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Argentina – ALEA and Mercado Libre sign agreement to combat illegal gambling

By - 9 November 2020

ALEA (The Association of Argentina’s State Lotteries) and Mercado Libre have signed agreement to combat illegal gambling and to prevent the Mercado Libre and Mercado Pago sites from being used to carry out unauthorised online gambling and betting transactions.

At the beginning of the social and preventive isolation and with the preventive closure of rooms, casinos and official gaming agencies, the state lotteries of each jurisdiction of the country had warned with a unified message through ALEA, about the exponential increase in gambling illegal online.

The Argentine gambling regulatory bodies warned about the proliferation of clandestine gambling and the danger it represents, taking into account vulnerable sectors to which it is directed, offering games such as bingo games through social networks live, for which he used electronic payment platforms, taking advantage of the context for his illegal business and misrepresenting the slogan ‘Stay at Home’, as an illegitimate incentive to gamble in an unrestricted and illegal way.

It stated: “Once again the lotteries of Argentina, grouped in ALEA, come together to warn about the existence of illegal gambling in this context of the coronavirus pandemic. The possibility of playing legally was suspended in our country since last March 20. The members of ALEA have come together to warn about the existence of illegal gambling in numerous jurisdictions: the unscrupulous of always use confinement to increase their spurious business that not only does not pay taxes to the State where that bet is made, but also does not protect the person who makes the play, does not guarantee the collection of the prize. Illegal gambling undermines state funds, when they need it most.”

“From the end of April and during the first week of May, five of the twenty-four jurisdictions reopened their gaming agencies, applying the biosafety protocols approved by the respective authorities, while the gaming halls remain closed. Meanwhile, international sites continue to attract Argentine gambling bets that are promoted through the media and national and foreign portals, in a kind of public legitimation when, in reality, they constitute an alarming offer of illegal gambling that, we emphasise, has been classified as a criminal offence.”

On April 29, Corrientes and Jujuy reopened their agencies, with their own lottery raffles and applying strict sanitary measures. On May 3, Misiones was added and a day later, Santiago del Estero. For its part, Entre Ríos, applied a delivery method, without raffles. And on the 5th, Chubut began, with its own draws.

While Neuquén and Río Negro are preparing to jointly reestablish activity, Chaco and Catamarca will be activating their agencies also in May.

In the search for solutions to stop this scourge, the regulatory bodies began conversations with representatives of Mercado Libre that allowed the signing of a collaboration agreement, whose purpose is to exchange information, technical knowledge and experience related to the sale of products and / or illegal gambling and gambling services. Through this agreement, the commitment and social responsibility of the company was evidenced, which, it should be noted, had a multidisciplinary technical team available from the beginning of the conversations, which demonstrated with objective, efficient and timely facts, its active collaboration for the detection and immediate interruption of actions carried out by third parties that violate the terms and conditions of the website related to betting.

Alea has also warned that government plans to increase taxation on online gambling from two per cent to five per cent of stakes will spur the growth of illegal or by increasing pressure on the regulated sector. It also warned that such a move would contravene the constitutional powers of the provincial jurisdictions, taking power over gambling from the regions to the national government.

Minister for the economy Martín Guzmán, recently confirmed the increased tax in the 2021 national budget.

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