Mexican congressmen seek to legalize casinos

The Gaming and Raffles Subcommittee of Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies has its proposed legislation ready in order to legalize casinos, which includes a series of safeguards in order to prevent money laundering and fines of up to USD 219,702 on establishments that violate the regulations.

According to Armando García Méndez, who chairs the subcommittee, the project will be presented during the current regular session [of Congress, which is scheduled to conclude on December 15], so that it can be considered early next year and, probably, voted on by Congress as a whole before April 2009.

García noted that the bill expressly proposes the prohibition of gaming parlor operations in the immediate vicinities of schools, family entertainment centers and churches, which currently occurs. Those establishments that fail to comply will simply disappear, he said.

During an interview, the Alternative-Social Democrat Party federal deputy stated that casinos will be [overseen] by an entity named the Gaming and Raffles Committee, in order to avoid money laundering and to control fiscal matters, and even monitor compulsive gamblers.

García also said that the new legislation will prohibit so-called slot machines, not only in gaming parlors but too in stores and pharmacies, with severe sanctions on the proprietors of those establishments and on those responsible for illegally bringing said devices into the country.

On tax matters, the gaming parlors will have a heavy tax burden. Furthermore, the permit holders will be required to finance social projects in the vicinity, as well as care centers for compulsive gamblers, García said.

„Fines would be from USD 12,646 to USD 219,702, or total closure in cases of previous offenses. This insofar as the current sanctions are ridiculous, with a maximum of USD 732,340 and, thus, anyone dares to break the law,“ he said.

García Méndez assured that the new system for the operation of gaming establishments will be dependable and transparent, to the degree that it will become a model for other countries.