Buenos Aires Province moves forward with online gambling

Business News

Argentina looks like it is going to be moving forward with plans to increase online gambling in the country. A budget proposal has been put forward in Buenos Aires that would allow the biggest province and capital city to issue licenses to seven online gambling operators.

A senate committee is now studying the proposal, which also seeks to impose a 2% tax on bingo and casino winnings. A social fund will also be set up, into which all tax collections will be funneled.

The government is taking a firm stance on license applicants, saying they should first set up a shop in Buenos Aires before being granted a license. Buenos Aires would also impose tough measures on unauthorized gambling sites that accept wagers from local punters. It would partner with other provinces to identify illicit operators and would have their domain blocked.

Under the proposal, the operators’ online revenue would be taxed at 15%. The plan would boost the 2.2 billion in the local currency which is the equivalent of $61.8 million of annual gaming revenue.

The proponent of the Budget Bill 2019, Gov. Maria Eugenia Vidal said authorizing in-house gambling would give the government greater regulatory powers.

Vidal who has in the past been a vocal opponent for the gaming industry made a surprise move when she unveiled the proposal earlier this week. The Governor said she has no problem with casinos being built in tourist areas, but she said gambling rooms should not be set up in poor places.

Justifying her proposal, Vidal said authorizing online gambling in the province, which has around 16 million residents, will enable the government to have greater control of how the online gambling process works, as well as provide enhanced protection for vulnerable players through self-exclusion tools.

The seven online gambling licenses would span online casino games, sports wagering, as well as races and pop culture events.

If Vidal’s proposal pushes through, Buenos Aires could open a new million-dollar market for online gambling, generating much-needed revenue to tackle the economic crisis.

According to local media, Vidal’s proposal was influenced by Matias Lanusse, Director of the Buenos Aires Province Institute of Lotteries and Casinos. Lanusse reportedly took the online gambling idea to Vidal, highlighting the opportunities it would create for the city.