Article published on 25 March 2010

Loto Quebec Settles with Problem Gamblers

Loto Quebec pays for the treatment of gambling addicts in the state
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It has been agreed in an out of court settlement that Loto Quebec will pay up to $50 million to a thousands of gambling addicts.

The Quebec Supreme Court approved the deal after a group of compulsive gamblers, who say that they have been affected by the presence of the lottery in the state, sued the gaming corporation.

The settlement, which will see each claimant receive about $5,000, will go towards the cost of addiction therapy.

These gamblers underwent treatment from 1994 to 2002. After 2002, Loto Quebec started paying for addicts' treatment.

Around 120,000 claimants will benefit from the settlement, after a class action suit was launched in 2001.

Some people see the settlement as a victory, while others were disappointed with the small amount received compared to the $700 million originally claimed.

A responsible gambling advocate said that the settlement does not establish any type of legal precedent in order to control problem gamblers.

"We had established that video lottery terminals had addictive features built right into them," said the advocate. "In the settlement, the lawyers agreed that the machine does not cause the addition. So, in other words, we have thrown away everything that we worked towards establishing."

Around one dozen problem gamblers objected to the out of court settlement, but the Supreme Court ruled that it was "just, fair, reasonable, appropriate and in the best interests of the members of the group."

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