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Mexico – New details emerge regarding Mexican Gaming Act

By - 26 August 2014

A number of significant details have emerged regarding Mexico’s new gaming act after an interview with Fernando Zárate Salgado, President of the Commission of Gaming in the Chamber of Deputies.

Mr Salgado outlined a number of wide sweeping changes which would affect the current regulatory body, change the minimum entry age and would establish a raft of new measures when it comes to licensing.

According to Mr. Salgado, a new Advisory Council will be composed of the secretaries of Health, Tourism, Economics and Government, as well as non-governmental organisations so that the public may also participate in developing public policy, revise internal rules, establish procedures and have a say as to how casinos found to be operating outside the terms of their licence may be sanctioned.
It was also revealed that licences will be valid for ten years and will only be renewable for a further ten while the minimum entry age will be raised to 21. Crucially, the law will also ban the so called “umbrella” licences whereby operators were 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.

According Mr. Salgado, the drafting of the new bill is currently being hammered out in close consultation with the Mexican Gaming Association (AIEJA) as well as the current regulatory body, which comes for now under the control of the Interior Ministry (SEGOB). All new establishments will have to go through a very “rigorous” process before being approved and will have to meet with a wide number of “comprehensive rules.”

Gaming could also be used to promote tourism. According to the AIEJA, talks are already underway with a number of hotel chains. The AIEJA has been lobbying for changes to Mexico gaming laws so that popular tourist destinations in Mexico such as Cancun, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta could see hotels with slot parlours on their premises if the new project is given the green light by lawmakers. The new initiative was put forward by the AIEJA in January this year and would allow for 20 to 30 slot machines to be housed in hotel lobbies or dedicated gaming spaces in hotels.

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