What is The Lottery of The City of Buenos Aires?
The process to award online casino licenses started in June 2019, but only came to pass under the new leadership of Carlos Bianco, who in December 2019 was newly appointed the Head of the Provincial Lottery, by provincial governor Axel Kicillof. It was announced on 31 December 2020 that seven licenses had been granted. The Lottery of the City of Buenos Aires is the body that regulates gambling in the city of Buenos Aires, so news of it finally permitting online gambling is a momentous step for the online gambling industry, not only in the independent city of Buenos Aires, but for Argentina as a whole. In the country of Argentina, provinces are put in complete control of their governance. What this means is, that these provinces regulate the industry within their four walls, thus the Lottery of the City of Buenos Aires (or Lotería de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires) licenses are specifically issued to be used within the city of Buenos Aires only. This means that successful operators will be able to open online casinos legally and in accordance with their regulations. The province of Buenos Aires is located on the West Coast of South America in the country of Argentina.
Online Casinos Licensed by the Lottery of the City of Buenos Aires
In order to be compliant, legislation states where a foreign operator is involved, the license may only be issued where a locally based person or company holds a 15% stake in the operation. It is confirmed that of the 17 applications submitted, seven partnerships have been awarded licenses.
- ArgenBingo, in partnership with William Hill
- Pasteko with bet365
- Hotel Casino Tandil in partnership with Playtech
- 888 Holdings with Boldt
- Atlantica de Juegos together with Flutter Entertainment
- Binbaires with Intralot and
- Casino de Victoria with Betsson
Under this license, operators may offer casinos online casinos games including blackjack, sports betting, slots, roulette, poker, virtual betting, non-sports betting, and lottery games. Operators must make a total sales revenue of over ARS$100m and have been in business for at least two years. They should also provide clean sheets to prove that they have not been convicted of illegal gambling in Argentina. They also may not be the owner of a retail betting agency or gambling halls in the city of Buenos Aires. With a population just shy of 3 million, authorities are confident several operators will continue to apply for this specific license.
How to Apply for a License:
The application process, as expected, is both a costly and admin-intensive exercise. An application fee of 30 000 USD (thirty thousand US dollars) will be charged as an administrative fee. Once the fee is paid, the applicant has to send their application via the Lottery of the City of Buenos Aires (LOTBA) website. This is a fully self-managed platform. All relevant documents, affidavits, and tax accounting records must be submitted. Besides a preliminary technical project certification report, an operational plan for the commercialization and / or distribution and/or sale of online games, an initial implementation project, and an implementation plan for the computer platform, is required to obtain the Final Certification Report (before obtaining the license). Once a license is granted, the successful applicant is referred to as an “Online Games Agency”. The license is issued for a period of five years and is renewable. The issued license cannot be assigned or transferred and only allows for use within the city of Buenos Aires.
The Pros and Cons of the Lottery of the City of Buenos Aires
With the online gaming industry only recently being legalized, it stands to reason that it will be met with its own set of pros and cons:
- The gambling industry stands to generate large sums of revenue for businesses, but more specifically governments, which in turn could benefit communities.
- The current regulations make it difficult for any fly-by-night or new businesses to operate, which could prevent inexperienced businesses from taking root or for scammers to conduct operations.
- Regulating the industry in itself eradicates a fair number of illegal operations.
- Providing an online counterpart allows for convenience for the gambler.
- The issuing of a license in the city prevents any gambling outside the province's walls.
- The current criteria would make it difficult for any local businesses to be successful in their applications.
- As we have outlined, the application process in itself is long and arduous.
- The City of Buenos Aires has expressed concerns about an uptick in gambling addictions in their communities.
- Bringing in more revenue tends to be a double-edged sword. While there could be benefits for the community, in turn, it could give rise to more corruption within the industry.
Domestic Laws and Restrictions in Place
Argentina recognizes a federal model where gaming and gambling are concerned. Laws are implemented by local jurisdictions. Buenos Aires, specifically, has a status similar to a province all with regulatory competence over gambling and gaming. In the city of Buenos Aires, there is no municipal level of government.
Buenos Aires has noted that gaming and gambling proceeds will be put towards social development and welfare. The regulations legalized online betting and are regulated by law. The city has also developed strict measures against offshore gambling operators. In any instance where these laws are not adhered to, administrative or criminal prosecution may take place.
History of the License
Land-based gambling has been part of the Argentinian gambling industry for several years. Its online counterpart, however, was only instated in recent years. Up until 2018, the only form of gambling that was allowed was the National Lottery, which was eventually disbanded. The permissions granted to online gambling began their review process in 2018. On a countrywide level, the online gambling scene is in its infancy, the landscape is not yet clearly defined and regulated, nor is online gambling legal in all provinces. The Lottery of the City of Buenos Aires (Lotería de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires) confirmed that the process for online applications kicked off in June 2019. This did hang in the balance for a short period of time, as Buenos Aires governor Maria Eugenia Vidal, who was in full support of online gambling, lost to Axel Kicillof. Later, however, he would go on to appoint Carlos Bianco, who would preside over the Provincial Lottery. The original legislation was put in place to repress the online gaming industry, but with COVID-19 giving rise to a greater demand for online options, authorities soon came to see the benefits of legalizing and regulating the industry. The first licenses were issued in early 2020.
About the author
Leticia "Letty" Santos
Letty Santos, a vibrant spirit from the heart of Manila, seamlessly merges her passion for Filipino culture with the exhilarating world of online casinos. Bringing a unique Filipino touch to every project, she's a gem in the casino localization realm.