|Legal experts predict a raft of lawsuits against government-run gambling operations across Canada after a Quebec court gave the go-ahead for the country’s first class-action lawsuit over problem gambling.|
Justice Roger Banford of the Quebec Superior Court ruled the case against Loto-Quebec qualified as a class action and may proceed to trial, where the Canada's burgeoning gambling industry will be examined for the first time in a legal setting.
The plaintiffs are asking for up to $625-million (USD 398 million) in damages, alleging the provincial gaming corporation knew or should have known that its video lottery terminals led to gambling addictions.
'I see it as having national significance, if not global significance,' said Nancy Langille of the group Gambling Watch. 'No matter how the suit proceeds, governments and the gambling industry can't distance themselves [now] from the fact that they are promoting for profit a product ... that has known hazards.'
Sol Buxembaum, a problem-gambling counsellor who is advising the class-action lawyers, said he believes the suit’s approval will prompt similar cases in other provinces.