Uruguay: Chamber of Deputies postpones debate on online gambling bill until March 2024

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Aside from the bill presented by the senator of the Uruguayan National Party Sergio Botana to regulate the activity of slot machines, Uruguay does not have any law regulating online gambling, despite the overall consensus of its necessity.

Since August 2022, the Finance Committee of Deputies has been studying a bill approved by the Senate which introduces modifications to the regulation presented by the Executive Power in November 2021. This bill seeks to legalize and regulate online gambling by the General Directorate of Casinos and private parties.

Juan Martín Rodríguez, a member of the Commission, commented that in the lower chamber, they consider that “the best proposal is that of the Executive Branch” but, since the Senate’s proposal had been voted unanimously, it was decided to “work on a specific modification” of the 10 articles that made up this second one. 

Both projects differ in that the one presented by the Executive Branch did not consider assistance to gambling addicts, something that was added in 2022 by the Senate.

The change proposed by the Chamber of Deputies refers to the article that enables the profit on online gambling only when the investors finish the works in a physical place where a casino must operate. Now it is sought to establish a graduality to determine when internet gambling can be operated by a private company established in the country. 

According to the deputies’ proposal, when a percentage of investment is reached, which may range from 20% in some cases to 50% in others, the generation of resources through online casinos may begin.

In any case, and in spite of the refusal of the National Party, in the session on Wednesday, December 20, it was decided to postpone the discussion until the first session of March of next year in the House of Representatives, due to the lack of agreements within the Treasury. 

“In our country, there is no legislation on the matter and that causes that many times there is another type of online gambling not legislated or not regulated, we as legislators have to aim that all economic activity is done under the protection of the law”, Rodríguez concluded.

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