Argentina Moves to Embrace Online Gambling, Poker

180-degree turnaround to pay for soccer?

by , Aug 27, 2009 | 8:41 pm

Funny … as Brazil accelerates efforts to ban online poker+gambling, Argentina is going completely the other way — looking to legally regulate it. And in a hurry, no less …

From Dow Jones via NASDAQ:

The Argentine government is working on plans to allow online gambling throughout the country, presidential Cabinet Chief Anibal Fernandez said Wednesday.

“We’re working so that this will become law within two or three months,” Fernandez said, adding that it could take notably longer and possibly up to two years.

Fernandez said the main aim behind the project is to combat illicit gambling that’s already occurring.

Wow, just a year ago Argentina was looking to ban online gambling — looking to force ISPs to block citizen access, threatening jail time for offenders, and shutting down a site run out of Buenos Aires ( ). So why the change of heart? Common sense, and money of course. But supposedly also soccer.

In what was a controversial Argentinean political issue this year, the government basically ran a hostile takeover of soccer broadcast rights from private cable operators (to the tune of $154 million) in an effort to bail out the AFA (their version of the NFL), which had several major clubs owing tons of back taxes and unable to pay their players. Though the government will neither confirm nor deny the connection, conventional wisdom south of the equator says that online gambling is what will bring in the revenue to pay for that.

Last November, Argentinean futbol got a taste of what the sites they want to regulate could bring to the table, when PokerStars (dot-net variety) — as part of its aggressive move into Latin America — signed on as a (very warmly received) sponsor for River Plate (pictured above).

3 Comments to “Argentina Moves to Embrace Online Gambling, Poker ”

  1. Pauly

    Argentina’s supreme court recently decriminalized marijuana as well. Times are a changin’ down there.

  2. Graham

    That is pretty shocking as I remember when I moved there just over a year ago (for the winter) I had researched the countries’ stance on online poker and it looked pretty against it. I am still pretty confident that South America is going to be a poker hotspot in the next few years. It is growing like crazy down there and it will be interesting to see how sites like Pokerstars with the LAPT move in and dominate the markets.

    On a side note.. As a supporter of River also, I was dying to get my hands on their black jersey with the Pokerstars logo, but I still don’t think it has been released.

  3. DanM

    indeed, i look forward to seeing one of those jerseys at the table someday. how funny would it be (maybe bad for business?) if you were going super deep in a big event and were basically letting full tilt know, sorry, i’m not interested … i walk with River and whoever they walk with!