Mexico – Mexican operators protest against slot confiscationsBy Phil - 23 March 2015
Around 1,000 members of the National Union of Slot Machine operators (Unión Nacional de Maquineros) have staged a protest outside the Ministry of the Interior of Mexico in Mexico City to demand the suspension of police operations aimed against them.
Workers from a wide number of shops and small business which house slot machines on the premises demanded that new laws be passed to regulate the industry and that police forces supply the necessary documentation before confiscating and destroying their property.
Araceli Gutierrez, leader of the Union told press that slot machine owners were “being violently robbed” and that police forces had failed to provide necessary proof that they were acting within the law. “Our demand is that they (the police) stop carrying out these operations, that they respect our rights as citizens and that they carry out these operations in a legal way and show us first that our machines are illegal,” he said.
According to the Interior Ministry slot machines operating outside of casinos and slot parlours are illegal and lead to the corruption of minors and are being used to finance organised crime.
Gutiérrez rejected the statements saying that Mexico’s new gaming law, which should be up for debate in the Senate later this year, should be amended to provide provision to cover slot machines outside of slot parlour and casinos.
The police operations are part of a renewed crackdown on illegal gaming especially on slot machines in small businesses. Exact figure regarding the scale of illegal slot in Mexico varies. According to the President of The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) 15 per cent of the 90,000 slot machines operating in Mexico are operating illegally while Interior Ministry sources now put the figure closer to 140,000.
Last year the government launched the beginning of a crackdown on illegal slot machines and in order to combat the phenomenon, which has spread widely over the last five years, SEGOB also launched a public awareness campaign on national media. As part of the new campaign SEGOB has also confiscated 25.000, illegal slot machines through Mexico.