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Casino watch 080204 news

July 31, 2004


Casino legislation news


In the July 2004 edition of La Nación, the official magazine of the National Action Party (PAN), an opinion piece in opposition to casinos in Mexico was published.  Salvador I. Reding Vidaña (identified elsewhere as a Mexican economist and political analyst) authored the criticism titled “Casinos: More damages than benefits.”


Reding claims that the proposed reforms to Mexico’s 1947 gaming laws that would allow casinos, amendments that are part of the legislation now in committee in the Chamber of Deputies, would cause “our country to have higher crime and new social problems” in the future.


Calling the lobbying in favor of casinos that has been taking place one-sided, Reding charges that “social, economic and crime related problems that casinos would bring to the country” have not been discussed by the Congress or in public hearings.  This is very serious, he says, as evidence shows that casinos cause social problems and bring about crime such as money laundering, prostitution, drug trafficking and theft.


The article names a number of other problems and vices the author associates with casinos, whereas he concludes by saying it would be irresponsible for Congress to pass the proposed legislation without further studies and assessment.


While La Nación is the PAN’s official magazine, this appears to be an opinion piece of the author vis-à-vis an official position of the party?



Sidebar to the above, during a social event in late July a PAN member of the Chamber of Deputies was asked about the status of the casino debate?  (It should be noted that he is not a member of any of the congressional committees now reviewing the proposals.)  While the deputy knew little about the progress of the public hearings that are just concluding, he did offer one interesting note.


According to the congressman, the PAN delegation in the Chamber of Deputies has yet to internally debate the casino bill.  He said, that to his knowledge, the party’s congressional leadership would not even schedule such a discussion until after Congress returns from its current recess on September 1.


Asked if he thinks party deputies will support the legislation, the legislator said it has a chance of gaining a PAN majority, although he noted that there is still opposition to casinos which will make the intra-party congressional debate — and the posture of the PAN itself — especially important.


He was unable to even speculate on the positions of the other parties in Congress.



         Compiled and with commentary by B. Thompson