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Buenos Aires to allow online licences for gaming halls

| By Aaron Noy
The city of Buenos Aires will allow gaming hall operators to apply for online licences, following the passage of a resolution submitted by local regulator the Lotería de la ciudad de Buenos Aires (LotBA).

Under regulations approved earlier this year, retail betting and gaming hall operators were prohibited from applying for online licences, due to concerns this would lead to “monopolistic practices” by brick and mortar operators.

However, after gaming hall operators challenged the legality of this clause, LotBA issued a resolution removing the prohibition, which was approved by the Argentinean capital’s legislature. Betting shop operators will remain blocked from moving online, however.

Resolution No. 231/20 was approved by a 27-5 margin, with 26 abstentions.

In addition, the city passed a new set of gambling regulations aimed at enhancing player protection.

Under this law – Law 6331 – all gaming halls must display a sign that reads “compulsive gambling is harmful to your health” and display a phone line and website for gambling addiction support. This sign must take up at least 25% of the area of the building door.

ATMs, meanwhile, are not permitted to be installed in or within 200m of gambling halls, while electronic forms of payments may not be accepted and clocks must be prominently displayed.

Gambling advertising must not be directed towards minors and must warn of the consequences of harmful gambling.

A city-wide self-exclusion register will also be created, with players able to exclude themselves for a minimum of six months.

The rules will come into force within 120 days. The law was a consolidation of measures that had been proposed by the Commission for Economic Development, the Commission for Employment Policies and South American common market Mercosur.

“Addiction is not an individual problem but a social issue, one for which the state must assume responsibility, starting with the vital preventative efforts,” the law said.

A further law, 6330, proposed by Hernán Reyes, bans those convicted of a crime of operating a betting shop.

Last year, the province of Buenos Aires, a distinct entity from the city, prepared to begin its own online gambling licensing process, with operators including Bet365, Betway and Codere LatAm expressing their interest in entering the market.

However, amid political upheaval, with pro-gambling Buenos Aires governor Maria Eugenia Vidal losing her governorship to Axel Kicillof of the allied Justicialist and Frente de Todos parties, the status of online gambling in the province remains in doubt.

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