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Ecuador’s Casino Conundrum: Proposal to Lift Gambling Ban Drops from President’s Referendum



Daniel Noboa, President of Ecuador

A Revelation of Shifting Priorities: Ecuador’s Decision on Casino Reopening

In a surprising turn of events, Ecuador’s government initially included a proposal to resume gambling and reopen casinos in a referendum submitted to the Constitutional Court at the start of 2024. However, this proposal has been notably omitted from the final list of questions, marking a significant shift in priorities.

The Decade-Long Gambling Ban

Ecuador has maintained a strict ban on gambling since 2011, following a popular consultation conducted during the tenure of then-President Rafael Correa. In a parallel move, the current president, Noboa, had sought to reintroduce gambling through a similar referendum.

The Vanished Casino Question

Out of the eleven questions submitted to the Constitutional Court, the one pertaining to the potential revival of casinos and gambling establishments is conspicuously absent. President Noboa’s decision to exclude this topic stems from concerns over rising violence and its incompatibility with the ongoing national debate.

Realigning Focus Amid Concerns

The remaining questions in the referendum address crucial matters such as security, the battle against organized crime and drug trafficking, justice, and the nation’s economy. President Noboa’s reversal on the casino issue came after mounting pressure from various political factions.


Countering Money Laundering Fears

There were fears that reopening casinos might inadvertently facilitate money laundering operations conducted by drug trafficking syndicates. In a statement from the Communication Secretariat of the Presidency, President Noboa emphasized the need for citizen discourse to center on peace restoration, countering terrorist groups, strengthening state institutions, and job creation.

The Economic Fallout

The initial intent behind reopening casinos was to potentially recover a significant portion of the 25,000 jobs lost since the closure of Ecuador’s 160 gambling halls in 2011. However, these economic considerations have taken a backseat to the pressing concerns related to security and organized crime.

The decision not to pursue the reopening of casinos underscores the delicate balance that governments must strike between economic recovery and public safety in the face of complex challenges.


Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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