Mexico closes in on internet gambling regulation

Mexico closes in on internet gambling regulation

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mexico has moved a step closer to launching a regulated online gambling market after the country’s legislature gave approval to the Ley Federal de Juegos con Apuesta y Sorteos bill.

An agreement between the National Action Party (PAN) and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) over a general administration framework could see the legalisation various forms of online gaming in the country, and further regulation to land-based forms of gambling.

Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies voted 297-32 in favour of the new regulations – which include provisos on money laundering and a minimum gambling age of 21 - on Friday, with the bill now just to be passed by the Senate.

If approved, the new regulation would see Mexico create a licensed online market, with operators having to have their servers based within the country. This form of regulation would prevent Mexicans from joining any global player pools.

This regulation could therefore lead to the forced relocation of hundreds of online poker players that had emigrated from the US in order to gain access to global gambling website. With online gambling only legal in three US states, some players had opted to emigrate south to Mexico to access worldwide services.

Despite having been linked with regulation for a number of years, Mexican authorities have so far not opted to legalise online gaming due to the country’s government dealing with more pressing matters, such as the ongoing battle with major drug cartels that are based in the North American nation.

The lack of regulation in the country had led to the emergence of unregulated casinos and underground gambling locations.

The new regulations, if approved, would also see stronger efforts made to tackle such activities by introducing increased protections against money laundering and setting a minimum gambling age of 21.

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