Casino licenses to be halted in Mexico

Posted: Mar 20, 2023 11:33 Posted by Jake Graves
Category: Americas, Casino, Regulatory,
Posted: Mar 20, 2023 11:33 Category: Americas, Casino, Regulatory, Posted by Jake Graves

Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has unequivocally stated that his government will not grant any new permits for the launching of new casinos. In addition to this staunch statement, AMLO has also warned the industry that any licenses that have been granted in the past 4 years will be revoked.

This is a harsh statement on a position AMLO has held since 2019. He claimed he would be demanding a report regarding the granting of licences from the ministry of the interior (SEGOB) re-iterating that his government’s instruction was to refuse any application for casino licenses.

Announced back in 2019, during a meeting with industry leaders in the territory, local thought speculated that the action was seen as gesture of goodwill towards the Catholic Church residing in Mexico. This is perhaps a simplification of the reasoning however, as doubts associated with the true legality of many casino licenses issued during the previous administration under President Vicente Fox Quesada were more likely to be the cause.

Either way, the enforcement of this action will spell even more stringent laws being placed on the already heavily regulated industry. However, evidently this did not take full effect in practice at the very least, given the indication that after this announcement new licenses were indeed issued. We are yet to see if the recent repositioning of this announcement will spell a tangible change.

Gambling in Mexico

Mexico already has over 300 casino destinations.
Dubai Palace Casino, Cancun, Mexico. One of over 300 gambling destinations.

Such changes could see a massive disruption to the positively exponential growth of the already impressively lucrative industry of the Mexican gambling sector as whole. With over 300 brick and mortar gambling spaces, Mexico is definitely not in any shortage of land-based casinos and resorts.

With the strict laws already placed on casinos, the question needs to be asked, should this be the area the legislature focus on? Large oversights are evident across the rest of the sector, examples such as blood sports which are still very much legalises, as well as the igaming sector being almost completely unregulated, in many cases operating without any authorisation whatsoever.

The latter is growing greatly in popularity, with the localisation of themes and marketing playing an important role, a shift to these forms of gambling from land-based enterprise for both consumer and operator seems inevitable if the words of AMLO are to be believed this time around.

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