President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has instructed his cabinet to investigate the casinos that have recently opened in Mexico, sparking discussions about the issue.
The president had previously stated several times that no new casino licenses would be granted in Mexico until further notice, a stance taken in 2019. Nevertheless, last year, a casino was opened in the La Chinesca neighborhood, and it was later discovered that two other venues were under construction in Mexicali, the capital of the state of Baja California. One of these salons opened its doors in March of this year.
During the morning press conference on Thursday, May 11th, the President addressed various concerns regarding gambling in Mexico. Mental health specialists have expressed worries about the addiction to gambling, games of chance, and online betting, especially when it is advertised in sports and television shows that children watch.
The President also noted that there are illegal slot machines near schools that are not being regulated by the Games and Sweepstakes Directorate, whose head is Manuel Marcué Díaz. There have been complaints of extortion by officials, such as Mr. Benavidez, who has been called to the prosecutor’s office to investigate these accusations.
Furthermore, the President mentioned that the Spanish company, Codere, which dominates the gambling industry, has complained about being extorted by officials of the Games and Sweepstakes Directorate. Despite his position in 2019 that there would be no new licenses for casinos, new casinos have opened in Monterrey and Guadalupe, Nuevo León, causing concern among specialists in that region.
The interlocutor remarked that the actions of the General Directorate of Games and Draws should be monitored and questioned why new permits for casinos are being granted, since it was previously understood that they would no longer be issued.
The Mexican President responded to the accusations by calling for the Secretary of the Interior to participate in the press conference on Friday the 12th, stating that it is important to clarify the situation. He reiterated that casino permits are not being granted and expressed concern about extortion. He also acknowledged the need for order in relation to online bets and games of chance in sports shows.