Argentina‘s new president could impact gaming industry

Macri served two terms as mayor of the City of Buenos Aires.
Macri served two terms as mayor of the City of Buenos Aires.

Mauricio Macri will be sworn in office on Dec.10th and his party also holds power over the province of Buenos Aires and the country’s capital city, Buenos Aires.

Argentina.- Let´s Change is the name of the coalition party that has won the presidential elections in Argentina last November, and his leader, Mauricio Macri, will be sworn president next Dec. 10th, succeeding Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s. The political and economical shift that Macri’s presidency announces could have a major impact on gaming industry in the country.

With two terms as mayor of the City of Buenos Aires and as the most prominent opposition leader, Mauricio Macri won the presidential election beating rival Daniel Scioli in a closely contested Presidential ballotage on November 22. During his campaign and his years in office Macri, a successful business man before he took public office, has vowed to introduce more pro-business policies, in order to differentiate himself from Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s policies.

Macri’s coalition “Cambiemos,” also won two big states in Argentina: province of Buenos Aires, the City of Buenos Aires, plus the executive branch. This scenario could mean a more cohesive approach when it comes to gaming.

Furthermore, Macri has already showed a different approach to gaming business than the current president, Fernández de Kirchner had. The head of government and his late husband, former president Néstor Kirchner, have close ties with the mayor gambling businessmen and entrepreneur, Cristóbal López. Casino Club, López’s company, is allowed to run the slot machines in the casino located in downtown Buenos Aires, plus an important share of the floating casinos moored permanently to the city harbour. During Macri’s government as head of the City of Buenos Aires these operations have been a point for dispute, because a massive AR$2.4bn pesos in back taxes are owed to the city by casinos located in the capital.

During his long presidential campaign Macri defended his record as head of the capital city’s government regarding gaming, he claimed that his administration “set limits” on gaming in the capital from “day one.”

“They (the opposition in the City of Buenos Aires which support Kirchner’s government) have tried to increase the number of bingo halls and we have rejected it and we will put these limits in practice on a national level when we come into power. The body which defines what is done in gaming is the National Lottery – we have only been minor players with little room for action until now,” Macri told the media some time before the election.

Moreover, on November 25, three days after the polls closed, the Argentina Supreme Court confirmed that the city government has police power over the floating casinos, which could lead to the City’s action to tax gaming in Buenos Aires. This decision could have a negative impact on Cristóbal López, whose licences expire on December 8th.