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Mexico Online Casinos & Gambling Laws in 2018

MexicoLatin America has some mixed rules and laws regarding gambling. Mexico is no different, and many of the country's existing gaming laws are decades old.

In reality, gambling has existed in the country for centuries. The French first introduced casino-style games during the 19th Century, and gambling houses were popular with locals as late as the 1920s. Since 1947, however, Mexico has seen unregulated sportsbetting and casinos pop up everywhere.

It's only been since 2000 that the government has elected to do anything to drag Mexico into the 21st Century. Law changes could be on the way, but many Mexicans still gamble online and via mobile for real money. When looking for top online casinos, Mexico residents have some choices. But until the government explicitly cracks down on ISPs and providers or issues remote licenses, Mexicans will continue to gamble on the web.

There are plenty of overseas real money internet casinos that are regulated offshore and will accept Mexican pesos. They offer a range of games not always found in Mexico, and USD deposits and withdrawals are sometimes available.

Top Casino Sites in Mexico 2018

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Gambling Laws in Mexico in 2018

Gambling and games of chance have been around in Mexico since the first days of independence as a new nation. Indeed, many of the country's archaic gambling laws dated from the 19th Century until a new law was drafted in 1947.

The Federal Games and Draws Law (Gaming Law) was vague in its interpretation of games of chance. In fact, there was no legal definition of gambling included in the law. While games of chance were generally banned, some dice games, dominoes, horse races, and draws were permitted. Gambling is now licensed in Mexico and subject to federal regulations and tax.

In 2000, new president Vicente Fox suggested Mexico could rival Las Vegas as a major gambling hub in the region. His plans for meg-casino resorts drew a lot of criticism from the Catholic Church, however.

It was only in 2004 that any attempt was made to update some very archaic laws. The Regulations of the Federal Games and Draws Law (Gaming Regulations) came in quickly that year. Effectively, it allows the Mexican government to add on rules and regulations to the Gaming Law where they see fit. The law was amended in 2012 and 2013 to incorporate slot machines and electronic gaming terminals involving some skill element. Slot machines are permitted in Mexico, as long as operators hold the right permit.

When the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI; Institutional Revolutionary Party) took back power in 2012, a commitment was made to grow the gaming industry in Mexico. The government wanted to better regulate the country's some 400 casinos. 

Those efforts appeared to be moving in a successful direction in 2014, with officials suggesting that the new laws would raise the minimum age for gambling in the country to 21 and limit the availability of small gaming dens that proliferated throughout the nation. A new federal regulator was also suggested, and a licensing system would be put into place that would allow operators to apply for licenses to be renewed every ten years.

But delays in negotiations and the process of writing and debating the bill ultimately pushed the discussion into 2015, despite the fact that it easily passed through the lower house of the country’s legislature. The next year saw potential changes to the bills, including allowing casinos to be put into popular resort cities that draw numerous tourists each year. These efforts once again stalled, despite that fact that officials had said once again that the legislation was virtually assured to pass at some point during the year.

A new draft bill for the Federal Gaming Law is still being read. Elections are to be held in 2018, and if the PRI wins again it could speed up the implementation of new gambling laws. 

Popular Online Casino Games

Under Mexico's vague internet gaming laws, there is no legal definition for online gambling. When it comes to online casinos, Mexico-based players are able to access many offshore sites to play games.

There are no specific laws banning foreign online casinos in 2018. Mexico gamblers are therefore mostly free to bet on the web at regulated offshore sites. However, the Draft Bill for the Federal Gaming Law does mention gambling through electronic devices connected to the web.

While successive Mexican governments fail to deal with the popularity in online casinos, Mexico players are restricted to playing at offshore sites.

As in other countries, Mexicans are drawn to big-money slots and progressive jackpot games. Players can deposit and have a shot at million-dollar jackpots from the biggest developers.  

Best Deposit Methods for Mexican Casino Gambling

It's possible to play for real money at all online casinos. Mexico has a few dedicated local banking options too in MXN. Visa and MasterCard are good, secure payment methods which carry top security and encryption.

If the online casino prohibits card payments from Mexico, however, there are several alternatives. Local prepaid card systems like Todito Cash are great options as Mexicans don't have to share credit card details online. Prepaid cards can also be bought with cash at participating stores.

Paysafecard 

Paysafecard is a leading prepaid voucher scheme for paying for goods online. Paysafecard is also ideal for making internet gambling transactions. Mexicans can purchase vouchers at eligible outlets around the country, or buy cards online. It's also possible to buy multiple vouchers.

To transfer cash, simply enter the Paysafecard voucher number on the casino Cashier page. There are no fees, and the minimum limits can be fairly low.

AstroPay

AstroPay is a virtual prepaid card that can be used to fund a casino account. Prepaid cards can be bought in Mexican shops or online, and there is never a need to share credit card details with the online casinos. Mexico players can sometimes use Transferencia Bancaria too. Powered by AstroPay as well, this lets you transfer cash from your Mexican bank account direct to the casino website.

OXXO

OXXO is a secure payment option for depositing at online casinos. Mexico outlets can be used to buy special OXXO vouchers in Mexican pesos. To move cash, just enter your OXXO voucher number online at the casino Cashier. Withdrawals are made using a Mexican bank transfer where possible, but there may be some fees.

Live Betting and Casinos

As with online gambling, there is no specific mention of land-based casinos and betting establishments mentioned in Mexico's new Draft Bill. That hasn't stopped hundreds of casinos and betting shops appearing in Mexico over the years. And any type of "draw" game must be provided by operators who have authorisation from the Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB).

In 2018, however, the reach of SEGOB is broad and regulation is not consistent or strict. There is no ban on locals gambling in casinos or at race tracks.

SEGOB gambling permit holders are subject to a 30% tax rate. Some tax rates may be applied to players' winnings in some circumstances.

Casinos & Sportsbetting: There are estimated to be around 300 casinos and gambling establishments in Mexico in 2018. These consist of casino chains and other betting establishments. Some, like the Winpot in Playa del Carmen, are little more than small shopping-mall sites with slot machines, bingo terminals, and sportsbetting facilities. Some smaller casinos have human dealers rather than just rely on electronic terminals.

Slot machines were authorised first in 2013 but again the definition of a slot machine is vague. Some permits are given to slot machines if chance is primarily involved. Casino poker games like Caribbean Stud and Casino Hold'em can be found in casinos, especially the bigger tourist spots in Cancun.

The Dubai Palace Casino runs on a SEGOB gaming permit and offers big-prize giveaways as part of its regular promotions. Mexico City is also home to some of the country's better casinos. PlayCity has several hundred slots, as well as an on-site sportsbook.

In this loosely-regulated market, operators tend to run many establishments each. PlayCity alone has over a dozen casinos in Mexico, from Acapulco to Puebla. Playa del Carmen, on the east coast, boasts three decent casinos, or "gaming centers", in the Grand Riviera, Winpot, and Bet and Win.

Travel warnings are constantly issued to US tourists travelling to the area, however. The US government has warned of kidnappings, muggings, and even murders of any tourists displaying signs of wealth.

Horse Racing/Greyhounds: Pari-mutuel (pooled prize) betting is allowed at Mexico's dog tracks and racecourses. Mexico City's Hippodrome de l'Americas is one of the best-known. However, Tijuana's Agua Caliente Racetrack is the main center for greyhounds.

Poker: There is no specific law governing poker in Mexico. However, in 2011, PokerStars held its first major stop there with the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT). The $3,700 Hold'em tournament took place in Playa del Carmen.

Mexico was a major destination for US expat professional poker players leaving home after Black Friday. With their livelihoods gone, US online pros went south in search of more relaxed attitudes to poker and a cheaper way of life. While some licensed online poker rooms won't accept Mexican-based players, there are still plenty that do.

Lottery: There are several lotteries that run in Mexico, with much of the ticket sales going to good causes. In the Melate lottery, players choose six numbers between one and 56, along with an additional jackpot number. There is an additional Melate wheel (lettered A-E) for an extra jackpot. Jackpots are seeded at 30m pesos.

Gambling in the US: Mexicans also have the opportunity to travel to the United States to gamble. Nevada is home to Las Vegas, one of the world's greatest gambling hotspots. And California, over the border, has legalized poker and nearly 70 Indian casinos.

Find the Best Online Casinos in 2018

When it comes to online casinos, Mexico needs to decide where it wants to be in the 21st Century. Internet gambling is already a reality in the country, and gambling in general has been present for centuries.

If the current government can finalise a proper gaming law, it could mean regulated and legal slots and casino games on Mexican soil. Until then, Mexican gamblers will have to make do with land-based casinos and offshore sites.

Mexico at a Glance

Population: 120 million

Legal Age of Gambling: 18

Land-based Casinos (Y/N): Y

Online Casinos Legal (Y/N): N

Popular Games: Bingo terminals, IVTs (Interactive Video Terminals), lottery, cockfighting, casinos, sportsbetting, horse racing, greyhounds

Brief History of Mexico Casinos & Betting

1769 - Loteria, a form of bingo, is brought to Mexico (then New Spain).

19th Century - Forms of gambling exist across Mexico, including cock fighting and horse racing. The French introduce some casino-style games.

1920s - Mexico becomes a major destination for gamblers from the US escaping Prohibition.

1935 - Gambling is made illegal by then-president, Lazaro Cardenas.

1947 - Permission is given to federal lawmakers to rule on games of chance played with a draw or lottery.

1948 - The Federal Games and Draws Law (Gaming Law) is enacted. It continues to be active in Mexican law.

1989 - Legalized sports betting is offered for the first time.

2000 - New president, Vicente Fox, vows to update Mexico's outdated gambling laws. His promises aren't followed through.

2004 - Regulations of the Federal Games and Draws Law (Gaming Regulations) are drawn up. The Mexican government promises to detail gambling regulation more thoroughly.

2012-13 - Further amendments are made to the Gaming Regulations.

2014 - The new government vows to draft a new framework for gambling in the face of globalisation. A draft bill of the Federal Gaming Law aims to update the legal framework in the country and create a national regulator.

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