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Argentina – Tender for online licences in Buenos Aires set for early 2019

By - 20 December 2018

The government of the province of Buenos Aires plans to tender the licenses to operate online gambling in the region in the first quarter of the year, according to official sources.

The provincial Institute of Lotteries and Casinos (IPLyC) is now working on the terms and conditions for the new tender so that they will be ready by the end of January and the beginning of February. They in turn will be analyzed by the General Counselling Office of the Government, the Accounting Office and the State Prosecutor’s Office. The Government estimates that the tender to operate the seven online gambling licenses will take place between March and April. Although the deadline is only a few months away officials are confident that they can meet the deadline, according to local news portal La Tecla.

The companies that operate the licenses will have to pay about a quarter of their turnover, which is made up of fifteen per cent of Gross Revenue, eight per cent of a specific tax on online gambling, and a two per cent fee. According to the regulations, the new law allows for online casino games as well as sports betting and horse racing with some restrictions on local football matches.

The news comes as the tension between the church and the government’s stance on gambling intensifies. Only this month the National Commission for Pastoral Care for Addictions and Drug Addiction criticised the new initiative arguing that a much wider debate should have been held on the issue. “An issue of such importance did not have the possibility of being discussed by society as it should have because it was included in a broader law,” the organisation said in a statement.
The Commission took aim at the government’s stance on gaming saying that the new gaming policy amounted to an about face when it came to gambling. However the head of the IPLyC Matías Lanusse in a letter addressed to the Church, defended the government’s stance saying that it would lead to more efficient protection measures in the long run: “This legislation and its regulations will allow us to exercise limits, care for and protect members of the community, reduce the risk of addiction and disease, and establish a legal framework to ensure that the activity does not grow, ” he said. Lanusse also emphasised the fact that during Governor Vidal’s administration three casinos and two bingo halls had been closed and the building of a new gambling facility had been stopped.

Earlier this month the Legislature of the province of Buenos Aires approved online gaming throughout the province. The project met with fierce resistance amongst members of the coalition party Cambiemos as well as other lawmakers. However, legislators both in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies voted for the new measure due to the real need to raise additional government revenue.

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