Buenos Aires Grants Online Licenses to Seven Operators
Seven online gambling licenses have been awarded in Buenos Aires, including to some well-known European operators.
The licenses were announced on New Year’s Eve in the province’s Official Gazette. The application procedure for the licenses began almost two years ago, there were an initial 19 applicants and this was then reduces to 14 finalists.
The successful applicants, together with their local partners, were 888 Holdings (LON: 888), Bet365, Betsson (STO: BETS-B), Intralot (OTCMKTS: IRLTF), Playtech (LON: PTEC), The Stars Group (Flutter Entertainment), and William Hill (LON: WMH). According to the regulations, the local operator must have a minimum 15% stake in the business.
Among the rejected applicants were the Latin American online betting firms Betcris, Betway, Italy’s Sisal, and the Spanish operators Codere and Luckia. There was no reason given for the companies’ rejection. Initially, Betsson was ranked eighth in the process, but was moved up a place after Flutter (LON: FLTR) took over The Stars Group and withdraw the application for its Paddy Power Betfair unit.
It is not yet known when the successful license applicants will begin operations, but they are required to make an immediate payment of $310,000 towards a ‘single fixed charge’ of $770,000. It was originally planned to tax licensees 25% of gross gaming revenue; however, last November, federal politicians approved a plan to tax online gambling at a rate of up to 5% of turnover.
The licenses allow the operators to offer a wide range of products, such as casino, sports, virtual sports, lotteries, and so on. However, proposition bets on politics are not allowed. The Provincial Directorate of Administration and Finance of the Provincial Institute of Lottery and Casinos (IPLyC) will oversee online gambling.
Thanks to Buenos Aires’ large population of around 16 million, it is a highly desirable area for online gambling operators. However, the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, which has a population of 3 million, is currently working on its own online gambling licensing program.