A legal dispute between two factions in the province of Quebec has suspended one of the popular live poker outlets for residents of Canada.
Last week, the Quebec Poker Tournament League, known more familiarly by its acronym LTPQ (Ligue de Tournois de Poker du Quebec), suspended activities following a lawsuit that was filed in the Canadian Supreme Court. Problems for the league began when there was a dispute between the LTPQ and the state run co-sponsor of their events, Loto-Quebec. The LTPQ was the first one to fire a salvo in the battle, accusing Loto-Quebec of non-payment of sponsorship and service payments from the online arm of the company, espacejeux.com, and making said accusation on their website to their members.
This didn’t sit well with Loto-Quebec, who immediately struck back with a lawsuit in the Canadian Supreme Court. In their claim, Loto-Quebec states that their business has been damaged by the accusations of the LTPQ and further claims that the LTPQ is the one that owes them money. Loto-Quebec says that the LTPQ owes them approximately $175,000 and especially cites popular Canadian pro Andre Boyer, whom they claim is the owner of the operation, for the action.
As a result of the legal filing, the LTPQ dropped their statement from their website, but continued to prod Loto-Quebec through another statement to their members. The statement from LTPQ officials says, “Today we received a formal notice from Loto-Quebec lawyers asking us to withdraw our statement, posted on this site on July 14. Failing to do so would incur injunction proceedings, instituted to obligate us. This would be a second lawsuit from Loto-Quebec.”
“To avoid charges that could be significant and thus delay the return to the normal operations of the league,” the LTPQ statement continued, “we decided, on the recommendation of our lawyers, to withdraw the statement in question, making sure that we will argue our position before the court in due course.” The statement ends by saying, “We are forced to suspend the activities of the league until further notice.”
The Quebec Poker Tournament League is a 40,000 player strong organization that offered tournament poker events throughout the province, with players earning the right to play in other high profile events such as the World Series of Poker or the World Poker Tour. The organization has also raised money for several charitable causes through their tournament events.
Boyer is one of the veterans of the Canadian poker scene, with tournament results that stretch back to 1996. His contributions to Canadian poker extend beyond the LTPQ, as he also was a color commentator for WSOP broadcasts on the television station Réseau Des Sports (RDS). He won a WSOP bracelet in 2005 in a $3000 No Limit Hold’em event and has a total of 27 cashes at the WSOP for his career, with three of those cashes at this year’s event. Andre’s lifetime career earnings from tournament poker total slightly more than $1.2 million.
Loto-Quebec is the state run operation that has handled lotteries in the province since 1969. The organization has been in court before, most notably in a 2002 lawsuit filed by a player who charged that the company’s video lottery terminals contributed to his compulsive gambling and he was not aware of the potential consequences. The lawsuit eventually became a class action suit in 2008 and was settled out of court in 2009.
In 2010, Loto-Quebec opened up its online arm, espacejeux.com, which provided poker and a plethora of other table games to its customers. Loto-Quebec has been looking to expand the online presence of espacejeux.com, linking Quebec’s player base with British Columbia’s citizens and allowing the two provinces to partake of their offerings. Loto-Quebec has also been looking to add sports betting and bingo to its offerings.
At this point, there have been no further comments from either side in the matter. Loto-Quebec’s policy is to not comment on legal proceedings and, other than their statement to members on their website, the LTPQ has not issued any other communiques. There is also no indication of when any arguments will be heard in the pending lawsuit or whether said lawsuit would be settled prior to any hearings.