Games of chance are currently prohibited in Guatemala, with the exception of authorized lotteries. However, though prohibited, they are still played and represent approximately $125,000 worth of annual money laundering, says Rosa María de Frade, member of the Guatemalan Economy Committee according to an article by Suseth Casasola in Sigloxxi.com.
The proposal is controversial. Government minister Carlos Menocal commented that, "this cannot be allowed to happen; I am not familiar with the project or who is proposing it but games of chance are dangerous and violent".
The project's leader is Mariano Rayo, president of congress's Economy Committee, who explained that the motives are to regulate and control the industry, which the US Treasury claims is related to money laundering for $1.5 billion.
New regulations have been published in the Official Gazette, and will come into effect in December.
The new law creates a regulatory framework for casinos, gaming/slot machines halls and establishes the creation of a governing body for the sector.
"The law states that the enforcement authority is the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (Intur), through a department of casinos and games to be created when the legislation comes into effect and which will be governed by the Board of Intur."
The Law Project that regulates bets, casinos and other gambling games was presented at the Congress.
The activity will have a 2% tax over gross revenue, and will have to be declared and payed among the first 10 days every month.
Aditionally, "...each casino or gambling house will have to obtain an operations license, issued by the National Regulatory Comission of bets and gambling games", according to La Prensa Libre in its website.