Buenos Aires puts brakes on online casino licences

Buenos Aires puts brakes on online casino licences

The Argentine capital’s regulator will accept no more applications for igaming licences amid concerns over underage gambling.

Argentina.- The government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires has announced that it will issue no more online casino licences due to concerns over gambling harm in minors. Jorge Macri, head of the city government, said the regulator, the City of Buenos Aires Lottery (LOTBA), had closed licence applications.

The existing 11 licensees will continue to operate, but the government has announced an immediate review focusing on the processes in place for age verification.

The Argentine capital opened its regulated online gambling market in 2020, with LOTBA accepting applications from municipal gambling businesses in partnerships with foreign online operators, such as bet365, GiG, Betsson and Playtech. However, Macri said the topic of underage gambling had become a major concern for parents.

He said: “We are not here to ignore these problems. We confront them head-on, even when we don’t have all the solutions at hand. Our message is clear: not with children.”

The review of existing operators will seek to ensure that licensees effectively use age verification systems and implement self-exclusion tools and player limits on time and losses. Operators will have to introduce alerts and limits for transactions and advertising. Work will be undertaken in a bid to prevent minors from accessing gambling by using incorrect data.

Macri also announced the opening of a facility for minors with pathological gambling and plans to work with e-commerce and social media platforms to block or remove content promoting illegal gambling. The government also intends to block access to gambling sites via government WiFi networks.

LOTBA president Jesús Acevedo said the regulator had already blocked 715 social media profiles and advertisements and had ordered the blocking of 12 websites with .ar domain names.

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