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Argentina – Momentum builds to revoke online licenses in Córdoba

By - 8 April 2024

Momentum is growing in the province of Córdoba to effectively put an end to legalised online gambling due to growing fears over gambling addiction. Through a statement, the Evangelical Church expressed its support for a bill that would limit online gambling and rescind licenses already granted by the provincial government.

Pastors from the province issued an official statement supporting the project presented by the legislative bloc of Encuentro Vecinal. Last month right wing conservative party Encuentro Vecinal Córdoba announced that it would propose two bills that would limit the “actions of online gambling that are exploited” in the province. In a statement, the party clarified that they are looking to prohibit the granting of new online gambling licenses, prohibit the creation of new modalities of gambling and create a commission of experts to evaluate the termination of existing contracts regulated by Law 10.793.

The church has now backed this bill in a statement.

“The Pastoral Council of the Evangelical Church of Cordoba has consistently maintained a position against the legalization of online gambling in the province of Cordoba, something that has already been publicly expressed on numerous occasions, and even in person by Pastor Carlos Belart before the legislators during the commission meeting held at the provincial Legislature on December 28, 2021, prior to the approval of the disastrous project to regulate online gambling in its various modalities,” the church stated.

“For this reason, it expresses its support for Bill 38.937/L/24, presented by legislator Rodrigo Agrelo, which prohibits the granting of new licenses and/or modalities of online gambling and creates a Special Commission of Experts to evaluate the rescission of contracts already awarded under Law No. 10.793. At the same time, in the short term and until the current law is repealed, it views favourably the implementation of the control mechanisms mentioned in the project of legislator Alejandra Ferrero to prevent access to these games by minors.”

The bill put forward by Alejandra Ferrero in February has the backing of coalition Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change) and proposes the prohibition of online gambling advertising and sponsorships in the province. The bill also proposes the implementation of a biometric data registry to prevent minors from accessing online gambling.

The church council went on to say that: “Unfortunately, we are witnessing an increase in cases of gambling addiction among adolescents and young people, the consequence of a bad political decision influenced by powerful interests contrary to the general well-being of the population. A situation that is further exacerbated by the context of economic crisis and the advance of drug trafficking in our country.”

Online betting is only permitted from devices located in the province of Córdoba and online gambling is distributed between four companies: Betsson, PlayCet, B-Play and Jugadón. Licenses are valid for 15 years and may not be renewed.

Betsson partnered up with Argentine casino operator Casino de Victoria. Locally based slot operator CET (Concesionaria de Entretenimiento y Turismo) operates jointly with the Paraguayan sports betting operator Daruma Sam. Buenos Aires-based slot operator Boldt partnered with SG Digital (B-Play), while online casino brand Jugadón is operated by a group that operates arcades, racetracks and slot machines in the province of San Luis.

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