Argentina sets out action plan to reduce youth gambling

Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies has started discussions on stricter gambling regulations following reports of increased engagement from minors.

Efforts to curb minor participation in gambling and sports betting on a national level began during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the country launched its regulated online gambling market.

SBC Noticias reports that recent legislative talks focus on limiting the sector’s appeal among young people and those who have self-excluded themselves.

Lawmakers have presented 11 different legislative projects to the Argentinian Addiction Prevention Commission, led by the Chamber of Deputies. The next step involves commissioning field studies to assess their impact and requesting testimonies from various sports clubs and the Argentine Football Association (AFA).

Eduardo Toniolli, a member of the Chamber of Deputies and a key figure in the debates, vocally supports a ‘mass advertising prohibition.’ He believes it negatively affects social relations and the mental health of young people.

Toniolli emphasized, “The growth of platforms that turn each cell phone into a potential casino is a problem that must be addressed now.”

He stated, “While compulsive gambling is not only a matter of youth, it is in that age group where the consequences are most visible. We want to start building a strong agreement to combat digital gambling addiction, starting with a firm stance: not with the kids.”

The educational sector supports the Deputy’s comments on gambling’s effects on youth. Both parents and teachers report signs of online gambling addiction among children and students, according to SBC Noticias.

Recently, Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital, implemented a law blocking access to all online gambling and betting platforms through public school WiFi networks to address these complaints.

However, the problem primarily involves offshore platforms without a license to operate in the country. These platforms circumvent advertising restrictions and infiltrate Argentine society with their illegal offerings.

To tackle this issue further, Mónica Frade, President of the Addiction Prevention Commission, has scheduled a meeting for June 11. The meeting will involve the Criminal Legislation, Communications and Informatics, and Social Action and Public Health commissions to discuss potential actions.