A new online gambling bill with amendments has been passed by the Chamber of Deputies of the Argentinian province of Mendoza this week, and now it needs approval from the Senate to decide if it doesn’t need any more changes or if it’s pushed until the next debate in 2021.

Originally, article six established that the bidding process would be defined by new regulations. However, this week the legislators modified the law to prioritize land-based casino operators, taking into account that they haven’t been able to operate due to the pandemic.

Deputy Josefina Canale, former President of the Provincial Institute of Games and Casinos (IPJyC), the local regulator, said: “Companies that already have a licensed casino in Mendoza will have priority [when granting online licenses] because they have been closed since March and still have no opening date. If we open a competitive process, we’re making things more difficult for them.

“The law will create a single registry of players who will be checked for information and the Institute will grant up to seven licenses. These funds will help the Institute to set up the intelligence and data protection servers.”

Although there were five votes against the law, the Senate will have the final word. The opponents argued that “each house will have a casino” and that “this project presents a potential danger of increasing gambling addiction,” according to Deputy Mercedes Llano.

In this regard, the current President of the IPJyC Ida López said that “online gambling already exists in the world, in the country and in the province”.

Local media Los Andes reported: “The regulation will allow us to prevent those in the Single Registry of Self-excluded from the Province of Mendoza from betting and will also give them the possibility to exclude themselves and limit themselves.

“There will be a strong impact on the advertising side, as responsible gaming parameters must be considered and they will need authorization from the Institute. The same applies to bonuses, we aim to prevent problem gambling.”

The project contemplates a public tender to grant a minimum of two licenses and a maximum of seven. The National Communications Entity (ENACOM) will be in charge of blocking all national and international platforms that offer gambling services without a license.

Companies interested in operating online gambling in Mendoza must have a local address and their sites must end with the .ar domain. The tender could begin as soon as the Senate approves the bill and will include all gambling and betting modalities.