“The Law has passed in the revision chamber, to the Senate. The President of the Senate (Miguel Barbosa Huerta, PRD) told me that it is not possible to work on the project during this ordinary period. Once our next session begins in February, it will be among the Senate's priorities,” commented the legislator. Once it is approved by the Senate, it returns to the House of Representatives.
Aguilar was the third and latest president of the Commission of Casinos, which was created with the aim to look into the operation of the levels of the Federal Government related to the awarding of licenses for Games and Draws.
It was approved February 14, 2014 and installed on April 9. Since October 21 until the presentation of this project,(last week), it was headed by Aurora Aguilar. Its first president was Ricardo Mejía Berdeja (Movimiento Ciudadano). After him, Fernando Zárate Salgado (Democratic Revolution Party) succeeded him. At first, the commission had an investigative function, but then they decided to embark on a new bill.
Aguilar said that a notable aspect is that none of the representatives had any relationship with the gambling industry. “The situation in Mexico was analyzed, and then, with the participation of the Ministry of the Interior (Segob), we could write a text subscribed by all parties with national representation in the House of Representatives. The initiative was agreed to between the President and all the political forces. I think it is important,” she expressed.
What are the highlights of the law? How will games of chance industry change in Mexico?
We will regularize an existing industry that is now ruled by a regulation that tried to remedy the weaknesses of the legislation from 1947. The law in force is inappropriate for the times in which we are living. The government aimed to cover the failures of this legislation through the regulation and it ended in a great deal of discretion with regards to the officers' decision-making process.
Firstly, the Federal Games of Chance Law approved last December 3 updates the legal frame and regulates an already-existing industry. Secondly, it says who demands licenses, where do they plan to locate the gambling venue and respects the states sovereignty and the autonomy of the communities. City councils will have to grant a license with respect to land use. Once obtaining approval, licensees will have to go to the National Games and Draws Institute, created by this new law, to obtain authorization for each facility. Currently, a license can support several casinos yet this is eliminated with the new law.
What will happen with the current licenses? Will they have to be re-validated?
Yes, casinos that are already operating will have 18 months to comply with the new requirements and update their facilities. Those with any other kind of license, yet that for some reason have still not started operating, will have 24 months to open, according to the new requirements.
This law is also in line with Anti-Money Laundering Laws which will bring more fiscal certainty and prevents resources of illicit origin. I think this is crucial, on top of the transparency with regards to granting of permits. Besides, according to the United Nations Organization, it has been established that entrance is forbidden for people under the age of twenty-one.
This law regulates online gambling. Will companies have to be based in the country?
Mexican operations will be subject to Mexican fiscal laws.
Beyond the ellaboration of the Games of Chance Law, What is the balance of the Commission labor?
The working group was received by Representative Rubén Benjamín Félix Hays (Nueva Alianza) and we presented a report with our investigations based on Segob. Segob determined what casinos did not comply with the law and proceeded with the legal part, which, in many cases, resulted in the withdrawal of licenses, casino closure or revocation.
According to the Mexican media, among them Sexenio, parlamentary coordinators, together with the Presidents of the Senate and the Chamber of Representatives, agreed last Tuesday to an approval of the ten legislative issues in the remaining days for the conclusion of this normal legislative period, which is next December 15. However, if it is necessary, an extraordinary period would be also be proposed. In addition, legislators have committed themselves to approving a new Law of Games of Chance and Draws, the constitutional amendment regarding universal mobility as well as the constitutional amendment regarding the control of regional and local councils' debt. In the end, the only option for everyone is to wait and see.