Argentina’s online gambling prospects are once again on the rise after the city of Buenos Aires published new regulations governing online play.
On Friday, the Loteria de la Ciudad (LOTBA) in the autonomous city of Buenos Aires’ published details of its plan to start vetting online sports betting and casino operators who want to offer services to the city’s roughly 3m residents by the final quarter of this year.
It’s worth noting that these operations would be confined to the autonomous city, although hopes are high that, should this effort prove successful, it could invigorate efforts to regulate online gambling at both the provincial and national levels.
The Instituto Provincial de Lotería y Casinos (IPLyC), which oversees gambling in the province of Buenos Aires – a separate legal entity from the city – announced plans last spring to issue seven online gambling licenses. Sadly, these plans were put on hold following changes in the provincial government’s lineup last August.
LOTBA is proposing to authorize an unlimited number of ‘Online Gaming Agencies’ that would be allowed to offer online sports betting, virtual betting, non-sports betting, slots, roulette, blackjack, punto banco baccarat, poker and lottery games. While there will be no competitive tender, there are a few hurdles operators will need to clear.
Companies interested in becoming an ‘Agency’ would need to pay an upfront fee of US$30k, prove that they’ve been in business for two years, have annual revenue of ARS100m (US$1.6m) and demonstrate a net worth of $25m.
Licenses would be valid for an initial five-year term, extendable for an additional five years. Agencies would pay an annual license fee of $100k and 10% tax on their online revenue.
They also have to submit a Guarantee of Compliance in the sum of $2m, although this will be reduced to $1m following accreditation of the final technical certification report. Customer account balances must be kept in a separate city bank account that LOTBA will control.
There are also detailed boundaries on advertising and marketing communications, responsible gambling and free-to-play games, all of which suggests that LOTBA has been contemplating this move for some time, or at least since their provincial counterparts dropped the ball.