Casinos and gambling in Mexico

History of gambling in Mexico has been  eventful, as a matter of fact legal situation there is not fully settled. Until now in Mexico old gambling law from 1947 is in force, although in 2004 changes to it have been made it still is not adequate to the cur



History of casinos in Mexico

Gambling in Mexico has very long and at the same time tangled history. Depending on succeeding governances, situation was constantly changing and regulations regarding gambling were either tightened up or milden. At the beginning of the 20th century, after the Mexican Revolution, all casinos in the country were closed. Catholic church contributed to limiting gambling by building pressure to spread ban on all forms of gambling on a contemporaneous president, Lazaro Cardensasie. However in an act from 1947 lotteries and sports booking were admitted. Only in 2004 president Vincente Fox decided to liberalize gambling law. Control over is was taken by Ministry of Home Affairs which was giving out new licences right away. Change in the law contributed to many new casinos developing as well as plans to open new ones in the future. Law, even though changed, does not resemble reality and currently government is working to form new regulations.

“Forbes”  forecasts that from 2018 gambling industry in Mexico may note an increase of as much as 70%, in addition more than 300 new casinos may be formed.

Legal regulations
Legal status regarding gambling in Mexico is still an open topic. As of now a law enforced on December 31th 1947, which entered in force on January 5th 1948, applies. In 2004 Secretaria de Gobernacion (Ministry of Home Affairs) has introduced some changes, which led casino operators to obtain licences, this law keeps on failing though. Casinos are embargoed (for instance in 2013 a ban on using slot machines was introduced). In order to systemize and and ameliorate the law, government plans to introduce new reform regarding gambling. Work on the new law which will replace the one from 1947 with amendments from 2004 is in progress. The plan is to create State Gaming Commission, which will supervise licensing, regulating and  enforcing law. New bill will replace outdated regulations, which are not adequate to the current gambling situation in Mexico.

Until now, in Mexico applies a gambling law from 1947. However after almost 70 years it does not reflect reality, even though some changes were made in 2004 it is still out of date. That is why currently, works on a completely new law are going on.

When, where and what to play in Mexican casinos
Currently there are about 400 casinos and game rooms in Mexico, however because of frequent limitations given out by the government, availability of games in them varies (for instance embargo on card games, or ban on slot machines from 2013). Casinos are opened 24/7. Places where one can gamble are located throughout the whole country, when it comes to bigger gambling facilities, they are located around the biggest cities.

Ministry of Home Affairs states that currently in Mexico there are 409 registered casinos (2013). The highest number of registered casinos is located in Monterrey in Nuevo Leon state - there are 25 casinos there.

Cities in which land based casinos are located:

  • Acapulco
  • Cancun
  • Chihuahua
  • Cordoba
  • Hermosillo
  • Leon
  • Mexico City
  • Monterrey
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Tijuana


History of online casinos in Mexico

Mexican online gambling market is one of the fastest growing markets in Latin America. Until now government have not given many licences to casinos, that is why their choice is little. Moreover, casinos licensed by Mexican government are available only to overseas players. Mexican citizens however have access to many offshore websites offering online casinos, which are not blocked by Mexican government. Foreign-owned casino’s websites are available to players from Mexico in Spanish and English language, accepted currencies include Mexican peso and American dollar.

Even though Mexican gambling market is the fastest one developing in Latin America, there were not many licences given out to the casinos, in addition players from Mexico cannot use local online casinos. In order to play in online casinos they choose overseas websites.

Legal regulations
Decree introduced in 2004 has slightly liberated outdated gambling law from 1947, however casinos online are legally operating in Mexico since 2007. The government gives licences to casinos, but very rarely, that is why there are not many of them. In addition Mexico citizens cannot use them, and they are using overseas online casinos’ websites.


Violent bloodletting of drug gangs in Casino Royale, Monterrey

Casinos are key places in Mexico used by drug cartel to money laundering. Many of the casinos are attacks if their owners do not pay protection money. Brutal terrorist attack led by 12 members of Los Zetas, which took place on August 25th 2011 in Monterrey proves it. The aim of the attack was Casino Royale, aggressors invaded it and opened fire towards casino guests. Terrorists were keeping 35 hostages for few hours before Mexican forces came in. Altogether 52 people were killed in the attack including few women, one of them was pregnant. Even though it was not a first attack on this casino, it was said to be the most brutal and bloody attack in the history of Monterrey and the whole state Nuevo Leon. After this attack president, Felipe Calderón declared 3 days of national mourning.