Gambling laws and licenses in Argentina

Gambling in Argentina

Gambling in Argentina forms one of the largest gaming markets in Latin America. Gambling laws in Argentina are pro gambling. The industry brings 4.1 billion USD each year. Only Brazil and Mexico are ahead of Argentina in this regard. The gaming market in Argentina has been developing quite rapidly. About 100 licensed casinos that feature a wide spectrum of gambling entertainment are operating in the country. Regulation is conducted at the provincial levels. Each province has its own laws.

Casinos in Argentina

These are the provinces that have most of the gaming establishments per capita: Buenos Aires, Entre Ríos, San Luis, Misiones, Santiago del Estero, Neuquén, Chaco and Tucumán. Online gambling has been legal since 2002. Online market takes up about 1 billion USD of all bets and expenditures by the Argentines. In 2008 the government banned the issuance of licenses to online operators at the national level. Companies must apply to provincial authorities for a permit.

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Buenos Aires Casinos

Pursuant to Article 37 of Provincial Constitution (Carta Magna), the local authorities retain the monopoly on running casinos and gambling halls. The Article also clearly points out that no privatisation or concession is possible, as is the case in other countries. In practice, however, several establishments are run by private operators, which are affiliates of Boldt S.A. That company, in turn, deals with information technologies, security systems and entertainment and tourist centres. Private facilities take 50.82% of the gross revenue from slot machines. Provincial government takes all proceeds from table games.

The rest of the casinos are run by the state. In all of the establishments Boldt S.A. is responsible for the installation and maintenance of slot machines. All in all, a total of 62 gambling halls with all sorts of games are operating all throughout the province. The total number of slot machines is about 22,000. The main establishment is Casino de Tigre, which brings 50.82% of pure profit. Bingo halls bring 34% of pure profit.

Santa Fe Casinos

Santa Fe Province was the last one to allow setting up gaming clubs in its territory. The law was passed in December 2001. Three casinos are operating in the province: Rosario City Center, Casino Melincué and Casino de Santa Fe. Each of these casinos brings an estimated 20% of net profit of the province's gambling industry. The total number of slot machines is 3,901. The operators pay an extra tax on each gaming table each month. The rate varies from 1,100 to 2,000 USD, depending on the establishment and the casino.

Cordoba Slot Machines

In March 2000 Cordoba allowed to privatise the establishments. Moreover, slot machines started springing up in the province ever since. The operator of all games within the province is Entertainment and Tourism Company (CET). Cordoba granted this company the concession to run slot machines, starting from 2002. Nowadays this organisation runs 19 halls with 3,398 slot machines. The pure profit is 34% of the overall amount coming from all of the casinos. 31% of them goes to the provincial government, and 4% to municipalities. Most of the proceeds come from slot machines. Even school canteens are sponsored with these funds.

Gambling Games in Argentina

Online casinos in Argentina feature a wide range of games for all gambling fans. The most popular category is slot machines, as is the case in land-based casinos. Below is a list of the most popular slots played in online casinos in Argentina: 5 Reel Drive, Forbidden Throne, Dead or Alive, Wild Toro and Irish Gold.

  • 5 Reel Drive is a slot developed by Microgaming that comes with 5 reels and 9 paylines. This is one of the simplest slots with no bonuses, and yet there is a Wild and a Scatter symbols present.

  • Forbidden Throne is a five-reel slot developed by Microgaming that comes with 40 paylines. The slot features Wild reels and a series of free spins.

  • Dead or Alive is a five-reel slot by NetEnt. The slot features 5 paylines, two types of Wild symbols and free spins with extra multipliers.

  • Wild Toro is a slot developed by Elk Studios that comes with 5 reels and 178 ways to produce winning combinations. The game strategy can be set automatically. The slot features 2 types of Wild symbols, re-spins and a bonus game.

  • Irish Gold is a three-reel slot with 5 paylines by Play’n GO. This is where you have a chance to hit the jackpot of 5,000 coins.

Gambling Legislation

Each province of Argentina has its own set of gaming laws. There is no law applied nationwide. On May 31, 1999 the country's Supreme Court ruled that regulating of gambling games (lotteries, casino games, bingo and slots) is not a nationwide issue. In this regard the state only deals with the issues related to crime as well as with conducting the National Lottery. Each province in Argentina determines individually which games will be allowed in its territory and which ones will be banned. Buenos Aires is the biggest province in Argentina. This part of the country mentions gambling in its Constitution.

Not that long ago the Government of the Republic has published the bill on a nationwide scale dedicated to the fight against ludomania (Ley Nº 29907, Ley para la prevención y el tratamiento de la ludopatía en las salas de juegos de casino y máquinas tragamonedas). This is probably the only law on a nationwide scale concerning the gambling industry in Argentina.

Gambling Licensing

Rules for issuing a land-based license differ from province to province. Online licenses are issued by Asociación de Loterías, Quinielas y Casinos Estatales de Argentina. The laws, however, are often so vague that the operators at times use foreign licenses or a license issued by one of the provinces only.

Gambling Regulators

State Law 25246 authorised setting up of the financial service (Unidad de Información Financiera, UIF), which is responsible for prevention of fraudulent money laundering in gambling business. If the amount of winning exceeds 10,000 pesos, the winner must report to this service. These are the regulating authorities that deal with gambling issues in Argentina:

  • Provincial governments of Argentina

  • Association of Lotteries, Pools and Casinos of Argentina (ALEA) (Asociación de Loterías, Quinielas y Casinos Estatales de Argentina, ALEA) is a state-run organisation that regulates many issues of the gambling industry and sports

  • Directorate General of Casino Games and Slot Machines (Dirección General de Juegos de Casino y Máquinas Tragamonedas) of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR)

Argentina is also a member of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering in South America (GAFISUD). National lottery is run by Ministry of Social Development (Ministerio de Desarrollo Social). This state government body receives and distributes the proceeds from the lottery. The company that runs National Lottery is called Lottery Nacional S.E. This company provides more than lotteries, they also cover sports betting, casino games and horse racing among other gambling entertainment.

Development of the Gambling Market

Argentina is one of the largest gambling markets in the entire Latin America. This is the reason why leading developers of casino games and slots choose Argentina as their homebase for operations in this region. These are the companies that can be listed among the major developers: Playtika, WMS Gaming, Konami and IGT. Leander Games is an Argentinian-based company that develops slot machines. This studio develops video slots of pretty high quality and specialises in the online market. Today Argentina is showing an amazingly high rate of growth of its gambling industry. Yet this growth is almost not monitored due to the fact that there are no national laws that would regulate gambling. This is why there are many discrepancies arising along with loopholes that fraudsters can use.

The market does not operate transparently, and the number of gambling facilities in Argentina is not limited by anything. Such an explosive growth can result in a complete ban on gambling. As the experience of other countries shows, it may not lead to anything good. In order for the gambling industry to keep developing and bringing a decent profit to the nation, Argentina must focus on its legislation. This will be necessary in order to pass some transparent and clear-cut laws, impose reasonable taxes and restrictions and increase control over the problem with gambling addiction.

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