La Ley del Juego - Interview of the Law of Game (LLDJ) to Alejandro Ortiz, President of Ortiz Gaming (ORTIZ), and to Helio Bueno, General Operations Director of Eibe (EIBE).
LLDJ: Briefly mention the main activities carried out by ORTIZ/EIBE in the games and sweepstakes sector in Mexico.
ORTIZ/EIBE: In Mexico, as in other countries of America, Europe and Asia, we participate as manufacturers and suppliers with our video bingo machines installed in our clients’ games and giveaways establishments (licensees and authorized operators and regulated by the competent authority); under the arrangement of leasing the hardware, software licenses and maintenance.
We have established our industrial facilities and offices in Mexico, and currently have close to 9,000 gaming machines installed across the country, and we have a team of hundreds of people to give the necessary support at the national level.
LLDJ: From your point of view, do you consider that in the last decade the Mexican game industry is an economic activity which has had legal security? How could the situation improve in the coming years?
ORTIZ/EIBE: The gaming industry is an economic activity like any other, and as such, it is necessary for the State to impose legal obligations (taxes, transparency, sanctions, accountability, etc.); however, this sector must also have legal security to encourage investment and a healthy growth.
It is worth mentioning that the conditions that we currently have in the legal framework of Mexico lend themselves to an excessive interpretation, which we consider very unfavorable to all the companies of this industrial sector, and to the Mexican society in general, seriously complicating the role of the authority, employers, participants, vulnerable groups, etc.
LLDJ: In general, how is ORTIZ/EIBE harmed by the illegal games?
ORTIZ/EIBE: Everything that is illegal is detrimental, not only to our companies, but to the industry in general, including of course, the participants of the games and raffles, who are the most important players in terms of reliability, security and legal guarantees.
Nor do we want to omit to mention, that the illegal game damages the Mexican State, because it does not receive the full payment of taxes that it is entitled to.
Therefore, illegality is harmful to the entire society.
LLDJ: In your opinion, what measures could be taken in Mexico to promote responsible gaming?
ORTIZ/EIBE: Through the creation of mechanisms that allow for identifying excessive play behavior that exceeds a reasonable and healthy entertainment.
In our experience as providers, we believe relevant to prohibit the granting of credit lines to participants when through these tend to encourage excessive and irresponsible game.
For entrepreneurs in the sector, is not good business that a participant has a negative effect on his person, family, work or heritage.
LLDJ: The positive political and economic environment currently affecting Mexico, makes it feasible that in the near future there will be a comprehensive reform to the gaming law. Briefly describe what changes ORTIZ/EIBE would like to see in case that reform is achieved.
ORTIZ/EIBE: We consider vital that we have a clear and transparent legal structure that does not leave anything to interpretation, and at the same time it will allow entrepreneurs to invest and to continue developing their businesses with guarantees of the law, blocking the path to the untrustworthy and illegals that do not contribute anything good to the country.
In our opinion, it would be imperative to respect the hierarchy between the different levels of Government (federal, state and municipal), through a fair share of profits generated by the industry.
Similarly, there needs to be a clear and concise definition regarding taxes, so that the entrepreneurs can make their business plans in a professional and logical way, i.e. with legal certainty.
LLDJ: Do you believe it important that to improve the regulation of gaming in Mexico it would be useful to take into account the experiences of other countries? In your case, mention other jurisdictions that could serve as an example for these purposes.
ORTIZ/EIBE: Examples of regulations of other countries are always good to improve what you have, and at the same time to avoid mistakes that have been committed in other places; always taking into account that each country has its own characteristics in its economy, demography, geography, tourism, among others, reason why laws could not be the same.
LLDJ: Finally, assuming that during 2014 Mexico can modernize and strengthen the legal framework for games and giveaways, in your opinion, do you think that Mexico could become one of the main markets in Latin America? Why?
ORTIZ/EIBE: Without any doubt the gaming industry in Mexico could double or even more - not only in quantity but also in quality - considering its geographical situation and the enormous potential it has in tourist areas, or even helping in the development of remote or underserved areas that would lessen poverty if they had important economic contributions.
In addition, we must mention the habits and customs of Mexicans, for whom entertainment and fun has a fundamental role in the dynamics and living from day to day.