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Uruguay – Online gaming illegal under new Uruguayan law

By - 22 August 2017

The Uruguayan Chamber of Deputies has passed new regulations which make online gaming illegal and has given the executive branch control over sports betting.

Deputies approved the new law which was pushed forward by the governing party of Uruguay (Frente Amplio).

The new law states that casino games such as poker, roulette, and slot machines, amongst other types of games, are now absolutely prohibited online. The new regulations are part of a much larger Accountability Law which was put forward by the Executive branch and aims to put into practice regulations regarding fiscal transparency and accountability laws.

The law is designed to balance the federal budget and support the country’s projected growth, and impacts both individuals and companies operating in Uruguay. Although the exact details on how the new law will go onto effect, the new law will, it is believed, add an additional tax on gaming by applying an income tax on pay outs on slot machines and tables in casinos.

In June leaders of a number of parties questioned the government’s decision to increase taxes on gaming. Deputy of the National Party (Partido Nacional) Jorge Gandini said that it “stands out” that that the government intends to tax “legal gaming” and “change gaming rules ” for both mixed and private casinos while “illegal activity grows and prospers. . .We said that in principle we will not vote for any taxes,” he said.

However the Frente Amplio managed to secure the necessary votes. The ban on online gaming also marks a major turnaround as it was initially believed that the government was considering allowing online gaming. But possible changes to Uruguay’s gaming laws especially when it comes to online gaming had already caused considerable controversy. In May last year workers from the state casinos went on strike in protest of a new gaming act which would have given online gaming the green light and in June the same year the National Federation of Uruguayan Gaming (FENAJU) warned that the new gaming law would mean that offshore operators would “earn millions of dollars without being regulated and strictly controlled by the economic authorities.”

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