Are Mexico’s Gambling Laws Too Strict?


If you are a British citizen looking to make the long trip to the beautiful country of Mexico or just a British expat, you might find the country’s gambling laws to be confusing and strict. Especially in comparison to your own laws regarding the industry, which are seen by many across the world as the benchmark of how gambling should be responsibly regulated.

In this article we will explore some of Mexico’s gambling laws and try to answer the question, ‘are they too strict?’ We will also attempt to analyse whether or not the regulated, secure and exciting blueprint of a UK online casino could be successfully replicated in Mexico.

The State of Mexican Gambling

There is no denying that Mexico has experienced much volatility, change and upheaval in the last 150 years. The Mexican Revolution that ranged from 1910 to 1920 was a period of bloody fighting and struggle that culminated in massive political change in the country.

As Mexico looked to shake off the remnants of colonisation many European imports like Catholicism were outlawed. Gambling, which was seen as a vice brought over by French and Spanish colonists was equally banned, until 1935 when President Cardenas made some exemptions to the ban.

Within 12 years Mexico had codified an official gaming law which provided legislation for all forms of gambling. This largely prohibitive law did not strictly outlaw gambling, but it did make it difficult for operators to run freely.

As such gambling in Mexico stuttered and stalled until 2004 when the then government conceded that the 1947 laws were outdated. Some small tweaks were made, making it easier to obtain gambling licences.

This saw an explosion in sports betting premises and casinos, with more applications for gambling licences in the few weeks after the relaxation in law than in the previous 57 years.

At the time of writing little has changed in regard to Mexican gambling since 2004. The onus of regulation and legalisation is very much on the federal state government rather than the national government.

As a rule of thumb, casino gambling and sports betting are legal for both locals and foreign nationals, so long as they are of age and not intoxicated. However, when it comes to online gambling Mexicans are technically prohibited from wagering online.

This has led to an almost non-existent online casino industry in the country, which has been exploited by foreign companies who, immune from Mexican law, offer their services to Mexican nationals.

There has been recent talk of the Mexican authorities investing in technology to block online gambling transactions. However, as such there has been no confirmation on this plan and foreign companies continue to take Mexican pesos out of the country.

Punitive online gambling laws have not stopped people from wagering online, rather they have resulted in hundreds of thousands of pesos leaving the country to foreign suppliers

Could Mexico Regulate Online Gambling Effectively?

Attempting to block online gambling is almost as futile as trying to collect rainwater in a sieve. If the government are to find a way to block online gambling transactions, foreign companies will find a way around these blocks.

Therefore, regulation seems like the only feasible option when it comes to online gambling in Mexico, but how easy is that?

Well, if we take a look at the UK’s approach to online gambling it seems that regulation, whilst not easy, is certainly achievable. Last year the UK gambling industry brought in revenues of £15 billion, with £5 billion (141,907,132,650 pesos) coming from the online sector.

With the online sector playing such a big part, it is apparent that the Mexican government are losing huge amounts of money through not having regulations in place. Even if regulations were introduced, for online gambling in Mexico to achieve the same success it has in the UK, the players need to feel safe, and the games need to match the same high standards. UK residents can rest assured that they are playing the best games the industry has to offer, see for yourself at this fantastic UK online casino.

As a result of competent regulation, a large amount of that figure was recouped by the government in the form of taxes. In addition to that, all gambling operators in the UK are obliged to donate 1% of their turnover to gambling charities, so in total, a huge amount of money has been invested in good causes in the UK as a direct result of gambling.

What Regulation Looks Like

As the UK is the current world leader in online gambling regulation, it would be foolish not to continue looking to their example on the issue. The three stand-out tenets of British regulation that could and perhaps should be adopted by Mexico are:

  • National Licensing: Every online gambling company operating in the UK must be fully licensed by the Gambling Commission. This government led agency sets the rules for which companies must operate and keeps British money in Britain.
  • Charity Funding: As mentioned earlier in the article, all British licensed gambling companies are obliged to donate 1% of their turnover to gambling charities. This helps to instil a social responsibility on suppliers and also to combat the social problems of the industry.
  • Transparency: One of the most heard criticisms of gambling is that it tricks players into thinking that they can win huge sums of money. In the UK, gambling providers are legally bound to inform their players of probabilities, odds and return to player percentages in minute detail.

All of these tenets combine to make the gambling industry in the UK thrive whilst benefitting providers, players and wider society at the same time. The industry provides tens of thousands of jobs in the country, hundreds of millions in tax and is safe, secure and reliable for players.

Summing Up – Are Mexico’s Gambling Laws Too Strict?

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