Gambling in Mexico
Unlike other Latin American countries, where the casino industry is booming, Mexico still hasn’t revised its outdated gambling laws. The strict regulations imposed back in 1947 are still in force, with a few amendments. It wasn’t until 2004 that the Secretaria de Gobernacion – the authority overseeing the gambling and raffles department – brought some minor legal changes and started to award licenses to gambling operators.
There are currently around 400 legal gambling centers across the country. Mexico offers pari-mutuel betting through horse racing, dog racing and Jai Alai. Sports betting, dominoes, dice and pool are legal, as well as bullfights and cockfights, which are very popular among the locals. There are a number of operators offering lottery tickets and scratch-off cards and the Mexican gambling market also offers video-style gaming machines and casino-style games, in certain venues. Slot machines have been banned in October 2013.
Politicians are debating over details that need to be included in future gambling laws, but opposition against fully embracing casinos is still strong.
Online Gambling in Mexico
Mexico is the fastest-growing online gambling market in Latin America, with a value of $300 million a year. Things aren’t all rosy in this Central American country, however, as locals are banned from using the country’s online gambling sites – sites targeted at richer foreigners.
Mexicans can still enjoy online casinos at foreign based websites, however, as the government has yet to block these unlicensed operators. There are plans afoot, however, to block online transactions to gambling sites, which would potentially close this important market.
Many foreign websites offer their services in Spanish, with some even tailored specifically for the Mexican gambler.