International edition
September 18, 2020

Interview to federal representative Armando García Méndez

“New Mexican gaming bill could be approved before the end of the year”

(Mexico, exclusive Yogonet.com).- In an interview held during recent ELA event 2009, the Federal Representative Armando García Méndez summarized the online gaming bill that is currently being treated in the Congress, and which expects to be approved this year.

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hen summarizing the project, García Méndez pointed: “The bill considers four or five basic aspects. The first one, and in my view, the most important, is the regulation of the games and draws activity in Mexico, precisely to bring legal certainty that those that are legal have a sign that it is productive, and that unfair competition will be eliminated.”

“Unfortunately in Mexico, the gaming activity has existed for a long time, and there is a group of businessmen that managed to be within a legal frame. But many others did not, so I think that, for every legal businessman, there are two illegal operators, and I think it is very risky because it allows the inflow of money from organized crime. Besides, it does not pay taxes, it does not generate high-quality employments, these are not economic detonators in the regions,” added the representative.

“The bill considers that, whoever is going to be in the activity in a legal way, must respect the responsible gaming concept and must generate a responsible industry. The businessmen and the player are responsible, as well as the authority that will regulate the activity both at a regional and a national level.”

“Besides, they expect this industry to generate a great number of taxes to the federal government, so it might be allocated to social projects, especially, in the health sector.

The idea is that they should focus in gambling problems, which Segob in Mexico does not consider a disease and which does not have access to government projects. We are asking that it should generate a number of taxes based in gaming, and that part of those taxes should be dedicated to the infraestructure of local councils in which gambling centers are located. Another important part is the attention to public health, both to gambling addiction and a series of social projects.”

“Another basic aspect is legal security –adds García Méndez-. We cannot protect the state to have important taxes if we are not going to bring it a guarantee and a legal certainty to the company that will invest, to the businessman that is investing money to create an industry, employments; the businessman has to be sure that his investments will not be expropriated, that they will not be charged “capricious” taxes and that they are not going to be exposed to corrupt authorities. The idea is to change the negative image that the industry has sometimes, eliminating the incorrect idea that casinos are connected to criminals, drug-dealers, money laundering...And make it a productive industry for the businessmen, for the government and for society, as well.

Will this bill replace the curreny law, sanctioned in 1947?
Yes. It totally abolishes the law and defends the regulation. This new law defines which are the games that will be allowed, what kind of machines are going to be used. An important point of the law: nowadays, SEGOB has the absolute control on the games of chance activity; and it does it in a discretionary manner. It says “yes” to some of them, and “no” to others.

The proposal is that a Games and Draws Comité should be created; an entity that does not belong to the Federal Government, and we proposed that four public officers should decide and inform the Secretary of Tourism, the Secretary of Economy, the Secretary of Public Security, the Secretary of Planning and Budget and, of course, Segob. Besides, we want to have five councellors, that could be citizens, academics or specialists on the subject, but that have nothing to do with the public function, so this committee could regulate games and draws in a proper manner. This is the key point of the bill.

Which is your vision, regarding the possibility that this law is to be treated in the following legislative period? And, if approved, Which are the deadlines it will have to start being in force?
The ruling is concluded. I made the proposal last year, we worked with it in the commission, and then it is ready to be voted and approved. When it happens, it has to be sent to the Senate, the Senate approves it again, it becomes law and the federal government has to publish it as such. This process could be performed between September and December. It will probably be approved this year, because now the congress is formed with a majority from PRI political party, and PRI supports the project. PAN slowed down the project, but now it is going to lose the majority.

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