Gaming industry observers will be monitoring current Argentine political movements closely following a week of ‘primary shocks’ that threaten to impact progress in Buenos Aires as it seeks to establish an approved, regulated online gambling marketplace.
Last week, the Argentine public shunned President Mauricio Macri and the PRO Party at the nation’s Primary Elections, Argentina’s run-off candidacy format prior to the General Elections scheduled for October 27, 2019.
A beleaguered Macri could only muster 32% of votes, as main rival Alberto Fernandez – who leads the ‘Frente de Todos’ socialist coalition – romped to victory taking 48% of the primary ballot.
Macri’s disastrous performance triggered yet another black week for the Argentine economy, which saw the Peso fall 23% against the US dollar and further pushed the Argentine stock market down by 40%, marking the second-largest market collapse of any nation since 1950.
Worse news followed for the Pro Party, as Maria Eugenia Vidal – the current Governor of Buenos Aires and lead advocate of the new BA online gambling regime – was routed at the primaries, losing 34-52% against Axel Kicillof of the ‘Peronist’ Justicialist Party.
Argentine shocks were felt far-and-wide, as embattled Bolsa Madrid gambling group Codere SA reported a hit on its share price, which fell from €3.64-to-€3.25 by the end of the week’s trading, taking a further hit within its biggest operational market.
Uncertain times lie ahead for all global business stakeholders invested in Argentina, as both Macri and Vidal will require miracle turnarounds to secure election victories in October and maintain Argentina Pro’s ‘business first’ economic agenda.
International betting incumbents that formed local partnerships, fulfilling BA’s tender licensing criteria, now await the decision of the Argentine Provinces Board for Lotteries and Casinos (IPLyC) as to who will secure one-of-seven BA online gambling licenses.
To date, 19 partnerships have submitted official BA tenders to the IPLyC, meeting the 25 June deadline, but as yet the governing body has made no official judgement on who the ‘BA-7’ will be, a mandate it had detailed would be fulfilled by the end of summer 2019.
Entering campaign season, be it Macri or Fernandez, all Argentine political stakeholders face critical questions on the nation’s economic strategy in relation to Peso inflation, capital controls, taxation and the country negotiating further monetary terms with the IMF. Those questions could conceivably force BA gambling reform to be relegated to the bottom of Argentina’s political agenda.