Mexico – Claims of corruption during drafting of new gaming lawBy Phil - 12 December 2014
The Director General of Gaming and Raffles María Marcela González Salas, has come forward to say that she was offered bribes and even threatened by those with ties to the industry during the draft stages of Mexico’s new gaming law.
“They always said that there was a way to work things out. First they offered me money, then they offered support for the DIF (social welfare programmes), threats were made to myself and my staff as they said that they knew where I lived,” said González Salas in an interview with the local news daily El Universal.
She described the effort to stop the bill as continuous as it seeks to end the reign of the so called “Casino Tsars” as they are known locally and put an end to corruption and impunity both of which have been characteristics of the Mexican gaming industry for many years.
Defending the new act González Salas said that it was imperative that the government “put clear rules in place for people who play, so that they know that they will not be cheated and that they will be respected as a player and as a human being.”
If passed by the Senate, the new act will also enforce a number of player protection measures including the obligation on operators to report all bets which exceed 30,000 pesos (around U.S$ 2,000) to the Treasury, a measure which is designed to curb gambling addiction.
The new law also puts an end to the so called “umbrella” licences whereby operators have been able to operate a number of slot parlours and sports betting shops under a single licence. Instead, each casino or gaming establishment will be issued a single licence per gaming establishment.
The new law has been the result of many months of work by the special committee first convened to look into the issue back in April 2013. The committee made up of 11 deputies was charged with looking into how licenses had been granted by the Interior Ministry (SEGOB) after growing reports of corruption and allegations that former members of SEGOB had trafficked licenses.