Mexican online poker laws are certainly due for an upgrade. That’s because there really aren’t any laws to speak of at the moment; the existing laws governing gambling in the nation were written in 1947, and were never changed to reflect the fact that gambling now takes place in the virtual world just as frequently as in brick-and-mortar casinos. Now, it appears as though it will finally change later this month.
According to Mexican Gaming Commission President Fernando Zarate Salgado, a new gaming bill is scheduled to be presented to the Mexican House of Representatives on September 9. It is expected that the legislation will be approved by September 20.
The new bill comes from a special commission that was specifically established to rewrite Mexico’s aging gaming laws. The idea was to create a piece of legislation that would prove popular across party lines, thus guaranteeing a quick passage of the new regulations.
According to Zarate, the new laws took into consideration input from industry representatives, businesses, academics and even anti-gambling groups. If any major issues are found with the bill, there’s still time to work out the details. No specific details have been leaked, though it is expected that the regulations should be friendlier to the gambling industry than those proposed in a draft seen last year.
The bill is not specifically about online poker, but it is expected to cover the game, as well as other forms of Internet gambling. It could also clarify the state of poker in general throughout the nation. That has many hoping for some player-friendly reforms that will help grow the game in Mexico.
“Mexican regulars play a lot of online poker and we have a lot of underground games,” poker pro Angel Guillen recently told PokerNews about the current state of poker in Mexico. “Few casinos have electronic tables and there are also a couple of poker rooms that operate in a grey-area. They are not 100 percent legal, but they are not totally illegal either.”
With few details about how the bill will actually look and what it will mean for online poker, though, Mexican players are mostly adopting a wait-and-see attitude towards the legislation.
“Everything depends on the new reform, as that could soon introduce some important changes in the country,” Mexican poker pro Christian de Leon told PokerNews Latin America. “There have been many speculations and a lot of talks, but the truth is that we can’t say anything until the new laws will be voted.”
While the impact on poker and online gambling isn’t clear, some details of how the bill may impact more traditional forms of gambling have emerged. According to Zarate, the new laws will increase the minimum age to play in Mexican casinos to 21, and operators will be able to apply for ten-year licenses. These licenses will only be renewable once for another ten-year period. The law will also implement stricter controls on those organizations that wish to apply for licenses to operate casinos.
The new legislation could also be of interest to many American poker players. After the shutdown of three major poker sites in the country on Black Friday, many professional players relocated to Mexico, Canada and other nations to continue playing online.