Buenos Aires Releases New Online Play Regulations

Online gambling opportunities for Argentina are once again on the rise after new regulations concerning online play were released by the city of Buenos Aires.

On Friday, the Loteria de la Ciudad (LOTBA) released details of its plan to start screening online sports betting and casino operators in the autonomous city of Buenos Aires, who want to offer services to the city’s approximately 3 m residents by the final quarter of this year.

It should be noted that these operations would be limited to the autonomous region, although there are high hopes that, should this initiative prove successful, it might improve attempts to regulate online gambling at both the provincial and national levels.

Last spring, the Instituto Provincial de Lotería y Casinos (IPLyC), which regulates gambling in Buenos Aires province-a separate legal body from the government-announced plans to issue seven online gambling licences. Unfortunately, following changes in the composition of the provincial government last August, those plans were put on hold.

LOTBA aims to allow an unlimited number of’ Online Gaming Agencies’ where online sports gaming, virtual betting, non-sports betting, slots, roulette, blackjack, dot banco baccarat, poker and lottery games are offered. Although there is no open auction, there are a few obstacles that operators will need to clear up.

Organisations interested in becoming an’ Agency’ would have to pay an upfront fee of US$ 30k, prove they have been in operation for two years, have annual revenue of ARS100 m (US$ 1.6 m) and display net worth of $25 m.

Licenses would be valid for an initial five-year term, which may be extended for another five years. Agencies must pay for their online sales an annual licence fee of $100k and 10 percent tax.

A Guarantee of Compliance in the sum of $2m would also have to be submitted, although this would be reduced to $1 m after the final professional evaluation report is certified. Customer account balances must be kept in a separate city bank account which will be managed by LOTBA.

There are also specific guidelines around advertising and marketing campaigns, responsible gaming and free-to-play games, all of which suggest that LOTBA has been considering this move for some time, or at least since their provincial counterparts dropped the ball.