Gambling laws in Mexico – Regulation and legality
Gambling is allowed in Mexico, but it is subject to obtaining the proper authorization in order to offer gambling activities.
Despite the fact that gambling is a legal activity in the country, it is mainly aimed at foreign visitors who can gamble at around 300 gaming facilities, located in numerous luxury resorts throughout Mexico.
For more than 70 years, gambling in Mexico was regulated by the Gambling Law enacted on December 31, 1947, by President Miguel Alemán Valdés. Under that law, gambling and raffles were considered illegal on the territory of the country.
But despite this law, the Ministry of the Interior was able to authorize games that included betting, which caused confusion among the authorities for many years.
It was not until September 2004 that President Vicente Fox Quesada addressed the confusing articles of the Gaming Law of 1947. That year the Federal Gaming and Raffle Law was published in the Official Gazette of the Federation and was subsequently reformed in 2013.
The new amendment to the law made it compatible with the gaming industry and the latest technological improvements. Unfortunately, this new law did not include articles on training, live betting, online gambling, as well as responsible and safe gambling.
On November 27, 2014, a new bill was presented by the Special Commission in charge of investigating Federal Government entities that were issuing gambling and raffle permits.
The main objective of the recently introduced bill was to ensure a regulated environment for participants in gambling activities, as well as operators providing gambling services.
The bill was also intended to establish guidelines for obtaining gaming permits and to introduce laws that will regulate the gaming industry in Mexico.
On December 3, 2014, the new bill received the approval of a large number of members of the Chamber of Deputies and passed to the Senate. Unfortunately, the bill has not yet been approved.
Online betting in Mexico
After the changes introduced in 2004, the Mexican government granted quite a few gaming licenses, surpassing the total number of licensed operators in the previous 80 years.
At that time, some online gaming licenses were also issued to various casino operators. However, despite the number of licenses granted, various restrictions were placed on local inhabitants.
Mexicans were allowed to enter land-based casinos, but if they are under 18 or intoxicated, they will be barred from entering the facility.
As for online casino gambling in Mexico, locals cannot register and play on websites that have been granted licenses. This means that only players residing outside of Mexico can join these online casinos.
Meanwhile, overseas gaming websites have no restrictions on offering games to players from Mexico, giving them enough opportunities to play online.
Despite speculation that the Mexican government is imposing strict restrictions that will block gambling websites from online transactions, these measures have yet to be introduced.
This is the reason why many unlicensed operators still accept players from Mexico. Due to the way the Gambling Law is formulated, it is difficult to determine whether such gambling activities are legal or illegal.
There is a need for specific amendments to the law, which provide Mexicans with a clear outline of legal and illegal online and land-based gambling.
There is still no legal definition of online gambling, which allows many unlicensed operators to offer virtual gambling services to Mexican players.
Meanwhile, operators that are licensed in Mexico cannot accept local players, forcing Mexicans to look for casinos abroad where they can play.
Although online gambling is growing in popularity among people in Mexico, it is still not properly regulated and the proposed amendments to the 2014 law are not yet approved.
The current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also opposes granting licenses to other land-based casino operators. The reason is his concern about the legality of the licenses that have been issued during the presidency of Vicente Fox Quesada.
Since legal sports betting in Mexico has been recognized, this allowed almost 200,000 citizens to gain employment and also made Mexico also a gambling tourist destination.
Today the best sportsbooks online, as well as land-based bookmaker agencies and casinos, are growing in popularity in Mexico.
Nowadays foreign tourists and vacationers can now not only enjoy the beautiful Mexican beaches and resorts but also try their luck in gambling and sports betting.