In the last regular legislative session of the year, the Chamber of Deputies of Santa Fe approved and sent to the Senate a project to regulate online gambling in the province.
The initiative was sanctioned with 38 votes in favour and rejected by six legislators.
The bill was promoted by Fabián Bastia and Marcelo González both members of the ruling party of governor Maximiliano Pullaro. Bill 52665 establishes that taxes increase from the current 10% to 15% GGR and that 50 per cent of the money collected will be allocated to gambling prevention and awareness campaigns. It also allows for online sports betting.
The project allows the current license holders permission to continue to operate online casino games “but only in relation to the games already authorized in physical rooms, for a period coinciding with the current concession. That is, when the physical casino concession expires, the same will happen with the virtual license.” 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.” And it clarifies: “If within 180 days of this promulgation the enforcement authority has not implemented the exploitation itself, it must call a bidding process.”
The new law was put forward just days after the new government took office, with members belonging to the ruling party drafting the text of the new law.
In 2020, 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 bill’s passage means that the province will follow Buenos Aires, Mendoza and most recently Cordoba in opening up the online gaming market. Online gambling is also present in Corrientes, Chaco, Misiones, San Luis, Tucumán, Entre Ríos, La Pampa, Neuquén and Río Negro.