Buenos Aires Okays Online Gambling for Land-Based Casinos

The City of Buenos Aires has okayed a law overhaul that allows land-based operators in the city to apply for an iGaming license and run digital skins.

Buenos Aires Grants Land-Based Operators Right to Apply for iGaming Licenses

Buenos Aires has enacted changes, allowing land-based operators in the city to begin applying for online gaming licenses. That comes as a part of a broader push spearheaded by the city to introduce a more diverse gambling industry.

Apart from casinos, bingo and slot venues will also be able to transfer their operations online or add an online skin to their offer. Half of the lawmakers abstained from voting. The rework of the legislation passed with 27 votes in favor and 26 abstentions. Five lawmakers were against the overhaul.

Buenos Aires will continue to use percentage-of-revenue taxation to determine the fees of new properties. While some jurisdictions, such as the United States and the United Kingdom prefer to introduce flat fees, Buenos Aires’ tax scheme will remain progressive.  

All online operators will have to pay an estimated 10%-20% per bet but also factor in 6% of their gross profit. The overall amount is a steep entry-cost into the online gaming segment. Yet, many of Buenos Aires’ current land-based operators are happy to foot in order to export their products online.

Online gambling will have positive effects on the state’s revenue as well. Buenos Aires expects to see between $6.6 million and $9.2 million added to the city’s coffers thanks to the iGaming expansion. Online gaming is expected to roll out at the end of the year. With three months to go, this should be soon.

Educating Players to Play Safely

One amendment also concerns the relation between businesses and customers. Under the rework of the existing legislation, lawmakers have specified that businesses should always strive to educate players and introduce them to responsible gambling.

Every digital skin must focus on displaying and providing odds and rules in a transparent and unambiguous way. Shifting towards the online segment has not been a quiet affair either.

Many of the City of Buenos Aires’ casino owners have been protesting for a right to apply for an iGaming license. They motivated their protests with the need to recuperate after the COVID-19 lockdown which has suspended most of their operations.

Information pertaining to customers’ money spent and money transfers should be readily available. Frente de Todos party MP Claudia Neira has welcomed the news. She argued that the shift to online gaming will bring revenue to the city and help it to stem problems in the public sector. Neira further had this to add:

“’It is logical to want to regulate online gaming as it exists and is installed in the world. It is also important that gambling is controlled and prevented. When we talk about gambling, we are talking about health, so we have to face it from that side.

As part of the measures protecting consumers, no ATMs or pawn shops, or other sources of instant credit can be located within 200 meters of land-based gambling venues. That is regardless of whether they own a digital license or not.  

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