|Recently there have been reports that Mexico is about to legalize casino gambling, to pull in tourist dollars. According to a senior Mexican government official, the rumours are just that – rumours.|
Last Wednesday, a high-ranking official said that the Mexican government has no intention of legalizing casino-style gambling.
Instead, the government plans to eliminate or regulate various types of illegal gambling, said Jorge Urdapilleta Nunez, a federal deputy of the Partido Accion Nacional (PAN), the ruling national party.
Legislation reportedly making its way through the Mexican Congress would allow over a dozen casinos to be built at Mexican tourist destinations such as Acapulco and border cities, including Tijuana.
The proposal being considered in Mexico's house of representatives would amend a 55-year-old law that prohibits most forms of gambling. Despite its gambling’s illegal status in Mexico, the country has an estimated $500 million-a-year gambling industry including sports betting, horse racing, cockfights and casinos.
The Mexican Chamber of Commerce has estimated legal casinos could attract another 11 million visitors to Mexico annually.
No vote has been scheduled on the proposal and, if approved, it would be sent to the Senate for a vote and would have to be signed into law by President Vicente Fox.