Mexican casinos? No time soon

I’m always reading that casinos in Mexico are just around the corner. Then, like a will o’ the wisp, they aren’t there when I turn the corner. According to one writer, we should expect more of the same in the future.

From Mexidata:

In recent years congressional hearings and committee votes have come and gone but no definite action has been taken one way or another, either by congress or by any sitting administration.

It would seem that as the gambling issue splits Mexican society, it also divides the bicameral legislature and the government. As with Presidents Zedillo and Salinas before him, Vicente Fox has avoided taking sides on the issue, a move that may seem popular and consistent to many of his fellow conservative National Action Party (PAN) members, but one that is unpopular with a number of the president�s pro-business supporters.

The issue is that after more than a decade of arguments for and against casino gambling in Mexico, no real headway has been made to resolve vital questions. For example, (1) what games will be allowed; (2) the criteria as to city selections � at either current resort areas or development projects; (3) the number of casinos per city; (4) will casinos be privately or publicly owned, will foreign capital be allowed, and if so what percentage; and (5) will the federal government oversee and regulate casinos, or will it buckle under to the states and their powerful National Governors Conference (CONAGO)?

As well, there are lingering concerns regarding who will name gaming commission members, and who will oversee and regulate casino operators and operations.

These were some of the questions raised during a 1995 casino-related meeting at Bahias de Huatulco, Oaxaca, sponsored by the Tourism Committee of the Chamber of Deputies. Yet while the deputies have since changed many of the questions remain and few people, if any, know the answers.

There are also issues of Mexican federalism. At the Huatulco forum the uninvited governor of Quintana Roo, Mario Villanueva, arrived and unceremoniously sat himself at the main table. Next he raised the issue of states versus federal regulation and control of casinos, this largely because he saw his state�s resort city of Cancun as a sure bet for a casino or two.

Casino gambling in Mexico – don’t bet on it

The writer succumbed to cliche and referred to the situation as a “Mexican standoff” in his closing line. That doesn’t mean anything, it’s just the kind of thing that I tend to notice.

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