Quebec casino plan includes alcohol at slots
'Casino du futur' hopes to fix decline in attendance
Quebec's lottery corporation is exploring ways to boost sagging casino attendance, including allowing alcohol on casino floors.
Loto-Quebec president and CEO Gérard Bibeau said Tuesday that attendance at Quebec's four casinos is down from 21 per cent to 17 per cent of the local population in recent years.
He said in a news release that equals as much as $92 million in potential lost revenue, as every percentage point increase in visitors means $23 million coming in.
The average across North America is 25 per cent.
Information specific to Casino Lac-Leamy in Gatineau was not immediately available.
'Casino of the Future' could include alcohol at machines
Bibeau said they’re launching a program called "Casino du future" or "Casino of the Future" to address the drop in attendance.
Loto-Quebec said people will be able to drink on the floors of casinos, including at machines or tables, in the summer or fall if it passes 45 days of public consultation.
Drinking is currently confined to bars and restaurants, a fact Loto-Quebec said makes them the only jurisdiction in North America to not allow drinking on casino floors.
Quebec health minister Réjean Hébert said Wednesday it's time Quebec got its head out of the sand and makes sure its casinos can be competitive.
Activist Bill Clennett, a critic of how Quebec's casinos generate cash, said he thinks the move is exploitative.
"It's not the alcohol sales that are going to give the profit, it's using alcohol to render people more vulnerable and as such they will be playing more than they should," he said.
"They'll be losing money."
"Casino du future" also includes a new multimedia initiative by Montreal's Moment Factory, one that's been tested at eastern Quebec’s Casino de Charlevoix.
Loto-Quebec said an average of 25,000 people visit its four casinos every day, including 15,000 in Montreal, with 5,000 employees.