EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: IDA LÓPEZ, MENDOZA’S REGULATOR

Argentina: "Mendoza prepares to open the bidding process to operate online gaming in the province"

Ida López, at ICE London 2022.
2022-04-20
Argentina
Reading time 2:26 min

Online gaming is a modality that, particularly in Argentina, has in the last few months undergone a gradual process of legalization and regulation, which, due to the federal nature of the country, has been carried out province by province.

Currently, more than half of the national jurisdictions offer online gaming legally or have a law in place that allows for its operation and the provincial regulators are working on its regulation, like in the province of Mendoza.

Within the framework of ICE London 2022, Yogonet conducted an exclusive interview with Ida López, president of Mendoza's Institute of Games and Casinos (Mendoza's gaming regulator), who assured that the entity is very close to finalizing the regulation of online gaming and sports betting, and expects to call for public bidding to grant a maximum of seven licenses before the end of this year.

"We intend to carry out the bidding process in the next few months, and to have made the official call before the end of the year, so we are working hard on the regulation as well as in the rules of this modality", López explained during an exclusive interview with Yogonet.

"We will soon present the bidding documents for a public bidding, and the information will be openly displayed on Comprar's website, and at the same time we will have a Gaming Regulation, which we will adapt and amend as time goes by and we see how this modality operates in the province", she added.

When asked about the characteristics of the bidding process, she pointed out that the province will offer "a minimum of two licenses and a maximum of seven, since according to a market study, this is the number that would be profitable for the operators".

"Licenses will be valid for a period of 10 years, with the possibility of a one-year extension, and the operator will have to pay a one-time initial fee when obtaining the license, as well as a monthly operating fee. The operator will also have to pay Gross Gaming Revenue taxes of 12% of the GGR (Gross Gaming Revenue, or the income minus the profits paid to the players)", López said.

Regarding the characteristics of the bidding process, the regulator commented that "there will be no restrictions for the participating companies, since they may apply by themselves or in UTE (Unión Transitoria de Empresas, similar to a joint venture) with national and international operators, but there is a preference in favor of those who physically operate gaming rooms in the province at the time of the opening of the bidding process. We are still working on it, it is still being evaluated and we are analyzing what it will be and how it will be implemented, but it does not exclude those companies that want to enter the online gaming market and do not operate physically".

"Regarding the games authorized, we want to enable a wide range of possibilities, therefore, initially, casino games, sports betting, esports will be allowed... the only thing that cannot be operated are the lottery games, due to a specific exclusion we have in the Law", she added.

"What we are trying to do, with this proposal, is to regulate the already existing offer, so that it can be played legally and responsibly, and that those who operate it, pay taxes and generate economic contributions to the province. We understand that this is an extremely beneficial step for Mendoza, we want to take care of our people and avoid, for example, the participation of minors in this modality. This is what we are aiming at and, as I said, we hope to soon announce the bidding process in order to achieve it", the regulator concluded.

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