Argentina introduces rules on promotions

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BUENOS AIRES -- A new law has been passed in Argentina to regulate prize-winning, raffles and promotional activities in general. Its impact is still not clear as the government will take a further 60 days to ratify the new regulation.

The new bill refers to companies running sweepstakes or competitions whose winners are chosen randomly and states that they should seek prior permission from the National Lottery.

According to Juan Pablo Jurado, president of the Stopromotion agency, the bill will "greatly complicate the nature of contests, not only those via telephone.

"In theory, any new promotion will need permission from the National Lottery," he says. "In reality, we will have to wait and see how the bill is actually passed. What needs to be clarified is what constitutes gambling."

The second part of the bill deals mainly with the use of phone-in TV games, competitions by post, and mechanical or electronic means of selecting winners. It is also concerned with competitions in which players win by correctly predicting the outcome of a future event.

Jorge Castrillon of the Smith Group thinks the bill "leaves much to uncertainty."

The local Loteria de Beneficia y Casinos (National Charities and Gaming Agency) has exclusivity on gambling in Argentina and "this new wave of TV promotional activity is in direct competition with the agency monopoly on gambling," he says. "What we see now is not promotion. Promotion has been caught up in the middle of this latest debate over gaming. What the government is seeking to do is impose some kind of tax on what is considered gaming".

Copyright June 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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