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Argentina – Gaming becomes central issue in Argentine elections

By - 10 April 2015

Gaming, especially in the capital Buenos Aires, is becoming an increasingly major issue in Argentina’s presidential elections due to take place in October 25, 2015.

City mayor Mauricio Macri and frontrunner in the election race has defended his record when it comes to gaming in the capital claiming that his administration “set limits” on gaming in the capital from “day one” since he took office.

“They (the opposition) have tried to increase the number of bingo halls and we have rejected it and we will put these limits in practice on a national level when we come into power. The body which defines what is done in gaming is the National Lottery – we have only been minor players with little room for action until now,” he said in an interview on local radio.

His comments come after the Institute of Gaming for the Capital carried out legal proceedings to prohibit local businessman Cristóbal López from opening up five more bingo halls last month. Cristóbal López’s company Casino Club has the right to run the slot machines in the racino in downtown Buenos Aires and has a significant share of the floating casinos moored permanently to the city harbour.
According to Macri, no more could “have been done” as mayor of the city in order to control gaming and promised that if he should be elected president than he would analyse “what is happening” within the National Lottery. “When I arrive at the national level and look at the lottery, we will see what’s going on in there,” he said.

The statements came after criticism that as city Mayor that he had not done enough to control gaming in the capital. The frontrunner defended his record and said that in the future that: “We must put an absolute restriction on gaming,” and added that it is an activity that “destroys the most humble of people.” He went onto say he and other local leaders had been become increasingly preoccupied with the rise of gaming on a national level.

Gaming is becoming an increasingly important issue in the electoral debate. Macri’s comments come on the heels of statements made by political rival Sergio Massa, who according to polls is in third place in Argentina’s presidential election . Massa wants to nationalise gaming, put the money towards education and has challenged the government to make gaming state run.

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