The history of gambling development in Argentina is quite interesting: from total prohibition to absolute legalization. However, the development of the online gambling sector (both casinos and sports betting) is just beginning, and it is predicted by rapid development.
Gambling regulation in the provinces of Argentina
The beginning of the Argentine gambling industry regulation can be considered 1999. On the 31st of May, the Supreme Court ruled that gambling (lotteries, casino games, bingo and slots) was not a matter of national importance. The state, for its part, is willing to address only crimes in this area. Officially, all the authority to create legislation and control the organization of gambling facilities is transferred to the local level. Each of the 24 administrative units (23 provinces and one federal district) could decide for itself whether to issue gambling licenses and under what conditions to do so. In 2002, Argentina’s online gambling sector was legalized at the state level, which was annually estimated at 1 billion rubles. In 2008, the government at the federal level – suddenly for all – banned all types of gambling. At the same time, all the licenses that had already been issued at the provincial level were banned. In 2009, the total ban – also without any explanation – was lifted. Since then, the offline and online gambling sector in Argentina has become legal, with licenses issued by the provincial authorities. According to 2021, all types of gambling are allowed in the state:
- slot machines
- sports betting
- horse racing
Land-based legal casinos operate in most provinces of Argentina, the total number of which exceeds 100. Most gambling venues are in Buenos Aires, Entre Rios, San Luis, Misiones, Santiago del Estero, Neuken?e, Chaco, Tucum?n. In 2019 – for the first time in the history of Argentina – online gambling was legalized in Buenos Aires District. It was planned that the authorities would issue 7 gambling licenses. How to get a gambling license in Argentina, Buenos Aires County?
Taxation of casinos in Argentina
All casinos and gambling facilities in Argentina pay taxes:
- at the federal level. From 2021 – as part of anti-crisis measures – this tax was raised from 2% to 5%. According to the forecasts of the authorities, 2.4 billion dollars for this year alone.
- at the local level, is set by each province. For example, in the province of Buenos Aires, the tax on gross gaming revenue for online operators is 25%, while for the land-based sector (casinos in the capital of Argentina) – 10%.
95% of taxes go to the budget of the province where they were collected.
How to work with an audience of players from Argentina?
The Argentine Republic is one of the largest states in South America. The population is more than 45 million people, the country is multinational and multicultural. The main language is Spanish, but many people speak English fluently. Nowadays, most Argentines are descendants of immigrants from Europe, Ukraine, and Russia, so they have a “European” mentality, unlike most South Americans. From the patterns of behavior can also be distinguished a tendency to “night” way of life. Many bars and restaurants open only at 8 p.m., dinner with family or partners is scheduled for 10 p.m. One of the traditional and interesting topics of conversation at the table is sports and, especially, football. Football is a special passion of the Argentines! When the national team plays, even educational institutions are closed, everyone is watching the match. Winning as well as losing is actively “celebrated”, up to street riots. By the way, the national sport in Argentina, surprisingly enough, is not football, but pato.The game has been known since the 17th century: eight players on horseback must throw a giant ball into a net. Originally, a duck in a basket was used instead of a ball. Hence the name of the game: pato means “duck” in Spanish. Another peculiarity of Argentines is their light and cheerful attitude to life. “No need to worry” is the national motto, and you have to live for today. This, in particular, explains the love of the population for gambling.
Player protection and gambling safety in Argentina
In order to work in Argentina, gambling operators must take care of the safety of players and meet certain requirements. In Argentina, player protection rules are applied at the federal level:
- State Law 25246 organizes the financial service (Unidad de Informaci?n Financiera, UIF), which is responsible for preventing fraudulent money laundering in the gambling business. If the winning amount exceeds 10,000 pesos (a little more than 100 US dollars), the winner is obliged to report to this service.
- Since 2005, Argentina has been operating a network of Ludoman centers under the State Player Assistance Program.
- Seminars on the prevention of gambling addiction are also held on an ongoing basis in many educational institutions.
- In 2021, a bill of national importance was drafted on the fight against ludomania (Ley No.29907, Ley para la prevenci?n y el tratamiento de la ludopat?a en las salas de juegos de casino y m?quinas tragamonedas).
There are also protection rules in force at the local level (using the Buenos Aires County legislation as an example). All sites must provide players with the following features:
- set a maximum deposit limit
- allow the player to limit the game time by himself
- to inform the player after 3 hours how long he is in the game. To repeat the notification every hour.
- to allow the player to make a request for temporary or permanent exclusion from the game. Information about the received request is sent to the Regulator, who maintains a register of self-exclusion. Casino operators cannot allow a person included in this Registry to play.
On the website of the Provincial Lottery Department and Casino of Buenos Aires Province, there is a hotline +54 (0221) 412-1100, by which players or their relatives can call for advice and assistance.
The future of gambling in Argentina: factors and prospects for development
- In 2019, Argentina has just taken the path of regulating the online segment for casinos and sports betting. The first step was taken in the Buenos Aires district – here they began issuing licenses for gambling organizations. Experts hope that the “domino effect” will work and other provinces, especially against the background of the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, will begin the process of creating laws to regulate gambling on the Internet.
- However, neither the legislation of Buenos Aires nor the bills of other districts write in detail what to do with offshore casinos, how to control and block their activities.
- The state authorities understand the need for further changes. Therefore, in the autumn of 2020, discussions on the creation of a special zone bet ar and the registration of domain names in it began. It will be possible to register a domain only with the approval of the official authorities. This will help to separate Argentina’s legal gambling offerings from the unauthorized ones and obtain a tool to combat illegal gambling and betting.
- Argentina is a country with its own characteristics. One of them is the instability of the political situation. Therefore, the development of gambling may depend on the position of the politician who is currently in power. The current President Alberto Fernandez (from 2019) and the Governor of Buenos Aires Maria Vidal are positively disposed to and understand the importance of gambling development. But things can change – the next elections in the country will take place in November 2021. Let’s hope that the current situation has had time to show all the benefits of legalized gambling.
- The development of online gambling and betting in Argentina was opposed by operators of the land-based segment. Immediately after the official legalization documents were signed, these companies went to court. The court rejected their application, but the trend itself persisted. This is primarily due to the fact that land-based casinos were forced to close for the duration of the quarantine and lost revenue, while online, on the contrary, gained momentum. Progress is unstoppable!
There is no perfect system for regulating online gambling in Argentina. But there is an understanding that the regulation of this industry is beneficial to all market participants: ordinary players, operators and authorities alike. Let’s hope that the positive tendency will continue, and you can push traffic to on casinos and bookmakers in Argentina now!