The Senate of the Argentine province of Santa Fe has passed an online gambling bill with little fanfare and no changes from the legislation as initially approved by the Chamber of Deputies.
When the bill is signed into law by Santa Fe's newly elected governor, it will mean that all five of the most populous of Argentina’s provinces will have fully regulated and competitive online gambling markets, with Santa Fe to set up a licensing system similar to those of the city and province of Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Córdoba.
Bill 52665 “establishes regulations for the development and exploitation of the activity of games of chance, sports betting and sports predictions, online or in virtual form, which are carried out through digital, electronic, computer, telematic, interactive, telecommunications media, platforms, and those that are developed in the future,” said a press release from the Senate.
Santa Fe, which has a population of over three million and is the home province of Lionel Messi, previously allowed online gaming during the pandemic exclusively through its licensed brick-and-mortar casinos.
In 2020, three casinos were granted the ability to offer online casino games due to COVID-19: City Center Rosario, Casino Melincué and Casino Puerto Santa Fe.
The move was not without political controversy and even generated a formal complaint from then deputy Maximiliano Pullaro who claimed the move made via gubernatorial decree was illegal.
As of December 10, Pullaro is now the governor of the Santa Fe province and is responsible for spearheading the campaign for the new legislation to pass.
Bill 52665 will enable the three casinos to obtain additional licences to offer sports betting and casino games.
The tax on gross gambling revenue will be “a minimum” of 15 percent, which means that the executive branch can raise the tax without seeking the legislature’s approval.
Half of the collected funds will be designated for campaigns to raise awareness of gambling addiction.
The Santa Fe Lottery will be allowed to develop its online gaming platform if it wishes to do so, while a new licence tender process will be established exclusive of the incumbent casinos that already hold a licence.