Buenos Aires makes debit card U-turn following approval opposition

The Province of Buenos Aires’ local government has made a u-turn on the decision to use debit cards in gaming halls, a week after its initial approval. 

The move to void the resolution came after rising concerns surrounding problem gaming within Argentina’s biggest jurisdiction.

Resolution 693, published in the Official Gazette this Wednesday, establishes the suspension of the previous approval signed on March 16, “until the authorised gaming halls in the province solve the operational issues around the implementation [of the debit cards].”

Published at the beginning of April, the now cancelled measures authorised the use of debit cards in casinos, bingo halls, racecourse, and betting agencies. 

Originally, the government believed that these payments would help fight tax evasion and money laundering in gaming halls. Moreover, it was suggested that the use of debit cards would prevent “economic benefits from social plans or programmes” from being used as funds, leading to debit cards linked to social benefits not being allowed to bet.

However, the decision quickly raised concerns and prompted mass rejection among opposition groups and even within the ruling party, which decided to suspend the implementation.

The new resolution states that this annulment will be in place “until the operational issues are resolved”, which leads to Buenos Aires opening the door to electronic payments in the future.

“Bingo halls in the province made a presentation in which they expressed the need to have a reasonable timeframe to comply with the obligations in the administrative resolution,” the resolution reads.

It also adds that businesses based their request on the fact that the implementation of the debit cards requires “a reconditioning” of the cashier kiosks, which would need to incorporate “new accounting administrative processes” to train third-party contractors and other procedures to monitor the use of debit cards.