Loteria de Rio Negro, the regulatory body in the Argentine province of Rio Negro, has reportedly issued a first internet gaming licence to Casinos del Rio.
Casinos del Rio operates casinos in the province and has entered into a contract with Vivo Interactive to supply its live dealer software and gaming platform to run the delrionline.com site. The website offers live dealer games, online slots and table games.
Customers will be able to register and make deposits and withdrawals for their online gaming account at Casinos del Rio’s seven properties located in the province. Customers will then be able to gamble either from terminals located on the casino floor or login via the website from the comfort of their own home (delrionline.com).
What is not clear is how far the remit of the licence issued by Loteria de Rio Negro extends. The population of the province of Rio Negro is only around 700,000 people.
There have been several previous attempts in Argentina to issue internet gambling licences and they make a cautionary tale.
Between 2006 and 2010 the likes of Victor Chandler and Bwin took licences in the province of Misiones. But it was ruled by judges in Buenos Aires that the companies’ licences were not valid outside of the state of Misiones and that residents of Buenos Aires should not be allowed to gamble on these websites. Misiones itself only has a population of 1.2 million people, so was not a particularly attractive to operators as a market in itself.
The real prize in Argentina is access to the province of Buenos Aires and the metropolitan area around the capital. Some 15.7 million people live in the province of Buenos Aires.
Unlike Victor Chandler and Bwin, with seven existing casinos and other properties, Casinos del Rio has more to risk if its internet gambling operations caused political and regulatory problems across Argentina. The company must feel it is a risk worth taking.
Read more about gambling in South America in GBGC’s Global Gambling Report.