Casino employees go on strike in opposition to online gaming in Uruguay

The traditional land-based casino industry is unhappy with the fact that Uruguay is in the process of legalizing online casinos. It succeeded in persuading its workforce to begin a strike on Thursday in opposition to the development of gambling.

The South American nation, which has been considering the legalization of online gambling for some time now, has at last moved forward with its plans to implement the measure. The National Federation of Gambling Workers (Fenaju), a local union representing those who work in the gambling industry, is concerned that the legalization of iGaming may attract an excessive number of people to the digital sector.

According to the union’s statement, it is of the opinion that online gaming is far more likely to become addictive, which may have negative effects on public health.

Approximately 3,500 different workers are members of the federation. Notably, the outcome of this strike will be the inevitable cancellation of several lottery draws. This is a strategy that the industry will use to further convey its position.

Furthermore, Fenaju stressed how frequently the online gaming industry is used as a means of money laundering. It was stated that iGaming is more difficult to effectively control, which could lead to an increase in the number of instances of fraud.

Last but not least, the union is concerned that the digital industry would significantly cut into its revenue. The Uruguayans are concerned that online gambling businesses will steal their customers because online gambling is more prevalent in many locations where traditional casino gambling and iGaming are both authorized.

On Wednesday, representatives from the union testified in front of the Budget Committee of the Chamber of Deputies. They expressed their worries regarding online gambling, dredging up the same points that other countries have used in an effort to prevent the spread of the industry.

During a meeting that took place on Wednesday, experts proposing the new bill were there to justify the motion. In preparation to move forward, Uruguay has barred access to over 1,500 online betting sites that are based in foreign countries but operate in Uruguay.

In spite of the opposition presented by the union, it is highly improbable that Uruguay will reverse its mind. On the other hand, the head of the Directorate General of Casinos, Gustavo Anselmi, acknowledged that the union may be correct in its argument on compulsive gambling. He stated that the legalization will go forward as expected, but he emphasized that people should use it responsibly once it is legalized.

Anselmi also noted that a means of handling problem gambling is not by barring online gaming but by getting medical attention. Referring to a report from Hospital de Clnicas that stated in 2021 approximately 100 people were treated for addiction to gambling. He added that the number of people receiving treatment for gambling addiction was approximately 100.

“Gambling is a disease and must be treated by public health,” he said.

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