A proposed change to Mexican gambling laws has caused an uproar among local casinos and gambling operators. A new system first mentioned in the 2009 tax reforms, but the full guidelines for the system were not outlined until June 2010. The change would require all casino operators in Mexico to install computers on game machines that monitor a player’s wagers in real-time and report all activity to the Mexican tax authority.
The system would apply only to game machines in land-based casinos, not to online casinos in Mexico. Several groups have filed formal complaints against the proposal, and have succeeded in obtaining a court order for temporary suspension of the regulation.
Among the Mexican gambling groups who oppose the new taxation scheme are Grupo Televisa and Racecourse Mexican Administrator, though it was Mexico Electronic Bingo (Bemex), a subsidiary of Spanish firm Metronia, who managed to obtain the temporary suspension.
The arguments against the system called it excessively intrusive and disproportionate. It would transmit full data about all transactions made on the machines, including cash amounts paid by gamblers. Any gambling establishment that fails to implement the system would, under the proposed rules, face seeing their business shut down for up to two months.
The 2009 tax reforms raised gaming taxes in Mexico from 20% to 30%. This lead to a dramatic increase in tax revenue, with the first quarter of 2010 showing MXN769m (USD61m) compared to MXN230m (USD18m) in the same period of 2009. These figures take into account only land-based gambling revenues, since all locally-operating online casinos in Mexico do not cater to local players. To gamble online, Mexicans need to use foreign-hosted internet gambling sites.