Ecuador government making strides to legalize gaming

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The Ecuadorian government could be about to break a 13-year old ban on all forms of gambling as part of President Daniel Noboa’s plans to survey the population on several policy points.

President Noboa has given the Constitutional Court 11 questions to survey the country’s population as part of a Public Consultation, the last of which includes the gambling sector. 

Ecuador has had a ban on bingo halls and casinos since 2011, however, there was a lack of clarity when it came to online platforms, which paved the way for a gray market to develop. 

Yet, Noboa is exploring lifting the ban and introducing a national regulatory regime that will support Ecuador’s economy and create jobs. 

Per SBC Noticias, the question reads: “Do you agree that the operation of casinos, gambling halls, bookmakers or businesses dedicated to gambling is allowed, under the conditions detailed in the Annex to question 11?”

Proponents of lifting the gambling ban and regulating online gaming say that it could be a “solution that, as long as it is carefully regulated, will contribute to strengthening economic stability and consequently, mitigate insecurity in dangerous areas”.

There is also the economic case for lifting the ban as people argue that around 25,000 jobs from 160 gambling halls across the country were lost. Lifting the ban, proponents argue, will offer new job opportunities and tax revenues that can help reduce the growing wealth inequalities across the country. 

Supporting the lift, Holbach Muñeton, President of the National Federation of Provincial Chambers of Tourism of Ecuador, stated: “We see it with optimism, as a support, a support for the tourism industry. Ecuadorians must understand that this not only benefits tourism, it benefits the country, shrimp, fishing, industry, commerce.”