A new gaming regime in Mexico, which would cover both online and live gambling, is expected to be passed by legislators by the end of the year.
The gaming bill was passed in December of 2014 by the lower house of the Mexican Senate, and was expected to be fast tracked for approval later in the month before the current legislative session ended.
However, expectations were not met when Luis Miguel Barbosa, the President of the Mexican Senate, announced the new gaming bill would be delayed until 2015. At the time it was speculated the delay was unrelated to the bill itself, but due to the high amount of last minute controversial bills and constitutional amendments, including some from President Enrique Peña Nieto.
These delays continued for the first half of the year, causing many in Mexico to wonder whether or not a bill would pass anytime soon. As reported on Poker Industry Pro, the President of the Mexican Gaming Association (AIEJA) Miguel Angel Ochoa Sanchez announced on a radio interview that he believesthe bill will pass into law during the next Senate session, which takes place from September to December.
"It is very important to us that the law can be approved in order to avoid illegality, corruption and above all, to ensure the safety of the player first, secondly of workers, and third of investors in order to create jobs, generate investment and generate taxes for the national economy," said Ochoa.
Some in the industry estimate that when a bill does pass, it could spur approximately $600 million in new land-based casino investments.
In addition, a new gaming regime is important to the AIEJA in regards to online gaming, which is currently unregulated in the country. Ochoa stated he believes "95 percent of online gaming is not regulated by the Mexican government, and that live play must be regulated."
Ochoa also believes that the lack of regulated online gaming in the country is costing Mexico's coffers somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million.
What exactly would happen if a bill passes remains to be seen, but given the language of the bill, which requires serves be located in Mexico, there exists a strong possibility online poker players would be segregated from the rest of the world.
Also, the tax rates that would be in the new bill are less than clear. Poker Industry Pro speculates that the country could implement a lower tax rate than currently exist for land-based casinos based (20 percent gross gaming revenue tax), which were instituted when their Spanish model gaming laws were enacted back in 1947.
If the bill passes the Senate and is signed into law by the President, the earliest Mexico would see its enforcement would be June 2016. That's because the bill requires the new gaming regulator, the Instituto Nacional de Juegos y Sorteos—National Institute of Games and Lotteries, to wait 240 days before licensing gaming operators.
Stay tuned at PokerNews as more develops in the Mexican gaming marketplace.
*Lead photo courtesy of patdollard.com.