Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has made a significant move this week by implementing a ban on slot machines in all casinos and betting establishments. This decision is in line with the president’s objective to reform the gaming industry and ensure greater regulation and control, as mandated under the Federal Law on Gaming and Lotteries. The prohibition is also seen as a direct challenge to former president Felipe Calderón, whom Obrador believes may have corrupted the gambling ecosystem.
The ban on slot machines will not apply retroactively, allowing casinos with existing slot machines sanctioned during Calderón’s tenure to continue operating them until their concession ends. However, these privileges will only last for a maximum of 15 years, and will not be eligible for renewal or extension once the timeline elapses.
In a significant move, the Official Journal of the Federation published a notice that explicitly categorizes a slot machine as any mechanism used by players to place wagers in anticipation of winning a prize, regardless of the payment method. This effectively annuls previously existing regulations that sanctioned the usage of these machines, prohibiting all forms of gambling that had been previously approved by law.
The measure also includes restrictions on the issuance of new licenses for casinos and invalidates licenses for operators who have yet to open their businesses. Additionally, the ban on slot machines is expected to lead to an increase in online gambling as slot fans seek alternative options.
President Obrador’s crackdown on slot machines comes as part of a broader initiative to reform Mexico’s gambling regime, with the goal of tackling illegal casinos and increasing regulation and control in the industry. While the ban on slot machines may lead to an increase in illicit gambling activities, it is also likely to drive growth in the online gambling sector as players look for alternative options.