October 10, 2008

Formoapuestas closes as Argentina debates egaming clampdown

Argentine online betting operator Formoapuestas has confirmed to eGaming Review it has been forced out of business by the sudden withdrawal of its licence by issuing authority Loteria Nacional.

Managing director Ignacio Aguero said the Loteria was yet to provide an explanation of its decision to revoke the licence with 12 of its 15-year term still remaining.

However, the news coincides with the Buenos Aires provincial government indicating it may be preparing a clampdown on online gaming, as its lower house debates a bill which would effectively outlaw all forms of remote gambling.

If introduced, the measures would require telecommunications providers to block access to all gambling sites and impose penalties on network providers and operators receiving bets from within the province.

The Loteria’s decision to issue a cessation order had taken everyone at the company by surprise, said Aguero. “This usually happens to companies that operate in grey areas. Formoapuestas has been working hard for years to comply with their rules and operate in a transparent and open way, so it was a great surprise to us,” he explained.

Aguero said he was now overseeing the winding down of the company’s operations, including negotiating its exit from a recently-signed agreement with Microgaming to provide Formoapuestas with a casino offering.

The operator has launched a legal challenge to the Loteria’s decision, but Aguero said that the likelihood of the process taking a minimum of two or three years to reach a conclusion had left the company with no option other than to cease trading with immediate effect.

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