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Uruguay – Uruguay’s unions oppose new gaming bill

By - 20 June 2016

The National Federation of Uruguayan Gaming (FENAJU) has warned that a new gaming law now being debated in Parliament means that “foreign entrepreneurs may earn millions of dollars without being regulated and strictly controlled by the economic authorities.”

The head of the Union Leonel Revelese said that it would continue to warn society of the dangers of online gaming as well as gambling addiction.

Revelese made his comments after the Conference of Gaming: Politics and Issues which was held on June 13 in Montevideo.

Revelese said that: “Parliament cannot lose the power to regulate the entry of new games as the exclusive representative of society and that the government should not forget the guiding principle of our country that gambling is illegal, except when it is authorised by law.”

The Federation, which has the support of Uruguay’s largest Union the Inter-Union Plenary/National Labour Convention when it comes to its stance on online gaming, argues that the new law aims to privatise the online space and that it will “substantially increase the entry in our country of foreign companies based in in tax havens.”

Changes to Uruguay’s gaming laws, he said, come at a time when the government is seeking to initiate measures aimed at cutting fiscal deficits. “At a time when the national government is discusses fiscal tightening policies workers denounce the approval of a law that is being considered by Parliament, by which foreign entrepreneurs may earn millions of dollars that are not regulated and strictly controlled by the economic authorities. . . Gambling in our country should be regulated and operated by the state – it is the only way (to ensure) that what is generated here stays here,” said the president of FENAJU.

It is not the first time that the union has come out against online gaming. In 2014 Revelese said that there was a “major lobbying offensive in the world and the region, to introduce online gaming in Uruguay.” Revelese told press press that a battle to introduce online gaming into Uruguay had been ongoing for some time and that the growth of online gaming has “enormous and negative repressions on Uruguayan society.”

The new bill now being debated in Parliament would change the way gaming is managed and would also allow for online gambling. The law aims to provide a comprehensive framework which would see a major restructure when it comes to the way gaming is controlled by the state. According to the draft of the new law, the government seeks to create a new governing body called the National Management of State Gambling and Casinos (Administración Nacional de Casinos y Juegos de Apuestas del Estado) which would exercise state control over all types of gambling.

The new proposals also seek to create a new Betting and Gaming National Comptroller’s Office (Dirección Nacional de Contralor de Apuestas y Juegos de Azar) which would be responsible for the supervision of the quality of accounting and financial reporting of State Lotteries. This body would replace the Uruguayan Board of Lotteries and Pools Betting (Dirección Nacional de Loterías y Quinielas).

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