Mexico has dropped to third place in terms of market size having been overtaken by Chile with Argentina still in first place.
The drop is because over 80 gaming rooms have had their licences revoked by The Secretary of Government (SEGOB), Mexico’s Interior Ministry over the last six years.
Speaking at the First National Convention of the Gaming Industry held on October 17 – 18 at Mexico City’s Citi Banamex Centre, President of the Mexican Gaming Association (AIEJA) Miguel Angel Ochoa Sanchez said, “Mexico occupies third place in Latin America. The most developed is Argentina where gaming has been present for forty years, but in Mexico, gaming has been present for ten. We have not grown. We had less gambling centres this has reduced us to third place, they (Chile) grew and we have not. The issue has been to organise growth and to control it better, I think it is valid, but now that we are organised it is time to grow.”
In 2013 there were more than 400 gaming rooms in Mexico while today there are 321. The head of the AIEJA said that the closures were related to the revocation of permits since in some cases if a casino had opened with irregularities, licences had been revoked for the entire casino as well as gaming rooms attached to the casino.
Ochoa Sanchez urged lawmakers to pass new gaming laws, which would replace Mexico’s Raffles and Gambling Act, which dates back to 1947.
“There are five important changes: each permit is granted per room with a duration of 12 years, it covers online regulation, the encouragement of growth for the opening up of tourist or emerging areas, the regulation of machines, and the certification of people who work in casinos for the greater security of customers and in order to help authority control,” he said.
Under new rules now being considered in the Mexican Senate, slot parlours and sports betting shops will also no longer be able to rely on stays of closure and protection from local courts if they are found to be in contravention of their licenses. Instead, under present proposals, operators currently operating a license under the terms of the old 1947 Raffles and Gambling Act would be allowed to operate until their licenses expire but would then have to reapply for a new license and meet the requirements stated by the new act.
Talking to press in February, Ochoa Sanchez said that the new bill will probably not be passed during the remainder of the six-year Presidential term. General elections are scheduled to be held in Mexico in July 2018. In addition, he said that legislation has been pushed aside as more pressing matters have been forced upon the Senate.