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Mexico – Deputy calls for stricter controls over Sonora gaming

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The representative for the Mexican state of Sonora and member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) Emeterio Ochoa Bazua, has urged the municipalities of the region to issue stricter regulations in order to regulate the granting of gaming licences.

The lawmaker said that in Sonora, which is located in the northwest of the country, and borders with the United States, there are currently 31 gambling halls, meaning that it is the sixth Mexican state when it comes to the number of gaming halls per state. In proportion to its population, it now has the highest rate of casinos with around one gambling house per one hundred thousand inhabitants.

“It is a problem that we have in our society. If you pass by one of those establishments at 8:00 in the morning you can already see a row of people waiting to enter the place,” said Ochoa Bazúa. “The law we have in Sonora says that these establishments should run for no more than 12 hours,” he added, “starting from 3:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., which obviously is something that is not being adhered to.”

He went onto say that due to the need to stop gambling addiction that the municipalities where these establishments are located should issue new regulations when it comes to licenses, permits and municipal authorisations for gaming halls and stressed that the State Congress had asked the municipal council to make new regulations based on gaming laws which were passed in 2013. One of the main points dictated by this initiative is to regulate opening times so that casinos may not operate for more than 11 hours.

His calls for reform come at a time when a number of other lawmakers are making major changes to local gaming laws at a state level. In March the mayor of Monterrey Adrián de la Garza Santos told fellow lawmakers that no casino licences had been granted during his term of office. The mayor said that casinos had been blocked from opening during his administration via a specific impediment that allows local authorities to intervene to ensure that they do not open.

Meanwhile in June the Parliament of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas approved legal reforms which prohibit the installation of any more casinos or gambling centres. With 31 votes in favour and 4 against lawmakers approved the full bill put forward by Governor Francisco Garcia Cabeza de Vaca and endorsed the decree which would affect all 43 municipalities in the state.

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