The nationalization of the Argentine gambling (land an online) sector is firmly on the agenda of the country’s President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, experts on Argentinian gambling news reckon.
The Argentine government’s policy aims to move the control and ownership of gambling activities away from the private sector and put it in the hands of the state. For that, the government has to make new Argentinian gambling laws
The debate over the nationalization of gambling started after Daniel Osvaldo Scioli, the Governor of Buenos Aires Province exposed a “special fixed license fee” to the bingo halls in July 2012. Scioli gathered around $240m in taxes, which he used to pay the promised salary raises to the government officials.
As soon as the taxes were introduced, the Provincial Deputy, Scioli’s political opponent and Kirchner supporter Mario Caputo gave a proposal to make the operation and management of all bingo outlets as well as any other gambling establishment state run.
Caputo was recorded saying: “If YPF (an Argentine energy company) has been nationalized, why can’t we nationalize gambling?” Caputo’s suggestions even included putting the state’s hand on all online casinos in Argentina.
Several other Kirchner supporters joined Caputo in demanding to make all gambling in the Buenos Aires province state run. President Kirchner has not yet spoken publicly on the issue. She could well use the tensions about the nationalization to further undermine Daniel Scioli and his administration of the Buenos Aires province.
The President also wants people to forget the connection between her and her late husband and the “gaming tsar” Cristóbal López. López control controls large stakes in casinos in downtown Buenos Aires and as well as in two floating casinos docked at the harbor.
The battle is to be fought soon as the Argentinian legislators slowly return from their winter vacation.