Loto-Quebec’s online gambling website called EspaceJeux went live on Friday and as of December 1st registered users from Quebec will be able to bet on a variety of games including online casino games, blackjack, roulette, slots and also play online poker. Online sports betting will be introduced further down the line. By Christmas, an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 Quebec residents are expected to be gambling clients of the website EspaceJeux.com. Players can visit the site and pre-register for the official December 1st real money launch, less than two weeks away.
Loto-Quebec will partner with the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) to form a joint poker platform to ensure adequate poker player liquidity. Like their BC counterpart’s website PlayNow.com, the EspaceJeux.com website will allow Quebec gamblers to wager up to a generous $9,999 per week. Only Quebec adults who have verified their identities with Loto-Quebec will be able to gamble on the EspaceJeux website.
Loto-Quebec boss Alain Cousineau outlined “responsible gaming measures” designed to avoid under-age or out-of-control gambling. One measure requires players to set a weekly deposit limit, an amount they are willing to gamble. That limit can be lowered immediately but to raise it requires a seven-day wait, a cooling-off period.
The joint gaming platform which is located in Montreal, uses poker software provided by GTECH G2 which was originally developed by Boss Media which has provided the same poker software in the past to well known online gambling websites like Sporting Bet Paradise Poker, Inter Poker, and Bowmans and customer account management software is provided by OpenBet Ltd., who are also supplying some of the casino games.
EspaceJeux will have a variety of payment options available, making it very easy for players to deposit and play for real money. Customers can deposit using credit cards or online Interac or using the bill payment feature via their online banking.
EspaceJeux poker should benefit from the recent popularity boost that Texas Hold’em Poker has received in the local news due to Quebec resident Jonathan Duhamel winning the WSOP Main Event Championship which is sure to have fuelled added interest in poker by other young Quebec poker player hopefuls.
The poker software is not one of the most popular in the poker industry, but it’s still very good and powers the 11th ranked poker network in the world. The software is very pleasing visually and especially well suited for beginners who are just entering poker.
The EspaceJeux Poker Room will offer Texas Hold’em variations. In addition to this, players can play Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, 7 Card Stud, 5 Card Stud, 5 Card Draw, Deuce to Seven and Canadian Stud. What is the Canadian stud? It’s simply a variant of 5-card stud, where the straight flush and four cards have a value.
Deposit bonuses and rakeback will not be offered by the EspaceJeux Poker room but they will have a different kind of loyalty program. The software will also host a Bad Beat Jackpot which will start at an impressive $100,000.
New players that register will be eligible to play in a $1,000 freeroll open to new players that will take place on Saturdays. New players who register will be allowed to participate in two of these Saturday $1,000 freerolls, regardless of whether or not they have made a deposit. EspaceJeux will also offer up frequent $101 freerolls, a number which is very symbolic with Quebecers as it represents Bill 101, the Charter of the French Language.
There will be a weekly $200+$15 tournament organized on each Sunday with a Guaranteed prize pool of $15,000 and this will be bumped up to $50,000 once a month.
EspaceJeux will also offer leader boards promotions which award the top weekly and monthly leaders with prized between $500 to $2,000.
EspaceJeux will also host a $250,000 promotional freeroll scheduled on February 13, 2011 at 5PM. There will be qualifier tournaments from December 1st to February 12th. This freeroll is massive by online poker standards.
Loto-Quebec has also recruited local pros and customers can play with them at their respective tables. On Mondays and Wednesday between 7PM and 10PM, players can play with Benjamin Leblond. On Fridays and Sundays between 7PM and 10PM, players can play with Gylbert Drolet.
Once the online poker room goes live, further assessments can be made and it will be interesting to see whether or not the poker room will attract sufficient liquidity to make it a viable option for online poker players. One thing is for sure; Loto-Quebec is taking this project very seriously and has committed a lot of their resources to ensure it will become a success. It is surely worth a try for gamblers who already have an interest in online gambling and Loto-Quebec will be offering a $10 no deposit necessary offer to play in the casino to new customers.