Mexico President Enacts Slot Machine Ban but Election Year Could Spell Hope

  • The Mexican President has banned slot machines and table games in land-based casinos
  • He also banned Mexican gaming companies from partnering international iGaming firms
  • The changes will not come into play immediately, existing license holders can see out terms
  • 2024 is a general election year in Mexico, offering some hope for gaming firms
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has banned slot machines, but an election year in 2024 could spell hope for casino operators. [image:]

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has put his signature to a decree that makes a string of radical changes to his nation’s 2004 gaming regulation.

The decree, which was published on the government’s official gazette on Thursday morning, bans certain casino activities, including slot machines and table games. It names specifically “betting games played with cards… dice, roulette wheels or slot machines.” It also rescinds several provisions of the 2004 regulation that authorize “drawings of numbers of symbols through machines.”

Not only that, the decree also prohibits Mexican gaming firms from partnering with third-party companies. This will prevent Mexican licensees from teaming up with international online gambling brands to operate under their licenses – a common practice currently. The term of a Mexican gaming license will also drop from 25 to 15 years under the new rules.

the changes will not come into place immediately

Despite the signing of the decree this week, the changes will not come into place immediately. New permits will adhere to the prohibitions, while existing license holders can continue under current conditions until their permits either expire or reach a term of 15 years. This gives existing license holders some time to appeal the new rules, and a 2024 election year could spell hope.

A new President is due to take office in Mexico after a general election in June 2024. The ruling party has appointed the former Mayor of Mexico City Claudia Sheinbaum as its presidential candidate, and opinion polls say she is all but guaranteed to win easily. Her views on gambling are unclear, but casinos can only hope she won’t be quite as opposed as her predecessor.

Obrador’s cracking down on the gambling industry boiled down to his disapproval of former President Vincente Fox. After taking office from Fox in 2018, Obrador claimed that his predecessor had allowed many casinos to receive licenses through bribery and extortion.

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