The new measures aim to avoid savers from having access to “casino dollars”

Argentina’s new economic policies include gambling restrictions

Argentine citizens used to be able to purchase chips in casinos overseas with their credit cards and then exchange them for US dollars.
Reading time 1:12 min
After announcing stricter controls on the purchase of US dollars last week, Argentina’s central bank has also imposed a series of restrictions on credit card transactions, which among other things, prevent Argentinians from buying chips in foreign casinos.

A series of getaways savers used to benefit from to purchase dollars at the official exchange rate, such as buying chips in casinos overseas and them cashing them in dollars, have now been subject to previous authorization, the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic (BCRA in Spanish) announced.

The use of credit and debit cards for the rest of the expenses incurred abroad at an official exchange rate are still permitted, but certain transactions that would allow savers to dodge the purchase limit of 200 US dollars a month have now been banned.

The notice issued by the BCRA sets forth that credit or debit card issuers must block five specific transactions, two of which are directly linked to gambling abroad.

Gambling transactions made via credit card with the purpose of purchasing US dollars have given rise to the so-called “casino dollar”. Argentine citizens were able to purchase chips in casinos overseas with their credit cards and then exchange them for US dollars.

In that way, they were able to buy foreign currency at the official exchange rate, and as a result, many Argentinians began traveling to Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay to buy “cheaper dollars” and then sell them at a premium in the local illegal market.

It is worth noting that the restrictions imposed on these transactions are also applicable to online gambling, so Argentine gamblers are now much more limited in their gambling operations via the Internet.

The measures taken also affect payment services providers, such as Paypal.

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