5 Cool Facts About Gambling in Argentina and Its History

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Gambling in Argentina

When it comes to the origins of gambling in many places across the globe, Europe is usually responsible. The Roman Empire has had a great influence on many cultures and the types of gambling they engage in.

The same can be said about the Spaniards. They are responsible for the spread of Western culture throughout much of the world, and gambling is no exception. The origins of gambling in Argentina tell quite the story.

Let’s take a look at what happened before the founding of Argentina to see how the gambling culture has evolved and where it stands today.

Here are five facts about the history and current gambling climate in Argentina.

1 – Games of Chance Made Their Way From China to Argentina

Games of chance have been around for a long time and are still very popular today. Much of their beginnings can be traced back to China. Games of chance were and still are a way for people to have fun while gambling without having to put a lot of serious thought into the game itself.

Such games allow players to have their dance with Lady Luck and see how they fare against her. As early as 500 B.C. in China, there were monetary bets made on races and fights that included both humans and animals.

Next, along with the invention of paper came the first card games in China. Card games of chance became extremely popular. If we fast forward to the Middle Ages in Europe, complex games of chance were thriving, however, only the noble took part in these games as they had vast amounts of free time due to their wealth.

When it came to the average civilians, dice was the game to play. In the 1400s, the printing press was invented, and card games soon followed and made their way to the poorer class of people. The ending of the feudal system brought about more gambling among people of all different classes.

Casinos then came into existence during the Renaissance. These games of chance eventually reached Spain and, from Spain, they were brought to Argentina. These games were very popular among soldiers and provided a way to be social, have a good time, and potentially make some extra money.

Although the men of arms had fun playing these games, they were taken very seriously. Truco became one of the most popular card games in the history of Argentina and cheating happened frequently while playing this game.

Violence often ensued, and this led to the attempted prohibition of such games; however, the attempt was largely unsuccessful. Other games that existed in early Argentinian history were roulette, billiards, lottery, rings, dominoes, and dice.

2 – Turf and Soccer Gained Popularity in the 19th Century

Turf is a term that refers to horse racing which was very popular towards the end of the 19th century.  It was the most popular form of legal sports betting at that time. This type of betting was once again mainly enjoyed by nobles and wealthy merchants.

  • In 1882, the Buenos Aires Jockey Club was established, and this was a huge event that established horse racing as one of the true loves of the betting community in Argentina. Horse racing is still a huge part of the gambling culture in Argentina today. But as much as Argentinians love horse racing, they have an equal passion for soccer.
  • In 1867, the first South American football game took place and the sport has only gained popularity over the years. Soccer quickly became the most popular sport to bet on in Argentina and this is definitely true today.

Sports quiniela is also extremely popular in modern-day Argentina. Originally known as parimutuel betting, quiniela involves betting on multiple outcomes usually within a lottery.

3 – Land-Based Casinos in Argentina Took off in the 1990s

The 1990s marks the first time that licenses were granted to land-based casinos in Argentina. Even though that was not too long ago, the rise of casinos since that time in Argentina is astonishing. However, there are no federal laws about gambling, and there is no one official authority of gambling in Argentina.

Much like Germany, each individual province in Argentina regulates their own gambling activities. There are currently over 170 gambling facilities in Argentina, and casinos are mostly responsible for the 4 billion dollars annually generated by gambling in Argentina.

Most cities in Argentina only have one casino but some cities do host multiple casinos. These cities are: Chajari, Ciudad de San Luis, Colon, Comodoro Rivadavia, Corrientes, La Punta, Mar del Plata, Mendoza, Parana, Posadas, Puerto Madryn, Rosario de la Frontera, San Carlos de Bariloche, among some others.

The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, has the most gambling facilities with more than 10 casinos. The largest casino in Buenos Aires is Casino Buenos Aires.

With over 1,300 gaming machines, 120 table games, and over 25 table games, Casino Buenos Aires is one of the most popular casinos in all of South America. The largest casino in all of Argentina is the Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo. This casino is also the oldest in Argentina, and there are more than 4,000 slot machines at this venue.

Although casinos are extremely popular, other types of gaming locations are also very prevalent such as bingo halls, betting shops, and race tracks.

4 – A 2018 Bill Allows Online Gambling in Buenos Aires

In December of 2018, Decree 181 was approved in Buenos Aires which permits online gambling. Buenos Aires was the first city in Argentina to legalize real money online gambling. Just like other gambling activities in Argentina, the regulation of online gambling is left up to each individual region.

With Buenos Aires taking the lead, there is a high probability that the other areas of Argentina will soon follow in their footsteps. As far as Buenos Aires is concerned, the Buenos Aires Provincial Institute of Lottery and Casinos regulates online gambling.

Online licenses are limited to one per operator, and there are 20 different requirements operators must meet to secure a license. Marketing plans must be well thought out and can’t target minors. Sportsbooks, virtual sports gambling, online slots, and other online casino games are permitted by Decree 181.

5 – There Are Many Great Sights to See in Buenos Aires

Along with being the hottest spot to gamble in Argentina, Buenos Aires has so many cool things to see and do besides hanging the action at casinos.

  • The Cementerio de la Chacarita is a necropolis from the 19th century and is the final resting place for some of the most famous artists from Buenos Aires. The grave of Eva Peron is one of the most popular tourist attractions at the Cementerio de la Chacarita. A former First Lady of Argentina, her story has been made popular through musicals like “Evita” and Madonna’s film version of the same name.
  • If you are looking for a cool bar to visit, Bar Isabel is the ultimate nightlife destination, with an amazing vibe and a very stylish decor. You are going to need to dress up to go to Bar Isabel, as the door staff will not let you in if you are not appropriately dressed. You can also enjoy great caviar and sushi here.
  • El Ateneo Grand Splendid is a 99-year-old structure that is now a huge bookstore but was originally a grand theatre. There is still a theatre venue here where you can enjoy some great live piano while perusing their vast book collection.
  • You will surely want to eat at one of Buenos Aires’ steakhouses, known as a parrilla. The types of parrillas vary as they can be in the form of a street vendor or a five-star dining experience. The vast types of meat available at these parrillas will have your mouth watering.
  • La Cabrera is one of the nicest parillas in all of Buenos Aires. And if you are looking for a great parrilla street vendor, check out Parrilla Mi Sueno.

These are just a few of the awesome things you can do when you are taking a break from playing at any of the great casinos in Buenos Aires.


South Americans love to gamble, and this is especially true when it comes to Argentinians.

With casinos and sports betting being so popular, it is the hope of many people in Argentina that the availability of online gambling will grow as well.

Did you enjoy reading about the history of gambling in Argentina? If so, let me know in the comments.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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