LATAM: Mexico’s gaming future looking bright

LATAM: Mexico’s gaming future looking bright

Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Rodrigo Galvan believes there are big opportunities in both online and land-based gaming

Mexico could be set for a gaming explosion in the next few years thanks to potential changes to archaic laws and the country’s impressive broadband coverage, according to JSJ Gaming managing director Rodrigo Galvan.

The head of the gaming services provider told TotallyGaming.com that a number of regulatory hurdles have been cleared of late, including the Supreme Court ruling in January which declared that video lottery terminals and Class II and Class III machines are allowed in the country under the Federal Law of Gaming.

Online gaming could also soon be declared legal for the first time should a replacement for the Federal law, which dates back to 1947, be passed by Mexico’s Senate after being approved by the Chamber of Deputies in December 2014. Under the new regulations all online operators would have to base their servers in Mexico, while a new regulator for the nation’s gaming industry, the National Institute of Games and Lotteries, is to be introduced.

While the bill makes its slow progress through the upper house, Galvan also pointed out that the gaming industry could actually thrive regardless of the fate of the new legislation.

“The objective of the new law is to increase the tools for the regulator to control gambling activities and ban illegal land-based or remote operators,” Galvan said. “The approval of the bill would be a great mechanism to enhance the Mexican gambling market. “Otherwise, the Secretariat of the Interior (SEGOB) has enough faculties to create secondary rules, which may have almost the same scope and effects.

“Despite the uncertainty, currently there are enough regulatory conditions to perform legally in Mexico.”

Galvan will discuss Mexico’s gaming industry when he leads a regional roundtable on Mexico’s future at Juegos Miami. Among the talking points will be the potential of the market, with some commentators suggesteing that the lack of modernisation in Mexico’s gaming laws is costing the country about $200m (€177.0m) in economic activity each year, through investments, employment and tax revenues.

Mexico is certain to appeal to digital operators thanks to 60 million internet users, 12 million fixed-broadband subscriptions and 11 million mobile contracts, which place it among the world’s top 10 most connected countries. Kambi, Micrograming and Playtech already have some penetration in Mexico, while GLI has signed a cooperation agreement with Mexico’s NYCE regarding development and implementation of standards.

With a population of almost 120 million, there is the opportunity for huge growth in both online and land-based gaming in the country, according to Galvan.

“We have to take into consideration the existing opportunity in Mexico, being the second country in Latin America in terms of fixed and mobile broadband internet usage," Galvan said. "Gamers are likely to play all type of games that fall into the category of games of chance and raffles, but specifically bingo, lottery, electronic bingo and table games.

“As to the success of different sectors, I would have to emphasise that there are an estimated 90,000 electronic gaming machines (EGM), as well as the business space - EGMs, sport book, technological and consulting services etc - derived from the approximately 350 locations pending to be exploited.”

- Juegos Miami takes place at The Biltmore, Coral Gables from May 31 to June 3. For more information, visit www.juegosmiami.com. To apply for your invitation* visit www.juegosmiami.com to find out more, and follow @JuegosMiami on Twitter and visit the event’s Facebook page for further information and the latest updates. Attendance at Juegos Miami will be limited to senior decision makers (owner, director, C-Level exec) from operating companies (private and public including state lotteries), government and regulators from the Latin America and Caribbean region.

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