Buenos Aires will accept debit card payments

Casinos in the province of Buenos Aires will soon be able to accept debit cards following the government’s authorization to use electronic payments.

Resolution number 447, signed by the President of the Provincial Institute of Lotteries and Casinos, Omar Galdurralde, notes an objective “to prevent tax evasion and money laundering in gambling halls”. In addition, the regulator wants to prevent “economic benefits from social plans or programs” from being used as funds, which would prevent debit cards linked to social benefits from betting.

Thanks to a new measure from the IPLyC, the regulator of Argentina’s largest jurisdiction has repealed a 2016 provision that prohibited the use of electronic payments, such as debit cards, in casinos, bingo halls, racetracks and betting agencies.

The measure also has the support of the Federal Administration of Public Revenues, the national tax agency, which considers gambling a “recreational service”.

According to this interpretation, the government is now interested in “banking casinos and gambling and/or betting throughout the jurisdiction of the province of Buenos Aires”.

However, in response to the new measures, various groups have argued that this approval could lead to an influx of problem gambling issues.

In 2016, the government, led by the current opposition, decided to ban electronic payments inside gambling halls to “discourage any measure that facilitates money to continue betting without control”.

The decision was added to the existing ban on installing ATMs within two blocks of these sites.

Roberto ‘Chucho’ Paezsecretary of the association which represents casino workers, linked the new measure to problem gambling and said that “the decision is the subject of debate”, despite the fact that it has already been published in the official gazette .

Páez noted, “Last week I contacted the lottery authorities because we are concerned. In the past, a program was set up to take care of people in the province with a gambling addiction”.

Additionally, he acknowledged that “there is a demand” among users for more payment methods beyond cash and announced that there will be “a further meeting with the authorities to have more details” on the matter.

Although the resolution only refers to the authorization of transactions with debit cards, thus reversing the ban on this method and keeping in place the ban on credit cards, ATMs, checks and personal loans, Representative Florencia Retamoso introduced a bill to ban the use of debit and credit cards in gambling halls.