Legal Updates in Online Gambling: Mexico
Gaming laws across the planet are in a constant state of change as governments and private businesses hustle to grab revenues wherever they can. To help our readers keep up with these developments, CAP is taking a closer look at the current state of iGaming in a number of key markets including Germany, Sweden, and South Korea. This week we’re looking at an often overlooked corner of the gaming market, Mexico.
In the rush to take advantage of newly opened gaming markets in Europe, Asia and, possibly, North America, one country has been seriously overlooked, Mexico. The Mexican gaming market is big and has plenty of potential to grow bigger. But there are a few perils in Mexico, too.
Despite its reputation as an anything goes vacation spot, Mexico is actually a very conservative country. Thanks to pressure from the powerful Catholic Church, most forms of were banned outright in 1947. But that ban has eroded slowly over the years and many forms of lotteries and sports betting have been tolerated for decades.
In 2004, the Mexican Government liberalized gaming laws and issued 200 licenses to betting parlors, bingo halls and a few casinos. Most of these licenses were grabbed up by Mexican television behemoth Televisa. Online gaming was added to the roster of legalized Mexican gambling in 2007.
Today, the Mexican market is second only to Brazil in Central/South American gaming revenues and is believed to be around the $3.5-$4 billion range.
Like this article? Check out these other articles about Latin America:
Latin America & South America Opportunities for Casino Affiliates
Create More Player Conversions in Latin America
Latin America: Online Gambling Challenges
Online Sports Betting in Latin America
The biggest challenges for affiliates looking to break into the Mexican gaming market are Internet access and poverty. Mexico is country of around 114 million people, but it’s dominated by huge rural areas with limited infrastructure. In fact, only around 35 million Mexicans have Internet access. The average household income there is around $40,000 but that number is skewed by a huge numbers of poor people and a small but very wealthy upper class. But that doesn’t mean the Mexican market isn’t good for iGaming.
Mexicans have embraced cell phone technology and, as of 2010, there were over 91 million cell phone users in the country. As is the case in many other underdeveloped areas, rural and low income Mexicans are using smart phones as an affordable means obtaining Internet access. This means mobile gaming could grab hold here in a big way.
Mexico for Affiliates
Spanish speaking affiliates, especially those who understand Mexican culture, could do very well in this market but that’s a bit of a gamble on its own. Mexican gaming regulations are extremely vague and the Mexican Government isn’t exactly known for efficiency. One columnist astutely pointed out that there’s a reason American casino chains like Caesars and Sands are operating in places like Macau, and not in Mexico.
It’s also expected that Mexican iGaming could take a serious hit if online poker is legalized in the United States.
Do you have any experience with gaming in Mexico? Tell us about it in our General Discussion Forum.