Mexico on Brink of Banning Slots, Potentially Tolling Death Knell for Gaming Firms

  • Mexico’s Secretariat of the Interior masterminded the slots ban
  • Enactment of the controversial government decree is expected soon
  • It will also reduce casino license permits from 25 years to 15 years
Mexico flag
Mexico’s gambling reforms spell big trouble for casino operators in the Central American country. [Image:]

Bad news for operators

News has emerged of an imminent decree that could ruin many operators in the Mexico gambling industry. The Mexican government is on the brink of passing a decree that would ban slot machines across the country.

could lose Mexico-based slot operators a combined MXN15bn ($874m)

In his column for El Universal, journalist Mario Maldonado warned that the decree could lose Mexico-based slot operators a combined MXN15bn ($874m) per year in slot revenue. He named Caliente, Play City, and Codere as the main casino operators that would suffer as a result of the new rules.

Government moves fast

It was only on September 7 that Mexico’s Secretariat of the Interior drafted a decree seeking to reform the Federal Gaming and Sweepstakes Law. Last week, Maldonaldo said officials had already uploaded the decree to a government website and was “expected to be enacted shortly.”

Once signed off by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the decree will prohibit “drawings of numbers or symbols through machines.” This means the amendment will affect lottery firms in addition to slot-using businesses.

The decree may have negative ramifications for government coffers too. The Association of Permit Holders, Operators, and Suppliers of the Entertainment and Gaming Industry warned that such reform could have an impact of up to 90% on taxes on games and sweepstakes, leaving a $273m+ hole in the state budget.

Another body blow

The decree didn’t just hit operators in the slots, it also hit them in casino license permits. Once enacted, the decree will reduce casino license terms from 25 years to 15 years.

called on the President to show mercy on casino operators

Maldonado called on the President to show mercy on casino operators and maintain their current rights “until the expiration of their permit.”

Ultimately, this decree will change the landscape of Mexico’s entire gambling industry if passed.

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