Expected to be enacted soon

Mexican government prepares decree to ban slot machines and reduce casino licenses

Reading time 1:15 min

On September 7, as reported by Yogonet, Mexico's Secretariat of the Interior (Segob) drafted a decree seeking to reform and repeal various provisions of the regulations of the Federal Gaming and Sweepstakes Law.

The decree, which will bear the signature of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has already been uploaded to the page of the National Commission for Regulatory Improvement (Conamer) and is expected to be enacted shortly. It directly attacks the industry by eliminating slot machines while, at the same time, it will reduce the duration of casino permits.

Among the reforms included in the decree, articles 137 Bis, 137 Ter, and 137 Quater of the regulation will be revoked. These articles are those that establish the permit to carry out "drawings of numbers or symbols through machines", known as slot machines. Therefore, the revocation will imply the elimination of the permits for casinos to operate these machines, thus prohibiting them altogether.

Moreover, the decree will modify Article 33 of the regulation, which determines the validity of the permits to operate casinos. Currently, such a permit is set at 25 years, but with the update, it will be reduced to only 15 years.

In this regard, in his column in El Universal, journalist Mario Maldonado explained that slot machines represent a business of around MXN 15,000 million ($874,317,000) per year for the operators. But, in addition to the losses it will mean for the industry, these games generate around MXN 4,700 million ($273,952,660) of income for the public treasury, which will no longer be received.

Maldonado added: "The only mercy that Luisa María Alcalde and López Obrador would have with this industry is that the rights of the casinos would be respected until the expiration of their permit".

According to the journalist, among the main affected casinos are Caliente, owned by businessman Jorge Hank Rhon; Play City, owned by Emilio Azcárraga; and Codere, owned by Gonzaga Higuero.

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