The Uruguay Executive Branch now has control over sports betting, despite the fact that the Chamber of Deputies has passed a law that would make all other forms of online gambling illegal.
Slot machines, Blackjack and Poker are once again seen as an intrinsically different type of gambling than betting on which football team or boxer will win. State-run sportsbooks will remain in favor along with land-based casinos, but the governing party of Uruguay Frente Amplio has drawn a line in the sand for traditional online casino games like slots, poker, and roulette.
Much of the bill was introduced in hopes to increase the country’s fiscal transparency and in order to curb corruption in multiple areas of concern. Although much of the law’s fulfillment strategy has yet to be determined, it is unclear how Uruguay will plan to implement the law itself. According to Frente Amplio, the Accountability Law is intended to safeguard continued growth of the country’s economy. It seems to also have a strategy of increased taxation of the revenue from land-based casinos and slot-machines in order to bolster funds.
Jorge Gandini, the Deputy of the National Party, stood in stark opposition to the proposed law and promised to vote against it when the time came. This comes as a shock to many in the industry which had felt that the Uruguayan government had begun to lean toward an eventual full legalization and regulation of the online gambling industry within the country. But the lobbying power of the land-based casinos in Uruguay proved to be persuasive and swing the governing party favor away from a regulated online gambling industry.
It is yet to be seen if Uruguay will develop a model which would allow land based casinos to manage digital platforms for their casino games. This would be outside of the concerns primarily expressed by the National Federation of Uruguayan Gaming and the state-run casino employees who protested against a bill they had hoped to fully legalize – citing that foreign companies could end up siphoning jobs and capital away from Uruguay.