South America is Blocking Online Casinos
South American countries Uruguay and Argentina are showing the blocking of offshore, unlicensed sites serving the nation’s players.
Uruguayan national tax advisor Fernando Serra revealed his country’s intentions in an El Observador interview discussing a taxation model for digital services such as Netflix, when he acknowledged that the government was “beginning to study the possibility” of drafting legislation that would allow local authorities to block the “signals of the online casino game.”
The Uruguayan Casino Control Board reports a total of US$216 million wagered at local casinos in 2016, with $380 million wagered on legal forms of gaming such as lottery and tombola.
This does not account for illicit activity, which could be much higher because it includes card games and other forms of unregulated gambling games rampant across South America.
An online betting controversy was already brewing due to the Uruguayan football team displaying sportsbook Sportingbet’s logo on their shorts, for which Uruguay’s National party deputy Jorge Gandini took the team’s management to task in a country where online gambling games are illegal.
With Colombia blocking more than 300 domains to date, Argentina is now showing a proclivity toward similar measures for unlicensed operators in its jurisdiction as well.
Local Operators Targeted
Argentina’s blocking appears locally focussed, with the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Buenos Aires ordering the suspension of a domain belonging to Argentinian online site Miljugadas for taking bets from punters in Buenos Aires.
Argentinian Regulation Efforts
As far as regulation, murmurs within the Argentinian government for a federal agency to oversee online gambling have to this point encountered resistance from provincial lottery operators unwilling to give up local jurisdiction.
Arguments for Regulation
The solution Association of State Lotteries of Argentina (ALEA) president Alfredo Monaco calls for is “the consolidation of interjurisdictional agreements” under “the constitutional powers of the provinces and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires.”
Latin America has been among the regions considered to be holding huge potential in terms of online gambling games, and multiple international gambling of casino companies have spotted that potential and have directed their investment interest to that part of the world.
Unfortunately, many politicians in the region block online gambling games and regulated market entry as economic measures preventing money from leaving the country and protecting the nation’s economic welfare.
The conundrum remains that blocking measures withholding money from operators is for the most part funnelled back into illicit activity that would otherwise comprise a large portion of a regulated gambling market.