Uruguay Urged To Include Sports Betting In Online Gambling Bill

October 3, 2022
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Casino developer Cipriani Group, which is building a $200m casino-hotel complex in Punta Del Este, is demanding that sports betting be included in the Uruguayan government’s bill to legalise online gambling.

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Casino developer Cipriani Group, which is building a $200m casino-hotel complex in Punta Del Este, is demanding that sports betting be included in the Uruguayan government’s bill to legalise online gambling.

The bill, which was filed in November 2021 and is currently being debated in the Chamber of Deputies after passing the Senate, would legalise online gambling either through the state-owned casino operator or through private operators that already have licences for in-person casinos.

Sports betting is not included in the bill and would instead remain under the purview of the National Directorate of Lotteries and Quinielas. The directorate oversees the Uruguayan national lottery La Banca de Quinielas and its Supermatch online sportsbook, the only regulated online betting site in Uruguay.

Under the government's bill, newly legalised online casino games would be under the control of Uruguay's General Directorate of Casinos.

This has long been a point of contention.

Former director of national lotteries Luis Gama told VIXIO GamblingCompliance last month that “if the bill is passed unchanged in terms of establishing two executive units to deal with all matters related to online gambling, it would be a serious mistake”.

“There are no precedents at a regional level for the regulation of online gambling in a fragmented manner in which two organisations assume this responsibility,” Gama warned.

Now it seems that Pablo Monsuárez, the lawyer for Cipriani, also has a problem with this framework.

“The most negative thing is the absence of sports betting, because it cuts off the online gaming licence as a whole,” he told the Chamber of Deputies Finance Commission during a September 28 hearing.

“It is as if you went into a service station and they offer you gasoline, but not kerosene or diesel. When one enters, the service must be complete.”

Gama, however, remains sceptical that Cipriani’s lobbying will gain much traction.

“There are many interests at stake and for this reason I believe that Cipriani's complaint will not be successful,” he told VIXIO.

Cipriani, whose casino development contract with the Ministry of Economy and Finance dates back to December 2021, a month after the online gambling bill was announced, remains determined.

“We want equal conditions in free competition,” said Monsuárez. “We don’t want anything extraordinary; we don’t want any extra profit. We want equality.”

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