Mexico Authorities Revoke Previously Issued Casino Licenses

  • The president is trying to clamp down on corruption, particularly within government
  • The Ministry of the Interior approved two casino licenses on September 1 following a court order
  • President Andrés Manuel López Obrador had previously instructed no more licenses be issued
Mexico flag
The Mexico authorities are revoking two recently issued casino licenses at the President’s request because he had previously said he did not want any more licenses granted. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Clamping down

Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has announced that the two casino licenses that were recently approved during judicial proceedings are being revoked.

Despite the president ordering the granting of no more licenses, the judge still went ahead and did so. The President subsequently called upon Secretary of the Interior Olga Sánchez Cordero to handle the issue. 

a hard stance against corruption, particularly within the government

Obrador has been in office since December 2018 and has taken a hard stance against corruption, particularly within the government. During a press conference last week, he said: “There is no longer (corruption) in the presidential office, juicy businesses are no longer authorized, corruption is not approved, but we still need to keep cleaning down.”

Defying orders

The Ministry of the Interior approved the two casino licenses in question on September 1 following a court order.

Operator Wadcor received a 12-year license, with the permit allowing the licensee to open as many as ten casinos. The other new license went to the True Win Group and would allow for a single casino. Both of these parties allegedly have links to the same company and former licensee, Atracciones y Emociones Vallarta (“Attractions and Emotions Vallarta”).

President Obrador declared that the government did not want any more casinos to open

Before the licenses were granted, President Obrador declared that the government did not want any more casinos to open and thus there would be no more permits issued. He said: “Some licenses may have been issued but that is because we need to clean up the government, and we have been doing that for a long time now, but we are not done yet.”

Obrador also has concerns about the validity of casino licenses issued during President Vicente Fox’s administration from December 1, 2000 to November 30, 2006.

Gambling in Mexico

Gambling laws in Mexico were very restrictive for many years. There were fears about the potential involvement of organized crime, particularly relating to money laundering. There were also concerns about foreign investors gaining more control in the region, while some people were against gambling expansion on moral grounds. 

In 2004, President Vicente Fox began to relax the country’s gambling laws. This led then-Secretary of State Santiago Creel to issue more gaming licenses than had been approved during the previous 87 years. There are currently a few hundred licensed casinos across the country, as well as sports betting parlors and video gaming machines.

Despite Mexico being one of the fastest-growing online gambling markets in Latin America, there is no regulated online sector in the country.