Garcia Santillan (LOTBA): “Legalization intends to defend the player”

Martin Garcia Santillan, president of Lottery of the City of Buenos Aires, considers as challenges to deepen the regulation of gaming throughout the national territory and enhance the role of Argentina as a regional leader in the activity. He also discusses the next steps of the City in iGaming licenses and anticipates that the Floating Casino will close in October.

Martin Garcia Santillan, president of the City of Buenos Aires Lottery.
Martin Garcia Santillan, president of the City of Buenos Aires Lottery.

How valuable is for LOTBA to integrate ALEA?

For the City of Buenos Aires, it is very positive. We have been part of ALEA for almost two years. We participate in different meetings and share experiences with entities from the rest of the country. Since 1996, the City is autonomous and we had not integrated a federal agency like this. We inherit a lot of National Lottery experience. In other aspects, we are new when it comes to gaming management. We are still in learning process.

What challenges do Argentine lotteries have ahead?

We have two challenges: one internal, which is very large, and another external. On the one hand, there are the difficulties of organizing ourselves as a country in terms of gaming and, on the other, keeping Argentina-s agenda up to date as a gaming regulator and its important international place in this industry. To this are added the policies to be adopted with operators, with Internet platforms and with all interested parties.

How to make an appropriate transition that allows convergence between land/based and online gaming in the country?

It is another great challenge to overcome. Online gaming in Argentina already exists. At this time, there are many gamblers in the country that only have illegal betting as an option in their jurisdictions. Therefore, it is essential to regulate iGaming and online betting. New methodologies and the insertion of other channels and tools for commercialization of the activity must be adopted. Legalization intends to defend the player and, especially, those most vulnerable to the influence of illegality.

In the near future, the City of Buenos Aires will have to resolve the end of the concession of the Floating Casino and the bidding of companies to implement the operation of online gaming in the territory. How can you move forward on both issues?

Remote gaming has already been approved in the City Legislature. That represents a huge responsibility for us: to start examining those interested who want to be offer its products and services in the City of Buenos Aires, as well as to see how can we articulate this with the rest of the jurisdictions. From the information we gather about the Spanish case, we know that the advance of online gaming does not impact the activity of land-based modality. The virtual offer is mainly aimed at a new betting public that demands the use of new technologies. Regarding the Floating Casino of Puerto Madero, its concession expires in October of this year and will close, while the Palermo Racecourse, with its thousands of slot machines, is licensed until 2032, so it will continue to operate.