UK online gambling operator Bet365 has made its official launch into Mexico’s digital market via the Bet365.mx domain.
This week, the Stoke-based Bet365’s Mexican-facing site made its official debut, complete with the official stamp of the Dirección General de Juegos y Sorteos (DGJS), a division of the Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB), which oversees gambling activity in the country.
The site lists Bet365’s local partner as the Mexico City-based Ganador Azteca (Aztec Winner), a spinoff of the TV Azteca multimedia conglomerate, Mexico’s second largest media firm behind Televisa (which has, for the moment, its own gambling operations).
TV Azteca was granted a 25-year gaming license last September that originally allowed it to open one land-based casino in the state of Veracruz. The license also permitted the company to operate a single gambling website.
However, this license was amended in early November to permit the company to “operate individually or with one or more operators, to collect bets through various domains or various internet sites.” Later that same month, the license was amended again to specifically identify Bet365.mx as the domain by which the company planned to serve Mexican gamblers.
Like most European gambling giants, Bet365 has made no secret of its interest in Latin America. Earlier this month, the company struck a prospective partnership with Argentine bingo operator Pasteko to bid on an online gambling license in the province of Buenos Aires.
In March, TV Azteca inked a deal to promote the World Poker Tour and its sister company Allied Esports throughout Latin America. This week, TV Azteca announced it was taking a $5m stake in Allied Esports with the idea of creating a new eSports digital channel and a permanent eSports competition venue in Mexico.
Mexico officially tolerates international online gambling operators provided they partner with a local firm, but the government never seems to get around to formally updating its gambling laws, which date back to 1947. This week saw a federal deputy of the Morena party propose an update of the gambling laws, but the intent was only to ensure swifter closure of land-based casinos that lack official licenses.
Recent studies have shown Mexico has a seriously low (0.8%) online gambling penetration rate, which may have something to do with previous reports that said only around half of all Mexicans with internet access have a valid bank card.