The global disruption created by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has driven Latin America to take action around its routine betting and gambling operations. In a protective measure, Buenos Aires agreed to close down its casinos and restrict gambling.
Two different governments make policies in Buenos Aires: Buenos Aires Autonomous City and Buenos Aires Province. City officials agreed to restrict access to casinos and racecourses to 200 at a time, while the province decided to shut down all bingo and casino operations.
Governor Axel Kicillof follows a ministerial meeting that included President Alberto Fernández and City Horacio Rodríguez Larreta’s Head of Government.
The province’s chief of staff, Carlos Bianco, reported on social media that the order matches certain national-level restrictions. ”We’re working to contain the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
The resolution comes just days after the City of Buenos Aires declared the restrictions on its casinos and the Palermo Argentine Hippodrome. In a press conference the city’s health minister, Fernán Quirós, clarified that the aim was to avoid the virus expansion without slowing down economic development.
According to official Health Ministry statistics, there are 56 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Argentina, most in Buenos Aires. While the new rules will be in effect for the next 15 days, the national government has already said that if required, they could extend the restrictions for longer.
Argentina is not Latin America’s only country banning gambling. On Sunday, the Uruguayan government also agreed to close all its gambling sites after reporting eight COVID-19 events. Meanwhile, State Casino Officials ‘ National Association urged precautionary measures to reduce the country’s virus spread.
Panama and Puerto Rico have suspended all their gambling activities, while Conajzar, Paraguay’s gaming authority, ordered facilities to lock their doors for two weeks.