Macri blow threatens Buenos Aires gambling agenda

Industry observers will be monitoring Argentine political movements closely following a week of ‘primary shocks’, which may impact the progress of Buenos Aires launching its approved regulated online gambling marketplace.

Last week, the Argentine public shunned President Mauricio Macri and the PRO Party at the nation’s Primary Elections, Argentina’s run-off candidacy format prior to the General Elections scheduled for 27 October 2019.

A beleaguered Macri could only muster 32% of votes, as main rival Alberto Fernandez – who leads the ‘Frente de Todos’ ‘Peronist coalition’ – romped to victory taking 48% of the primary ballot.

Macri’s disastrous performance triggered yet ‘another black week’ for the Argentine economy, which saw the Peso fall 23% against the US dollar and further plummeted the Argentine stock market down 40%, suffering the second-largest market collapse of any nation since 1950.

Worse news would follow for the Pro Party, as Maria Eugenia Vidal – the current Governor of Buenos Aires and lead advocate of the new BA online gambling regime – was routed at the primaries, losing 34-52% against Axel Kicillof of the Justicialist Party.

Argentine shocks would be felt far-and-wide, as embattled Bolsa Madrid gambling group Codere SA reported a hit on its share price, which declined from €3.64-to-€3.25 by the end of week trading, taking a further hit within its biggest operational market.

Uncertain times lie ahead for all global business stakeholders invested in Argentina, as both Macri and Vidal will require miracle turnarounds to secure election victories in October and maintain Argentina Pro’s ‘business first’ economic agenda.

International betting incumbents who formed local partnerships, fulfilling BA’s tender licensing criteria, await the decision of the Argentine Provinces Board for Lotteries and Casinos (IPLyC) on who will secure one-of-seven BA online gambling licenses.

19 partnerships have submitted as official BA tenders to the IPLyC, meeting the 25 June deadline, but as yet the governing body has made no official judgement on who the ‘BA-7’ will be, a mandate it had detailed would be fulfilled by the end of summer 2019.

Entering campaign season, be it Macri or Fernandez, all Argentine political stakeholders face critical questions on the nation’s economic strategy, in relation to Peso inflation, capital controls, taxation and the country negotiating further monetary terms with the IMF… Realties that may see BA gambling reform pushed to the back of Argentina’s political agenda.

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