Debate in Buenos Aires intensifies after release of debit card use in casinos

The government of the Province of Buenos Aires has authorized the use of electronic payments, making casinos now able to accept the use of debit cards. In response, different groups argued that this approval could lead to gambling problems.

Through a new measure by the Instituto Provincial de Loterias e Casinos (IPLyC), the regulator of Argentina’s largest jurisdiction revoked a 2016 clause that prohibited the use of electronic payments, such as debit cards, in casinos, bingos, racetracks and agencies. of betting.

Resolution No. 447 signed by the President of IPLyC, Omar Galdurralde, aims to “prevent tax evasion and irregularities in gaming rooms”. In addition, the regulator wants to prevent “economic benefits from social plans or programs” from being used as funds, leading to debit cards linked to social benefits being unable to be used for betting.

The measure also has the support of the Federal Administration of Public Revenues (AFIP), the national tax agency, which considers the game a “recreation service”.

Electronic payments were banned inside casinos and game rooms in 2016

In 2016, the government led by the current opposition decided to ban electronic payments within gaming rooms and casinos to “discourage any measure that allows unchecked betting”. The decision added to the existing ban on installing ATMs within two blocks of these locations.

Roberto ‘Chucho’ Páez, secretary of the association that represents casino workers, linked the new measure to the problem of gambling and said that “the decision is being debated”, despite having already been published in the official gazette.

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

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

Although the resolution refers to the authorization of transactions with debit cards, only reversing the ban on this method and maintaining the veto on credit cards, ATMs, checks and personal loans, Congresswoman Florencia Retamoso introduced a bill to prohibit the use of debit and credit cards in game rooms.

The bill would act as a countermeasure that would completely reverse the decision of the local Executive, although its text aims at a much greater ban that is already in place.