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Argentina – Nationalisation call spreads to Neuquén

By - 13 May 2013

Union members and local politicians are calling for the nationalisation of casinos in the province of Neuquén. The announcement was made jointly last week by head of the local casino union and member of the local state legislature Raúl Godoy. Secretary General of the Casino Workers Union  Marcelo Blasco said in a press conference last Thursday that (9 May 2013):  “It’s necessary to make the profits of a sector which no one wants to control more transparent. For us the best thing that could happen in that regard would be the nationalisation of gaming so that the money could go back to the society where it is gambled.”

Meanwhile local politician, Mr. Godoy told press: “We think that the law should be voted on in the Legislature as gaming businesses keep a lot of the profit which is then taken outside the province by a small group of business men.” According to the new law 50 per cent of all profits would go to the local governments where they are located, 20 per cent to a gaming control board and 30 per cent to the province which would then be used for education and healthcare. Mr. Gody stated also that as the majority of the 23 casino licences in the state end at the end of 2014 they would simply not be renewed. In order for the move to gain momentum it was also announced that locals would be asked to sign a petition on the issue.

While the move is at an early stage it reflects a growing trend in the region with local governments looking at placing an industry which has been growing rapidly in recent years in state hands. The announcement means that two provinces in Argentina are now looking at the nationalisation of casinos. As reported in April a number of local gaming unions in Buenos Aires province are now urging the government to put 12 casinos under state control so that the state should reap the benefits of gaming. The proposal in the province of Buenos Aires has been gaining ground and now has the backing of two State Senators who have introduced a bill into the Legislature of Buenos Aires Province.

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