food and beverage and non-gaming spend) of C$20.8 million (2.3 percent) to $915.4 million. (Figure 3) Société des casinos du Québec, the provincial corporation that oversees their operations, attributes the increase to the quality of service across all properties, their exceptional food and entertainment offerings and the beauty and popularity of their locations. The sector consisted of 5,750 slot machines, 225 table games and 27 poker tables in 2008-09 in three venues - Casino de Montreal, Casino de Charlevoix and Casino du Lac-Leamy. In June of this year the company added a fourth location, Casino de Mont-Tremblant, situated at a popular ski resort and featuring 400 slots, 25 table games and five poker tables.