How does the online casino industry in Mexico compare to the UK?

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As of the end of 2019, the annual revenue from online casinos and gambling in Mexico was estimated at around US$2 billion. However, around 80% of online bets were made at unregulated sites, so this figure is likely to be a significant underestimate.

It’s interesting to compare this figure with revenue from the regulated market in the UK. The most recent data from this industry, from November 2021, revealed a gross gambling yield (GGY) of £6.9 billion (around US$8.4 billion). This yield is a lot higher than that in Mexico, even though Mexico has a population that is almost twice that of the UK.

The difference in yield from the online casino industries in both countries can partly be attributed to the varying legal situations. In Mexico, limited online gambling has been legally permitted since 2004, according to the Regulations of the Federal Games and Draws Law 20042.

The legality applies to some online sports betting, online poker, and online lotteries. These activities are run by specific companies that have links with land-based casino operators in the country. The Ministry of the Interior regulates operations in these areas. Other areas of online casino gambling are not regulated, so there remains a gray area in the country.

The legal situation in the UK is more complete. Online casinos are regulated and licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). Players can register with the GAMSTOP scheme, which allows them to self-exclude from all UKGC-licensed casinos if they feel the need to.

Some players in the UK prefer to play at offshore casinos not on gamstop that have fewer restrictions in place. Compare this situation to that in Mexico, where residents use offshore sites due to the lack of legal online casino play in the country. The fact that in both countries, people choose to play at offshore online casinos means that accurate yields from online betting are difficult to calculate.

However, we can predict that there is potential for further growth, especially in Mexico. In 2021, draft guidelines were published by the National Regeneration Movement concerning the Mexican gambling industry. Proposed regulations are yet to come to fruition. If these regulations are implemented, they could open the door for online casino providers to operate in the country, thereby increasing revenue potential.

Any changes that may happen in Mexico are uncertain. Whereas, in the UK, new gambling reforms have recently been announced. These reforms include new stake limits for online slots, frictionless player protection checks, extra powers to tackle black market operators, the prevention of bonus offers aimed at vulnerable people, further protections to prevent underage gambling, and the introduction of a new industry ombudsman.

Given the evolving online casino landscapes in both Mexico and the UK, there is great potential for change and growth. It will be interesting to revisit both industries in the coming years to examine the position in both and see the impact of any regulatory changes or other reforms.

Mexico Daily Post