The Mexican government has been considering the rollout of new gambling laws that would be a lot friendlier to the casino industry and encourage foreign investment. Miguel Angel Ochoa, the President of the Mexican Gaming Association (AIEJA) believes that investors could pump in up to $120 million if the government decides to approve the new gambling laws.
Mexico has strict tax regulations and rules that make it difficult for casino operators to make a profit. A total of 16 gaming establishments were opened during this year, bringing the total number of gaming establishments in Mexico up to 335. Should the government pass the new law, two new bodies will be formed to oversee the gaming industry in the country.
The Advisory Council and the National Institute of Gaming will be responsible for ensuring that the casino industry compliments with the country’s gaming law and Ochoa believes that this will give investors the legal confidence they request to invest into Mexico’s casino industry. The Gaming Law will most likely be discussed this September during the legislative period.
In a statement, Ochoa said “The casino industry is a controversial issue in the country as the reality does not match the image that has been created through certain films that link gaming with money laundering, addiction, drug trafficking and prostitution. But casinos are a source of job creation and a tourist attraction”.
The casino industry in Mexico provides direct employment opportunities to 38,000 employees and indirect employment opportunities to 140,000 employees. The approval of the new Gambling Law will bring in more investment and expansion, thereby providing a significantly higher number of employment opportunities.
During February 2013, a congressional committee was commissioned with the task of investigating how gaming licenses were being provided in the country and then drafting new gaming laws. As a result, the Federal Betting and Raffles Law was introduced and finally gained approval by the House of Representatives in December 2015. This law was then introduced into the Senate but ran into opposition during the committee hearings.
A lot of the opposition comes from Mexico’s tourist and hotel associations who have come together to oppose the new gaming laws and criticize the proposal to introduce full fledged casinos in the country. However there has also been a push by key government officials for a positive decision to be made on the gaming law as it would give the Mexican government more control over the casino industry.
Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, the head of the Interior Ministry has called upon senators from the Ecological Green Party (PVEM) and the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to approve the gaming law without further delay.