Mexican Industry Welcomes New President's Election

June 10, 2024
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Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo has been elected the first female President of Mexico, following in the footsteps of her political mentor, outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who enacted prohibitive changes to federal gaming regulations late last year.
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Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo has been elected the first female President of Mexico, following in the footsteps of her political mentor, outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who enacted prohibitive changes to federal gaming regulations late last year.

The country went to the polls on June 2 and as the candidate of the incumbent Morena party, Sheinbaum secured a landslide victory over her closest rival, businesswoman Xóchitl Gálvez, by about 30 percentage points. 

The election of the former governor of Mexico City was not a surprise to the Mexican gambling industry. 

Miguel Ángel Ochoa Sánchez, president of Mexican trade group AIEJA, welcomed Sheinbaum's historic election and told Vixio GamblingCompliance that “she has experience as a ruler and as a legislator; let's hope that she strengthens relations between all sectors, so that a united Mexico can move forward!”.

Carlos Portilla Robertson and Maria Aguirre Galan of law firm Portilla, Ruy-Diaz & Aguilar added: “It is the hope of many that she will use her knowledge in energy and environmental engineering to continue with the same projects from a more technological and scientific point of view.”

Several months prior to the election, a presidential decree signed by López Obrador essentially banned slot machines and other casino games in Mexico's network of several hundred licensed gaming halls. The changes did not immediately affect current licensees but would phase out casino-style offerings as current permits expire.

The prohibition would also have effectively ended Mexico's regulated online gambling sector, which operates via links to existing land-based licences.

At the time, Alfredo Lazcano, a partner at Lazcano Samano law firm, suggested that the prohibitive legal amendments “correspond to the heated electoral times that we are experiencing in Mexico”. 

“The Mexican gaming industry has been very stable for the last two decades, so I think it’s likely that things will get back on track, one way or another, as soon as Mexican elections are over,” Lazcano said.

That decree has since been challenged by numerous Mexican operators in court.

Last week, local news agency Reforma reported that a federal judge of the 16th administrative district court had declared the reforms unconstitutional, citing a 2016 Mexican Supreme Court ruling that allowed for a permissive interpretation of lawful drawings under Mexican gambling law. The district court ruling has already been challenged by the government.

Portilla and Galan remain cautiously optimistic regarding the Mexican industry's prospects under Sheinbaum, who will take office on October 1.

“The private sector still has reservations about the new president-elect because the focus of her party, Morena, is very much on social programmers, leaving aside Mexico's complex economic challenges and its main problem: corruption,” they said.

“Overall, Sheinbaum's presidency represents both continuity and change, with high expectations from various sectors of society.”

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