Carlos Bianco Named Buenos Aires Lottery President
Buenos Aires governor Axel Kicillof has named Carlos Bianco the new president of the Buenos Aires Province Lottery. In this new position, Bianco will be responsible for crucial issues in Argentina’s largest province, including issuing licenses to iGaming operators.
A Decree from Buenos Aires’s New Governor
The decision to make Bianco Buenos Aires’s Head of the Provincial Lottery came from Axel Kicillof, the recently-elected governor of Buenos Aires, following a series of election upsets in the country beginning in August 2019.
These elections saw the left-wing Kicillof overtaking then-governor María Eugenia Vidal, as well as a wave of left-wing populist candidates taking office in Argentina, including the presidency.
In addition to the shifts Kicillof’s administration will signal for Argentina, his governorship has left the future of gaming in the country unclear. This is because María Eugenia Vidal, the more conservative and former governor of Buenos Aires, had been signaling potentially exponential growth for the iGaming industry in the country. Prior to her ouster, Vidal had gestured toward more liberal licensing for casinos, with more than 17 companies excitedly signing on.
When Kicillof was elected, seven online casinos were in the process of receiving their licenses. With her administration no longer in power, these licenses remain up in the air.
With Peso Falling, Some Big Decisions on Gaming in Argentina
In just the last few months, officials in Argentina have made several new stipulations that are likely to greatly affect the future of the gaming industry in the Latin American country.
The first came from Argentina’s central bank, the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic (or BCRA) this past fall. In an attempt to curb black market foreign currency sales by Argentine citizens, the BCRA created a strict set of regulations limiting the use of credit, debit, or prepaid cards in foreign currency transactions. Among other implications, this law prevents gamers from Argentina from foreign casino chip purchases.
Instead of using these cards, gamers in Argentina will now use a BCRA-created “casino dollar.” This new and controlled form of currency is intended to discourage black-market currency sellers to have access to selling off undervalued currency.
Just a short time later, officials from Buenos Aires made a major announcement at the Latin American gaming industry’s largest trade show, SAGSE. In a panel, representatives from Buenos Aires’s city lottery announced that online and mobile gaming in Buenos Aires will be exclusively run through the government, effectively banning private iGaming company ownership in Argentina’s largest province.
Because of this decree, almost 1300 independent lottery agencies in the country will be put out of business.
It is speculated that these rather extreme decisions in regards to the gaming industry come directly out of severe financial anxiety in Argentina incurred after months of economic stagnation and struggle. Following the unexpected results of the 2019 summer elections both nationally and locally, the peso in Argentina has plummeted, with no signs of relenting any time soon.
It is quite likely that these measures are intended by Argentina’s new left-wing government to nationalize the gaming industry in the hopes of increasing gaming tax revenue and cutting down on potential black market transactions, thus offsetting the ongoing pain incurred by the peso’s decline over recent months.
Bianco’s Appointment Comes After a Dramatic Resignation
Kicillof’s decision to appoint Carlos Bianco head of the Buenos Aires Province Lottery comes after the resignation of Matías Lanusse from his position as President of the Buenos Aires Province Institute of Lottery and Casinos on December 10, 2019 — just a short time after Buenos Aires officials announced the province takeover of local gaming activity.
To add fuel to the fire, Lanusse was not alone in his resignation — his entire team stepped down from their positions as well.
Prior to his establishment as head of the Buenos Aires Province Lottery, Carlos Bianco was acting Chief of Staff for the province of Buenos Aires.