Salon de Jeux is set to relocate to Beauport in 2021, just 10 km away from its current location. Reasons cited for the move by Loto-Québec has irked residents, believing that the message by the Crown corporation is that they are incompetent and unable to make responsible choices for themselves.
The Crown Corporation Loto-Québec has announced its plan to relocate its gaming hall in Québec City by the end of November of next year. Its move from Vanier to Beauport is only a mere 10-kilometre distance, allowing the operator to draw new patrons in while retaining its current audience.
Loto-Québec has said that the decision came after a period of consultation and after quite a few factors were taken into consideration, such as an assessment of the chances of vulnerable people finding themselves in the new Beauport location. The Crown corporation is viewing the move as a wholly positive one, believing that it will improve the social acceptability of the gaming hall. However, this is a far cry from what the residents of Vanier think of the news.
Local gaming enthusiasts have received the news as the Crown corporation said that most of them have a gambling problem or are out of control. In fact, a formal petition is in the process of getting greenlighted by the community organisation La Ruche Vanier in the hopes of stopping the relocation. The community is offended at multiple complaints made by local officials over the years which hint at the residents’ irresponsibility when it comes to personal finance. One particular problem highlighted by these local officials is the overuse of video lottery terminals (VLTs) or slots, used by vulnerable local residents aspiring to become wealthy in an instant.
According to Francois Labbé, director of La Ruche Vanier, the prejudice is most clear in the decision to move the gaming venue only 10 kilometres down the road. He also said that this decision reflects, by association, on the local Québec government and their unjust opinion that the residents are incapable of making smart and informed choices over their own finances, just because they live in an impoverished area. “We do not dispute that it is a disadvantaged neighbourhood compared to other neighbourhoods, from an economic point of view. On the contrary, we say, leave us the levers that exist and use them to improve living conditions in the neighbourhood,” said Mr. Labbé.
Co-founder and executive vice-president of Trudel Alliance Jonathan Trudel said that the petition by La Ruche Vanier “is a great way to give citizens a voice” as he also reports that the feedback he got from residents about the move was also overwhelmingly negative. He views the assessment the decision was taken on as “out-dated” since it was done 6 years ago and the situation has now changed. Mr Trudel is also in charge of the Fleur de Lys shopping centre, which is where Salon de Jeux is relocated and has said that the move will negatively impact business owners there as it will reduce foot traffic.