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Argentina – Operators in Santa Fe could sue government over tax increases

By - 16 January 2024

Faced with increased taxes, which were imposed in December, two operators which operate the casinos in the province of Santa Fe have said that they are considering taking legal action against the government. In December the provincial legislature passed a new law which increased taxes from 6.5% to 10.5% on gross income across a number of sectors including casinos.

The casino operators said that they are considering suing the government of Maximiliano Pullaro, whose team promoted the project.

The three Santa Fe casinos are run by the Boldt Group, which has the concession of the Santa Fe and Melincué gaming halls, and Ricardo Benedicto, who operates the City Center of Rosario. According to local press, both firms have said that they are planning to initiate legal action against the government because they believe that the tax is confiscatory.

Casino Santa Fe warned of a future of “zero profitability” with the new law, which will force them to modify their investment plan in the city of Santa Fe.

In December the province sanctioned several bills sent by the Executive Branch. Among them was an online gambling bill. Online gaming was approved without any changes. Bill 52665 establishes that taxes increased on online gambling from 10% to 15% GGR. It also allows for online sports betting.

In 2020, ex Governor Omar Perotti  awarded online gaming to the officially authorized physical casino operators in the province: the City Center of Rosario, the Casino Melincué SA and the Casino Puerto Santa Fe SA. The companies had been permitted via a decree to offer online casino games during the pandemic as casinos were closed during that time. The regulations were controversial as the Court of Accounts warned that the current law in Santa Fe did not cover online gambling and Pullaro himself then a deputy filed a criminal complaint, as he said that the decree was illegal.

The project approved in December allows the current license holders permission to continue to operate online casino games. It also establishes that the application authority namely the Santa Fe Lottery Social Assistance Fund “can develop its own online platform, or carry out a national and international public tender.”

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