After Decree 181 was approved by the Argentinian province of Buenos Aires last December, after what seemed like a never-ending debate over the bill’s language, online gambling started to make its way into the province. There was still more work to be done before the industry could truly grab hold, and one item on the list was to have the decree published in the Boletin Oficial, the country’s official newspaper. That has now happened and Buenos Aires is the first province in Argentina to legalize online gaming.
According to Argentinian law, responsibility for legalizing and regulating online gaming and betting activity falls to the individual provinces. With Buenos Aires having gotten the ball rolling, there is hope that other provinces in the country will follow suit and introduce their own legislation to help the activity spread.
According to Decree 181, the Buenos Aires Provincial Institute of Lottery and Casinos will oversee the activity and will be in charge of issuing licenses to operators. In total, as many as seven online licenses are authorized by the decree and an operator is only allowed a maximum of one.
To secure a license, operators must meet 20 specific requirements. Applications will be reviewed by an appointed committee and the entities will be judged based on industry experience, data security, financial capacity and more. Licensees must have a strict marketing plan that doesn’t target minors younger than 18 and have to create a responsible gambling strategy that includes a self-exclusion program.
Online slots and other casino games, horserace and virtual sports gambling and sportsbooks are authorized by the decree. Non-sports gambling is also allowed, as long as they don’t deal with politics. All activity is subject to a tax rate of 25% on revenue, 10% more than initially requested.
As opposed to many governments who fail to see the bigger picture, the government of Buenos Aires understood that the best way to eradicate illegal gambling was to make gambling legal. It’s impossible to stop gambling, so the best course of action is to embrace it, protect consumers and, at the same time, add income to the state’s coffers. This way, gambling fraud is reduced, less money is laundered and other types of financial crimes, such as loan sharking and extortion, can be eliminated.