Racetrack operators of the San Isidro and La Plata tracks in the province of Buenos Aires are lobbying the government for permission to house slot machines on their premises.
The initiative is designed to make up for lost income, which will result from the reduction of state subsidies. Sources from the equestrian sector say that the proposal is to allow for the running of between 1,300 and 1,400 slot machines at each location.
Diego Quiroga head of The Association of Racetrack and Betting Agency Personnel (APHARA) told local daily La Política Online that the proposal is not to increase the number of slots in the province, but rather to seek a redistribution of the current number of slot machines already in operation in the province.
“The casinos and bingo halls on the Buenos Aires coast work well three months a year, bringing machines to La Plata and San Isidro means that they could be in operation for the rest of the months of the year,” he said.
In February 2017, Governor of the province of Buenos Aires María Eugenia Vidal announced that she would cut subsidies to horse racing tracks completely. For more than ten years, the province has subsidised the activity of racetracks and subsidised different trade associations.
The government of Buenos Aires could begin phasing out the subsidies starting in December according to a new law, which has been submitted to the Senate of the Province for approval. Vidal has been an outspoken critic of gaming in the province and is strongly opposed to state subsidies to racetracks.
The law revises article 29 of Law 13,253 that earmarks the subsidy to the horse racing industry and sets out a proposal for a new horse racing law. The law proposes that government funds will be earmarked for other government projects and that the activity should be able to generate sufficient funds on its own by providing racing content from local track for simulcast horse-wagering abroad as well as other measures. There are five racetracks in the province, which all receive annual subsidies: San Isidro ($410m), La Plata ($410m), Azul ($25m), Tandil ($ 25m) and Dolores ($18m).