On June 2, 2021, the RACJ officially announced a legislation relaxation:
Amendments to the Act respecting lotteries, publicity contests and amusement machines came into effect on June 2, 2021.
Enterprises that hold international contests no longer have to complete paperwork or pay the regulatory fees previously required by the Régie. The relaxation, considered in the interest of fairness, will promote the inclusion of the population of Québec in international publicity contests.
I’ve been fighting since 2013-2014 against the exclusion of Quebec residents from international esports event and now that we finally succeeded to prove that esports aren’t a publicity contest and there is no legal reason to exclude us, I’m realizing that some companies, like MLG, just don’t want to cooperate.
Why is Quebec excluded?
A simple misunderstanding…
The FQSE asked the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux du Québec (RACJ) to clarify the judicial status of esports competitions, the RACJ examined the issue and stated, in an official letter dated from November 15, 2016, that e-sports competitions were not considered “publicity contests” as defined by legislation.
Therefore, these competitions are not under the jurisdiction of the RACJ, and the organizers are not required to report the hosting of such events or to pay related fees. Indeed, the RACJ views esports tournaments as events in which there is a form of competition that relies on the players’ skills:
Since esport focuses on players’ personal skills, its main purpose is not for commercial purposes, but rather to allow video gamers to compete with each other to determine who is the most skillful and, as in all competitions, to award a prize to the most talented participants.
As a reminder, the ambiguity surrounding the legal status of esport competitions previously caused the exclusion of Quebec residents in some international competitions. By putting an end to this ambiguity, the notice from the RACJ is a key argument in convincing the organizers of such competitions to welcome Quebec players.
Over the years, I’ve managed to have the exclusion removed from a multitude of major events (e.g. Blizzcon, UMG and TESPA) as well as official studio tournaments (e.g. Nintendo, EA, Riot). Unfortunately, the exclusion has returned to Activision-Blizzard games because the studio has decided to centralize their “path to pro” on the GameBattles (MLG) platform, which has a discriminatory internal policy towards Quebec.