The news last week that Argentinian Internet gambling website Formoapuestas.com.ar in Buenos Aires province had been arbitrarily shut down by local licensing authority Loteria Nacional has been followed by reports that the province of Sante Fe is also considering a ban on Internet gambling.
Although concrete official information is still not available on the reasons for the Formoapuestas.com.ar shut down, it is widely believed to be in anticipation of new legalization in the BA provincial assembly that will change a previously enlightened approach to online gambling.
In Argentina, regional laws dictate that individual provinces may issue gaming licenses while a Federal regulation dictates that all sportsbetting be handled by the National Lottery monopoly.The moves in Sante Fe and Buenos Aires could affect other online gambling venues.
Several sites currently operate in Argentina such as Vcapuestas.com.ar and ar.888.com. Bwin exited the sector earlier this year.
In the Santa Fe province, Clr. Luis Alberto Mauri has proposed a ban on Internet gambling, enforced mainly by Internet Service Providers being required to block citizens of the province from accessing online gambling sites as defined by the authorities. Before embracing the regulatory solution, the Italian government tried the same route and managed to antagonise other European licensing jurisdictions in the process.
Mauri is well aware of the popularity of online gambling in his region, saying: "We understand that gambling is a part of social behaviour and [is] increasingly popular online, but the fact that citizens in our province have access to this method of gambling does not mean that the State should refrain from exercising control over it."