Online poker in Argentina could be in for a shake-up in the near future if the Board of the Association of Lotteries, Pools and Casinos (ALEA) has its way.Â According to recent reports, the non-profit trade organization is putting together a proposal that would essentially bring order to the chaos that currently characterizes the country’s virtual landscape.
At present, Argentina consists of 23 provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires, and each separate entity has the right to govern gambling in a variety of forms. This fragmentation has allowed for a host of unregulated online poker and gambling sites to live within the shadows of this structural disorder, and it’s this problem that ALEA wants to address.
With the problem getting increasingly out of hand, the association has released a direct mission statement that reads: “ALEA wants to act as an advisory body on regulation, modernization and optimization of resources at the federal level.”
One of the major issues the online gambling economy is trying to eradicate at the moment is a small minority of corrupt elements. Because no two provinces are communicating effectively with regards to gambling legislation, it’s meant that illegal operators can ply their trade and exploit customers without a real fear of prosecution.Â However, this lax climate could soon come to an end if ALEA can influence the federal government enough to enact a change.
Indeed, with the Argentinean economy currently suffering a major downswing, a move towards collective regulation seems to be a necessary step in order to deter illegal operators, properly tax those with a license and create a sustainable revenue stream.
Although the first licensed online gaming site went live in 2002, and since that time four more have obtained official certification, the market is still dominated by overseas operators. Therefore, it’s hoped that a new cohesive regulatory framework will not only drive out unruly sites, but give legit businesses a more stable system with which to operate in.
Another problem currently facing the online poker community in Argentina at present is the lack of US dollars in the country. The government’s debt is currently limiting the number of US dollar transactions the country as a whole can make and this is being passed on to operators accepting deposits and withdrawals in that currency. In fact, an official exchange rate has been imposed on businesses handling US dollars that can run as high as 60 percent in some cases.
How ALEA will bring order to this reign of chaos in the Argentinean gambling market is unclear, but it seems as though some sort of framework needs to be put in place in order to prevent a complete breakdown.