In Uruguay and iGaming legislation earlier this year put forward by the coalition government of President Luis Lacalle Pou has reportedly taken an important step forward via approval by a Chamber of Senators committee.
According to a source, the measure floated in late-January looks to legalize various forms of online gambling in the nation of 3.5 million people and is now set to be debated by the 99-seat Chamber of Representatives. If subsequently ratified, the legislation would purportedly also allow the county’s Direccion General de Casinos regulator to issue fixed-term iGaming licenses to land-based venues already being run by a range of state and private enterprises.
As part of its debate on the proposed iGaming legislation and the Finance Committee of the Chamber of Senators reportedly added provisions that would oblige the Direccion General de Casinos watchdog to redirect 5% of any resultant gross gaming tax revenues to the financing of local problem gambling programs. This move purportedly came at the behest of the left-leaning Broad Front political party but was not followed by any language that would ban licensed operators from offering bonuses such as sign-up dividends or loyalty incentives.
The legislation that would legalize iGaming in Uruguay will reportedly only become law if it is passed via full votes by both the Chamber of Senators and Chamber of Representatives. The source went on to disclose that the campaign faces considerable opposition in this latter body and may be scuppered due to fears associated with rising rates of crime, problem gambling and indebtedness.
However, proponents have reportedly pointed to the fact that legalized iGaming would moreover allow luxury hospitality firm Cipriani SA, which is building the gambling-friendly Cipriani Ocean Resort, Club Residences and Casino venue in the seaside resort city of Punta del Este, to maximize its investment. As written, the legislation would purportedly permit the coming $450 million development to apply for a license although company representatives earlier described the measure’s language as ‘incomplete.’
Pablo Monsuarez serves as an advisor to Luxembourg-based Cipriani SA, which is responsible for luxury restaurants and clubs around the world, and he reportedly told the source that the current legislation would not place the entire Uruguayan iGaming industry under the regulation of one authority. The consultant purportedly divulged that online casino games would be overseen by the Direccion General de Casinos watchdog while the rest are to be managed by the Direccion Nacional de Loterias y Quinielas enterprise.
Monsuarez reportedly stated…
“If this remains as it is, there will be an unfair system. It would generate players in the market with clear commercial advantages without large support infrastructures. It’s nothing against any specific company, it would be the same if more companies were involved. It’s necessary to be clear with the conditions for those who participate, which is something that is not happening here.”