Mexico bans slot machines, imposes new limits on casino licenses

MEXICO CITY – Mexico has issued a decree banning slot machines, and limiting the ability of casino permit holders to rent out or cede their permits to other operators.

Slot machines are known in Mexico as “tragamonedas,” Spanish for “coin swallowers.” They’ve proliferated in recent years to such an extent they crowd the sidewalks in front of corner stores. Coin-operated video and fair games are still allowed.

Mexico has been stung by repeated scandals involving casinos and casino permits. The new rules limit permits to 25 years, down from a previous total of as much as 40 years.

Permit holders had also been able to lease out their concessions to other operators, something that is banned under the new rules, which went into effect Thursday.