The government of the City of Buenos Aires presented a project last Friday that sets out to change the current online gaming regulation. The modifications would take effect once the capital city reactivates a bidding process for online licences before the end of the year.

According to the proposal, which was presented to the Legislature of Buenos Aires, operators with existing land-based licenses would be allowed to participate in the online gaming bidding process. This was initially banned in the first draft that came into force in February 2020.

“Illegal gambling is five times worse than what it was at the beginning of the pandemic, so we need to regulate [the market],” the government explained, and said the proposals also aim to protect the land-based casinos which closed their doors in mid-March and still can’t reopen.

Both the Puerto Madero casino and the Hipódromo de Palermo had requested authorization to participate in the bidding process to obtain an online licence, while official lottery agencies had also urged the authorities to be part of the industry.

The project establishes that the prohibition “constitutes an obstacle to ensure the effective validity of the bidders in terms of participation and competition, necessary in the Public Call and the Registry of future agents”.

In addition, the proposed regulation would add a new section called “clean record” that would exclude “people with criminal records or in trial for crimes such as human trafficking, terrorism or drug, human or gun trafficking, or laundering of assets or for crimes included in the Inter-American Convention against Corruption” from participating in the bidding process.