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Mexico – Mexican operators report losses

By - 30 June 2014

The majority of casino operators in Mexico recorded losses, according to a study carried out by local newspaper El Universal.

Despite generating an estimated U.S$1.6bn a year, operators financial reports submitted to the Ministry of Interior (SEGOB) claimed that rather than recording profits they were forced to invest more capital in order to avoid going out of business.

The data, which dates back to 2012, shows that a total of 34 licence holders reported to SEGOB that they had recorded losses in 2012 due to higher operational and administrative costs, fees, taxes and prizes . Local consortium Commercial de Juegos La Frontera S.A. de C.V., which operates 18 slot parlours under brand name Big Bola for example, reported that they had to pay a total of US$23m for the operation of its facilities and more than US$2.6m in tax, so there was no net profits. The Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB) is currently investigating the company on alleged charges of money laundering offenses as well as insufficient documentation when it comes to their licenses.

However, Deputy Fernando Zárate President of the Commission for Investigating the Granting of Licences for Games and Raffles in the Chamber of Deputies dismissed these claims saying that reports of losses had to be looked on with suspicion due to the fact that casino operators routinely reported less profit in order to avoid paying tax. Any new law on gaming, which looks increasingly likely to be put forward in September, will be specifically designed to add more transparency to the industry and will prevent casinos from defrauding the state. The new law will also include several measures aimed at combating money laundering.

This week it was revealed that the draft of the new gaming law contains 200 separate clauses in its present state. The current Directorate of Gaming, which comes under the Interior Ministry (SEGOB), will be replaced with a new gaming board which will be in operation six months after the new act is passed and the new law seeks also to remove the so called “mother” permits, which allow the opening of a number of gaming operations under a single licence.

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