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Mexico – New gambling licences will face legal challenge in court says President

By - 8 January 2020

The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has publicly come out against the establishment of new casinos saying that the government will obstruct licences that are being granted by local governments in court.

The head of the Secretary of State (SEGOB) Olga Sánchez Cordero, explained that the Federal Law of Gaming stipulates that SEGOB is the only body allowed to grant licences to gambling establishments. “In this term of office there has been no authorisation to open a single casino” she said adding that new casinos had only been licensed locally which was in contravention of local gaming laws.

Speaking at a press conference López Obrador warned that his government would not issue any more licences and that if any entity authorised a new gambling establishment that he would take it to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation. The president emphasised the fact that the federal government had control over casinos: “We are very aware of how these casinos began to be authorized” under previous administrations “and we will not fall for the same thing, it would be unfortunate to do the same thing, “he said adding that people had “voted for a change.”

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has already publicly come out against the granting of new casino licenses during his 6 year term as president in Mexico (until 2024). But it is the first time that he has announced legal measures against the granting of any new licences. The announcement is likely to bring state and federal governments on a collision course over gambling.

Crucially the statements come after lawmakers for the state of Quintana Roo completed the fiscal measures for 2020 which include an exemption of taxes on the establishment of new gaming rooms for new investors, meaning that all companies that set up a casino will not pay taxes this year.

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