Buenos Aires widens scope for City online gambling licenses 

Argentine gambling developments have seen the City Legislature of Buenos Aires approve a series of amendments to its planned online gambling framework, allowing BA-licensed land-based gambling incumbents to participate in its licensing tender.

BA’s City Legislature continues to debate final amendments for the launch of its online gambling marketplace, which received its formative approval last February prior to the COVID-19 disrupting the legislature’s 2020 agenda. 

Securing 27 votes in favour of the motion (5 against), BA City will broaden the scope of operators allowed to compete for licensing. Back in May, a group of BA licensed land-based gaming hall operators had filed a petition to suspend the Legislature from proceeding with opening its application process.

In its original statute, BA City had frozen out land-based gaming operators from applying for licences in order to ‘avoid monopolistic practices’, whilst in-turn attracting international operators to its marketplace.

The changes to licensing criteria will likely see BA legacy gambling establishments Puerto Madero Casino and the Palermo Hippodrome launch online gambling bids; yet questions remain as to their online capabilities, with BA venues likely requiring to form technology arrangements in order to submit applications.

Further amendments saw the Legislature unanimously approve a ‘clean record clause’, which imposes that no executive ‘convicted of a serious crime’ – foreign or domestic – can be involved in the management of a licensed BA online gambling firm.

The screening of BA online gambling licenses and monitoring of operator conduct will be maintained by Buenos Aires City Lottery – LOTBA, supported by BA’s Ministry of Finance as the agency charged with collecting licence fees, taxations and penalties.

The BA City Legislature has stated that licences will be valid for a period of five years, with no fixed fees. However, all operators will be taxed on a GGR basis, ranging between 10-20% dependent on vertical (yet to be disclosed) with the incumbents charged a further 6% tax on net income duties. 

Final amendments have been forwarded to BA City Governor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta to approve the legislation which will allow BA to formally launch its licensing window.

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