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Codere takes step towards Buenos Aires igaming licence

| By Robin Harrison
Spanish and Latin American gambling operator Codere has become the first operator to take a step towards securing an online gambling licence in the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires.

The operator’s proposal for the implementation of online gaming has been approved by the Lotería de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (LOTBA), the city’s lottery operator and de-facto regulatory body for online gambling. 

The proposal was compiled by a multidisciplinary team from the wider business, including its technology and online divisions, but led by its local Argentinean team, and was presented to LOTBA in May this year.

The operator’s regional manager for Latin America (excluding Mexico) Bernado Chena, described the approval as showing “the strength of the group, the quality of its offer and the viability of Codere’s online expansion project in Latin America”.

This is the first step in an ongoing process, Codere noted, for which it was the first to have its plans ratified by LOTBA.

The next phase will see it begin to execute the strategy set out in the proposal, including technology development and integrations to its igaming platform, to ensure its solutions are compliant with the city’s igaming regulations. This project is already underway, Codere noted. 

The operator has been active in Argentina for more than 30 years, and is currently the largest gaming hall operator in the province of Buenos Aires – which is regulated under a different framework from the city itself. Across the region it operates 13 venues, and more than 6,850 gaming machines. 

While efforts to regulate online gaming in the province have stalled, the process for the city began earlier this year, after lawmakers approved online licensing criteria in February.

These set out that companies must have been in business for more than two years, and generated annual revenue of more than AR$100m to be eligible to apply. 

Operators will be required to pay a US$30,000 licence fee, then make annual $100,000 renewal payments, as well as a $2m compliance guarantee. A tax rate of 10% of gross revenue has been set. 

While retail betting and gaming hall licensees were originally set to be blocked from applying for the igaming licences, this was challenged by local operators, forcing an amendment to the criteria late in September. 

In the province of Buenos Aires – which is legally distinct from the city – however, the licensing process ground to a halt following a change in governance. 

It looked as if seven of the 17 licence applicants were set to be approved, according to local media, though no licences have been forthcoming. ArgenBingo with William Hill; Bingo Pilar and Paddy Power Betfair; Bet365 and Pasteko; Playtech with Hotel Casino Tandil; 888 and Boldt; Atlántica de Juegos and The Stars Group, and Intralot with BinBaires all looked set to receive approval to operate.

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