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Argentina – Sports Betting to be key in new tournament

By - 16 May 2014

According to reports surfacing in local media the Argentinian government could soon give the green light online sports betting on local football matches.

Under current rules, only a very small number of local interactive betting sites are permitted to offer their services and, then, only in the province where they operate. Furthermore, the only official sanctioned sports betting in Argentina is via a sports betting game called Prode, which records revenues of less than US$100,000 per year.

However Prode could see a major re launch in the near future and could be offered online in order to generate the income needed for a new tournament made up of 30 teams approved by the Argentine Football Association (AFA). Scheduled to take place from 2015 the new tournament could include teams from provinces throughout the country which do not usually receive significant media coverage and income generated by online betting will be used to help teams on the brink of bankruptcy.

Prode, which has currently only a very limited number of outlets and is run by the National Lottery, allows Argentines to bet on the outcomes of 13 games played during the weekend in the first division. The game has consistently failed to attract local players despite being launched a total of three times (with prizes handed out to those who correctly predict the outcomes of all 13 games correctly).

However, according to plans now being considered by the government the game would be re launched and customers will be allowed to gamble on a wide number of variables during the tournament and during matches. This would mean that the government would first have to pass legislation which would allow for online betting.

Earlier this year it was revealed that online football betting could be permitted as part of a much wider package as the government seeks to re launch and improve its highly controversial “Futbal para todos” (Football for Everyone) programme.

The programme which allows free-to-air screening of local football matches, according to local Daily La Nacion, cost the government an estimated 4bn pesos from 2009 until 2012. Government broadcasting of local football matches has seen falling viewing figures ever since its inception due to poor coverage and low production values.

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