Casino gaming in Argentina has been brought to a virtual standstill after three unions joined forces on Monday to call an indefinite strike in protest at the possible introduction of new taxes currently being considered by legislators.
According to a report from G3 Newswire, the ongoing strike involves around 250,000 workers and has affected casinos, bingo halls, racetracks and lottery agencies across the whole of the nation.
It reported that the Union Of Gaming Workers, the Association Of Racetrack And Betting Agency Personnel and the Gastronomic Sector Workers Union took the decision to walk out after the governing Cambiemos political collation, which is led by President Mauricio Macri, proposed introducing federal legislation to raise an additional $375.32 million a year via the implementation of new duties.
“This measure goes against the political promises of this government to reduce the tax pressure on private activities,” read a statement from the Argentine Chambers Of Casinos And Bingos And Annexes.
The government plan, which critics warn could put as many as 20,000 jobs at risk, would reportedly involve the imposition of a $2,502 fixed tax on each of the 80,000 slots in Argentina alongside a 0.75% duty on all wagers.
“If the initiatives that speak of imposing a tax on bets and a payment for each slot machine go forward, companies will be on the brink of bankruptcy and thousands of workers will lose their jobs,” read a statement from Ariel Fassione from the Union Of Gaming Workers. “The sector already pays 60% of tax revenues not counting other social charges and inevitably any new modification will trigger dismissals. Therefore, we have joined our partners from the gastronomic industry, from the racetracks and from provincial agencies to strike and make them listen.”
The unions are reportedly also hoping to send a message to legislators for Buenos Aires Province after they revealed a plan that could see the country’s largest and most populous state collect an additional $50.04 million a year through the imposition of a $1.25 bingo hall entrance fee. Officials are allegedly moreover considering raising the province’s gross gaming revenue tax rate by two percentage points to 14% with half of the collected money going to municipalities with the rest set aside to help fund problem gambling efforts.