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Argentina – Santa Fe senate approves online bill

By - 18 December 2023

The Senate of the province of Santa Fe sanctioned several bills sent by the Executive Branch, headed by Governor Maximiliano Pullaro. Among them was the online gambling bill. Online gaming was approved without any changes.

The initiative, which was approved unanimously, “establishes regulations for the development and exploitation of the activity of games of chance, sports betting and sports predictions, online or in virtual form , which are carried out through digital, electronic, computer, telematic, interactive, telecommunications media, platforms, and those that are developed in the future.”

The bill was promoted by Fabián Bastia and Marcelo González both members of the ruling party of governor Maximiliano Pullaro. The bill establishes that taxes increase from the current 10% to 15% GGR and that 50% 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.

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