Quebec will start removing video lottery terminals (VLT’s), from bars as part of a plan to reorganize their distribution and curtail the number of machines in operation.
The machines will be removed from areas with a high concentration of VLTs, many of which are in low-income neighborhoods, Quebec’s finance minister said in a news release.
“Our government is determined to have responsible gaming on offer, fighting against compulsive gambling and preventing the outbreak of sites used for illegal gambling,” said Finance Minister Carlos Leitao, who is responsible for Loto-Québec, the organization that oversees the VLTs.
By 2019, the plan requires fewer than 10,000 VLTs in operation across the province. Currently, there are approximately 12,000 of the machines in about 2,000 establishments.
Loto-Québec said it will be using a new formula dictating a maximum of two establishments per 5,000 inhabitants and a maximum of two machines per 1,000 inhabitants to determine how many VLTs will be in a certain region.
Distribution will shift away from bars and to places that “promote socialization and group entertainment,” such as bowling alleys and pool halls.
The plan’s impact on remote regions will also be monitored. The goal is to avoid making the machines too difficult find, which could cause illegal gambling to spread, the release says.