Regulatory scenarios: deconstructing Latin America’s gaming industry

Regulatory scenarios: deconstructing Latin America’s gaming industry

Friday, May 19, 2017 Posted by James Walker
Alfredo Lazcano: ‘Peru is one of the best role models in the Latin American region’

Ahead of this year’s Juegos Miami, Alfredo Lazcano, founding partner of Mexico-based law firm Lazcano Sámano, takes a closer look at some of the defining characteristics of gaming regulations across Latin America.

“The Latin American market is big and diverse. Approximately 640 million people live here, distributed across 20 different countries. Therefore, it seems to me that there is no best or worst regulatory model in this important region of the world. Instead, each jurisdiction has particular strengths and weaknesses.

In my opinion and experience, there are five main scenarios or characteristics that can tell us whether a regulation is effective or not.

The first scenario is when the regulator is truly empowered to enforce the law. One of the best models with this characteristic is Chile. The laws here are respected by Chileans, and gaming is an inherent part of their culture, but also the regulatory body is strong enough to enforce regulations.

A second scenario is when the law is able to remain in force despite the dizzying advances of technology. I believe that Mexico fits under this very unique characteristic.

Some say that Mexican law is old and somehow limited in terms of technology. Despite that, the reality is that Mexico’s legislation has solid grounds, as it expressly and openly allows almost all forms of gambling, including a wide range of remote betting and online gaming activities.

A third characteristic is when legislators and lawmakers take into account the progress and experiences of other jurisdictions. One of the indisputable best models under this scenario would be Colombia, where the respective lawmakers – and particularly the gaming regulator – are constantly and proactively updating the regulation, but at the same time take into consideration several jurisdictions around the world, including Spain, the UK, France, Italy, Malta and Denmark.

The fourth scenario is when the secondary legislations, such as taxes and foreign investment regulations, tend to promote the establishment of new businesses from a global perspective and allow profitability with reasonable taxes. Panama and Uruguay are the best examples of jurisdictions with these essential characteristics.

Finally, the fifth scenario is when the head of the regulatory body is not subject to the swings of politics, on the contrary, such position is considered as a professional career that entitles the regulator to remain enough time in order to become a true professional and expert of our industry.

Peru is one of the best models under this characteristic. The current Peruvian regulator is well known internationally because it has been working for many years to implement improvements of all kinds, making this jurisdiction one of the best role models in the Latin American region.”

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