Buenos Aires Lottery Retailers Urge Reforms Amid Inflation Pressures

February 23, 2024
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The price of inflation in Argentina is too steep for the gambling and lottery industry, the Buenos Aires Chamber of Official Lottery Agents said in a statement that seeks immediate policy changes to alleviate the damage. 
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The price of inflation in Argentina is too steep for the gambling and lottery industry, the Buenos Aires Chamber of Official Lottery Agents (CAOLAB) said in a statement that seeks immediate policy changes to alleviate the damage.

Argentina’s annual inflation for 2023 clocked in at 211.4 percent, according to the government’s statistics agency, its highest rate in the last three decades. 

The country was already trying to survive a 95 percent inflation rate in 2022 when newly elected President Javier Milei instituted draconian fiscal measures, slashing the currency and defunding public works. 

CAOLAB this month asked the gambling regulator in Buenos Aires province, the Provincial Institute of Lottery and Casinos (IPLyC), to intervene, warning that since 2018 revenues have not kept up with inflation.  

To recoup losses and avoid the permanent closure of lottery retail outlets, CAOLAB proposes allowing in-person sports betting, as well as video lottery terminals in stores to offer players instant-win games and other products.  

The group is also asking to use IPLyC’s “network of official agencies as an exclusive sales channel and with the same commissions as in the face-to-face game”, to implement digital quinielas (football pools).

CAOLAB stated: “We are not asking for any subsidy, we do not want to be supported by the state, we do not want to take anyone's job. We only ask to be given the opportunity to be competitive and to continue to maintain our activity, as the gaming institutes of different jurisdictions do.”

This is not the first time that CAOLAB has asked for changes due to inflation, which is a perpetual challenge in Argentina, with experts seeing no obvious turning point to come.

Buenos Aires Province is home to one of Argentina's regulated markets for online gambling, with a licensing regime in place covering both casino games and sports betting. 

Outside Buenos Aires, uncertainty still brews in the province of Santa Fe, where a law to regulate online gambling and sports betting was enacted two months ago but no plans for a licensing system have been announced yet. 

Daniel Di Lena, the president of the Santa Fe Lottery, told local media that the specifics of the licensing process were up to his agency and that, essentially, officials have made no decisions that they are willing to reveal publicly.

The lottery authority still needs “to define how many licences are available or if it will be freely licensed”, he said.

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