Miguel Ángel Ochoa, president of the Association of the Entertainment and Gaming Industry (Aieja), reveals that there is a high interest from businessmen from Costa Rica, Panama, United States, Canada, France, Italy, Austria and Denmark to invest in the industry of games, bets and online and physical casinos in Mexico.
“I think that number can easily be between 100 and 150 investors from all over the world, who want to invest in Mexico,” he tells Forbes Mexico.
Among the investors interested in the Mexican market are some from Costa Rica, Panama, United States, Canada, France, Italy and South America, adds the businessman.
“I met with (investors) Austrians and Danes, because there is a lot of interest in investing in Mexico (in games and online bets),” says the representative of the casino industry.
As long as there is no legally established market in Mexico, investors think about it and if there is a high interest in games, raffles and online bets, he declares.
“I talked to some Hungarians in November 2023 in Miami, Florida, who wanted to invest in Mexico, so I recommended them the amparo and they said: How are we going to sue the Mexican government? We haven’t even entered and we are suing.”
Foreign businessmen “do not know the legal reality of Mexico, the amparo is the legal defense that we individuals have against the abuses of authority, which is the case,” says Miguel Ángel Ochoa.
And that’s where it’s hard to convince them, they don’t take risks or why they want to invest in Mexico, he adds.
Investors see the Mexican market as the anteroom of the United States, because 75 percent of the population living in South America, Central America and Mexico do not travel to the betting centers because they lack an American visa, details the business representative.
The climatic conditions of Mexico are benevolent compared to the Americans, for example today in Chicago, Boston, New York and Washington they have temperatures of minus 20 degrees Celsius. While Mexico registers cold, but with climates of between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius.
“Players want to play or buy something” and with the climates below zero it is complicated, he details.
Mexico is surrounded by seas, has vegetation, parks and ruins of Mexico that are very attractive for Europeans or Americans, but also South Americans or Central Americans, says Miguel Ángel Ochoa, who says they have won amparos to a decree published last year.
They win amparos against a decree of Segob
On November 16, 2023, the Ministry of the Interior (Segob) published a reform to the Law of Games and Raffles in Mexico, which contemplates that no new rooms will be opened nor will there be any new permit or new gaming machines or live gaming tables, bets and casinos that currently exist do not touch them.
The Law of Games and Raffles, which is from 1947 and has not been modified or had any reform in the 76 years it has been in existence. “In 1946 Miguel Alemán Valdés entered, as president of the Republic, the following year he modified the Constitution to monitor the gaming and raffle industry in Mexico,” he says.
“This law, which has not undergone any modifications in its 17 articles, does not consider anything of what there is today, since there were no machines, there were no live gaming tables, there was no Internet, there were no computers and there were no cell phones. Obviously that law is obsolete, but it is the one that is ruling today.”
“Until today no final amparo has been achieved yet, because it usually lasts three months and in some cases it can be up to a year (to achieve it)”, explains the president of the Aieja.
The 37 permit holders of games, raffles, bets and casinos filed an amparo against the decree published by the Ministry of the Interior: “I dare to think that the vast majority of them, that is, 35 have already achieved the provisional suspension and maybe half of the definitive suspension”.
“I am waiting for all the definitive suspensions that are missing to be obtained this month. Then yes, we will focus on the final process of the amparo, which in the best case we would have some resolution for March and April and in the worst case until November and December 2024”, he pointed out.
The suspensions obtained by the permit holders allow them to return to the state in which the casino business was before the publication of the decree by the Ministry of the Interior, he added.
“In this way, the permit holders (with the definitive and provisional amparo) can continue importing machines, offering services (of games, raffles and bets) to customers and continue doing everything that has happened before the publication of the decree of the Segob”, concludes Miguel Ángel Ochoa.