Mexico – Gaming industry shrinking say expertsBy Lewis - 14 July 2014
The Mexican gaming industry is in decline and “shrinking” according the Mexican Gaming Association (AIEJA). Speaking to local press, President of the AIEJA Miguel Angel Ochoa said that operators are reluctant to open new casinos and expand their businesses due to a climate of growing uncertainty now affecting the whole industry.
After three years of continuous growth in terms of investment and employment, the sector recorded a decline of 30 per cent in revenue in 2014, according to the AIEJA. The recent closure of casinos by the Interior Ministry (SEGOB) in Nuevo Leon, Coahuila and Chiapas, the suspension of permits from the Ministry of the Interior (Interior Ministry) of a total of 50 casinos and a wide number of corruption cases involving law makers and local courts have, according to the AIEJA, thrown the future of the industry in doubt.
Earlier this year SEGOB revoked the federal permit that had allowed EMEX (Entretenimiento De Mexico) to operate up to 50 gaming centres in the country and SEGOB’s actions are part of a more thorough investigation into licences many of which were first granted in 2005. In June it was further revealed that he Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB) was also investigating local operator Big Bola, the property of the Rodríguez Borgio family company, on alleged charges of money laundering offenses as well as insufficient documentation when it comes to their licenses.
According to statistics gathered by the AIEJA, casino closures of late have caused losses of up to U.S$ 200m and from 2012 have resulted in 7,000 job losses. During the same period around 100 slot parlours have been closed.
“Today the industry has shrunk.” Mr. Angel Ochoa said. “Today’s attendance at the end of the year instead of exceeding the three million, hardly reached the two and a half million mark.”
However, major changes for the industry look increasingly likely later this year. According to local sources an initiative, which would see many fundamental changes to Mexico’s gaming laws, could be ready as early as September.