Fraud is well-documented in the casino and gambling world. Sometimes, it’s nefarious parties that try to launder money through casinos that are happy to turn a blind eye if there is enough money coming in as was the case with Crown Resorts in Australia. In other instances, it may be the casinos participating in some shady dealings. Yet, the case of the General Directorate of Games and Sweepstakes, Mexico’s gaming regulator, is a bit of an outlier.
Mexico’s Gaming Regulator Goes Dodge on the Industry
Based on media reports, casinos in Mexico are being racketeered by crooked inspectors working at the regulator and owners have complained to journalists that they have been asked to push money under the table to retain their licenses or avoid penalties.
If this proves to be true, this would be a huge blow to the gaming regulator. According to El Financiero, the media that originally caught and reported on the news, casino owners have been complaining that officials from the regulator have been asking for bribes or facing overly-suggestive consequences.
Casino owners argued that the inspectors offered them a pressure-free operational environment in exchange for payments up to $1 million or 20 million pesos. Failure to produce the money, the crook inspectors asserted, could result in shutting down businesses for years or imposing stiff penalties that could easily put them out of business as it were.
These agents were known to operate in various regions and they targeted a number of prominent venues, which resulted in the high media attention in the case, including but not limited to El Palacio de los Números, Hipódromo de Las Américas, Apuestas Internacionales, Pur Umazal Tov, and others.
Now, some 30 license holders are afraid that the revelations about corrupt agents coming to light could have a negative impact on their business before the government has had any time to react and weed out these crooked agents. There have already been cases of casino closures. For example, Big Bola was closed suddenly in 2021 and it managed to restart operations, but why DGJS overturned its closure ordinance was not exactly clear.
Adding Insult to Economy Injury
Mexico’s casinos faced other challenges as well as they had to go through restrictive health mandates due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This impacted their bottom line and contributions to the country’s treasure. Given that immoral inspectors may have tried to take advantage of their plight, the difficulties the casino sector in Mexico has undergone have done significant harm to their own bottom line as well as the broader economy in the country.