Argentinean gambling laws have created a very accommodating legal environment for various types of games. While this has benefited both business as well as those seeking to play, the issue of problem gambling is a recurring one on the politicians’ agenda.
Influenced at times by problem gambling news in the tabloids, constituents often address their criticism to the elected representatives, who in turn feel the necessity to satisfy electoral demand.
Earlier this week the upper house of the Buenos Aires provincial legislature passed a bill mandating health warnings to be added to all electronic machines used for gambling.
The proposal does not mention those who play at online casinos in Argentina. Since most of such players gamble on foreign sites outside the jurisdiction of the provincial legislators, this is actually understandable. Instead, the bill addresses gambling machines, such as video poker games.
According to the proposal submitted by Senator Silvia Perez, all such machines must incorporate a “welcome screen” where prospective users will be faced with the following phrase: “Gambling is detrimental to health and family. Are you aware of this?” – displayed in white letters on red background across the entire screen.
The player would then have to choose between “Yes” and “No”.
Only after the gamer has answered the question, will the machine allow them to start the game. It is unclear whether the actual answer has any relevance in the string of events, though operators may be called to task if many players declare their ignorance about the risks.
The law also forces gambling hall operators to “post large, visible, bright signs at gaming sites, as a measure to prevent gambling addiction.” These signs should warn players with the following statement: “Uncontrolled gambling leads to addiction.”
Sen. Perez insists that “the gambler starts by looking for some distraction or a social activity, but ends up [playing] without measuring the time and the money wagered, losing control.”
“The goal is to work on promoting healthy behavior in situations where ‘immediate impact gambling’ is common, and avoid the risk factors presented by problem gambling,” added the lawmaker.