Following the temporary shutdown of all gaming, lottery and betting shops in Argentina, provincial regulators revealed this week that they have detected an exponential growth in illegal gambling activity. 

Buenos Aires Deputy Ombudsman Walter Martello told Radio 99.9 that “…illegal gambling is expanding in all provinces”, and that different authorities are considering a regulatory change to control gambling in the country.

Authorities in the Buenos Aires province are currently trying to identify the operators behind the illegal offering, which include online bingo with more than 100,000 players. However, Martello believes that this is a “very complex” issue, saying: “It’s hard to identify and track them because once we find them, they remove their sites.

“The country that has made the biggest progress in online gambling is Colombia, which has regulated the industry a few years ago, but in Latin America in general this is not happening.”

In addition, he warned of the importance for the state to get involved in the issue, as online gambling attracts younger generations. 

The Deputy Ombudsman also revealed that regulatory authorities with advanced technology in Argentina have already asked Facebook to improve their filters to eliminate illegal online gambling from the platform. “In Buenos Aires, a specific site was set up so people can file complaints, but the problem is that they’re difficult to follow,” he added.

Racetracks in the province received the green light to reopen this month, while the jurisdiction is awaiting the implementation of the online gambling and sports betting regulation.