Uruguay To Propose Limiting Casino Hours, As Online Regulation Stalls

November 3, 2023
Back
A Uruguayan deputy has announced that he will present a bill next week in the Chamber of Deputies to address gambling addiction by limiting casino operating hours and removing cash machines from premises. 
Body

A Uruguayan deputy has announced that he will present a bill next week in the Chamber of Deputies to address gambling addiction by limiting casino operating hours and removing cash machines from premises. 

Deputy Álvaro Dastugue told local outlets that his bill would allow for longer hours during the “high season” but that it would not go passed 5am. 

Dastugue said that gambling addiction is of the utmost concern and that Uruguay had at least 35,000 gambling addicts. Out of a population of 3.4m, that figure is about 1 percent. 

Uruguay has an online gambling bill that has lain dormant in the Chamber of Deputies for nearly a year. It was first introduced in November 2021 and after initial progress was then delayed until March 2023, which was eight months ago. 

It was due to be voted on on November 30 of last year, then delayed until Congress returned from the Christmas recess, and then delayed once more over squabbles about the current draft. 

At the time of the first delay, it was said that deputies were unhappy that online gaming and online sports betting were going to be regulated under two different agencies, which opponents called nonsensical and unprecedented.  

Gambling safety, which Dastugue’s bill addresses, is also a point of serious contention and delay. The Uruguayan government has called in foreign experts to testify time and again to make certain they are adopting legislation that focuses on the health of gambling addicts. 

Others are using the focus on gambling safety as support for their own position. In a recent interview with local media El Observador, Roberto Palermo, the president of the Lottery Banks of Uruguay, advocated for the continuation of the state monopoly’s control over gaming.

“In gambling, free competition is not viable,” he said. “It leads, for example, to exacerbating advertising, using tools such as promotions with free coupons or bonuses, taking advantage of people’s vulnerability, since they stimulate and push people to play. Online gambling, in a competitive framework, is a machine for generating addicts and that is not good for society.”

Luis Gama, former director of Uruguay’s lotteries and now the director of the independent Gaming Consultores, told Vixio this summer more simply that: “The bill is pending, and from what I have been informed it is currently not a priority for the government.”

Although Uruguay’s population is small, it has long been a summer holiday destination for the wealthy classes of neighbouring countries who gamble there.

Our premium content is available to users of our services.

To view articles, please Log-in to your account, or sign up today for full access:

Opt in to hear about webinars, events, industry and product news

To find out more about Vixio, contact us today
No items found.