Lottery agencies in Buenos Aires request SME consideration

The Chamber of Official Lottery Agencies of the City of Buenos Aires (CAOLBA) has formally requested the local Chief of Government, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, to include the lottery sector as a beneficiary to access loans at a 12% rate, just like medium-sized companies (SMEs).

The association argues that they’ve been “wrongly and unfairly” left out of the category and therefore cannot request a loan from Banco Ciudad.

As they’ve been forced to shut down their doors due to Buenos Aires deciding to go back to the phase 1 of its reopening process, the 1278 agencies operating in the jurisdiction say that they’re in a critical condition, which affects more than 4.000 families.

“We’re totally helpless, the agencies were closed for 55 days and now due to the new restrictions, they will be closed for another 17 days, without any income, aid, subsidy or loan from the State or the local government, despite generating income for both. Our lottery agencies should be considered SMEs, which is what they are.” said Diego D’Agostino, president of CAOLBA.

“The situation is desperate since we have no other income besides the commissions that we charge from the sale of LOTBA products, such as La Quiniela Poceada, Loto Plus, Loto 5 and Quini 6, among others.”

He added: “When we opened from May 14 to July 1, we did not even achieve 30% of the income that we usually do. This is land-based, and with our doors closed, there’s zero income and everything turns into debt.”

In addition, CAOLBA sent a letter to the SMEs Secretariat of the Ministry of Productive Development, requiring the modification of Resolution 340/2017, which set the exclusion of lottery agencies from the SMEs category and placed them as gambling operators.

María Martorello, CAOLBA secretary, explained: “It’s crazy, they placed us in the same category as large casinos and bingos, when we are mostly family businesses. We need to access that loan from Banco Ciudad.”

“There’s no reason for the agencies to not access the loans at a 12% rate, even though the previsions say that we’re not SMEs. We also ask the State and the City to come up with a special subsidy for our representatives to allow them to pay rents, taxes, salaries and services,” she added.

“We base our claims on the lack of protection to our activity, despite generating funds for the City of Buenos Aires, and supporting our businesses with our income,” she concluded.