Argentina – Almost $2m gambled a week in Neuquén ProvinceBy Phil - 5 January 2015
According to data provided by Neuquén’s Provincial Institute of Gaming (IJAN), casinos in the province of Neuquén now generate more money than all of the lottery agencies combined taking 60 per cent of the $17m pesos (U.S$2m) generated weekly by gambling.
Data collected by the institute found that combined, locals gamble around $894m pesos a year divided between lottery agencies, casinos and slot parlours. Combined money generated from casinos and slot parlours stood at more than $544m pesos in 2014 with the IJAN collecting around $98m in tax from a total of nineteen gambling establishments in the province.
In 2014 a total of $350m was gambled in lottery agencies. With income tax set at 18 per cent of total profits Antonio Reus, Provincial Director of Lotteries and Quiniela, explained that 60 per cent is returned to the customer in prizes while the remaining fees are destined for everyday running costs of the gaming institute and the financing of social welfare projects.
“Via law 2571 which was passed in 2010,” he said, “today the IJAN is not only an instrument of administration and gambling control in the province, but also provides and generates solutions for locals,” he said adding that since the creation of the Institute a total of $214m pesos have been transferred from gambling to social welfare programmes. This includes $114.7m pesos which has been earmarked exclusively for education.
In addition, all casinos and games rooms must pay provincial and municipal taxes according to their income. Ricardo Pullella, Provincial Director of Slot Parlours and Casinos, said that 20 per cent of their revenue in taxes are earmarked for the municipalities where they are located. Tax collection and efficient running of the industry, he said, has also been aided by an online system of monitoring of all gaming systems which is carried out in real time.
The rise in gaming in the province has been the cause of some controversy of late. In May 2013 Union members and local politicians called for the nationalisation of casinos in the province while later in the year a number of lawmakers considered restricting opening hours for bingo halls, casinos and slot parlours. However both proposals have become stalled and gaming in the province looks likely to continue to rise in 2015.