Thursday, July 18, 2024

ARGENTINA | 07-10-2023 06:07

The power of gambling: Martín Insaurralde’s fall a body blow to bingo circles

Betting kingpins fear that their well-oiled mechanisms with Lottery chief Omar Galdurralde, who responds to the Lomas boss, will collapse. Why Axel Kicillof accepted him in his Cabinet.

Last weekend changed Martín Insaurralde’s political life forever, but his fall has unleashed a  tornado against everything the former Cabinet chief had in his power. In that sense, the key sector is gambling. 

At the helm of the Buenos Aires Provincial Lottery is Omar Galdurralde, placed there by Insaurralde in 2019 as soon as Axel Kicillof became governor. Over and above any key posts in the brand-new Cabinet, the master of Lomas demanded the leverage of gambling. The motives? His absolute proximity to the most important businessmen of the sector since he entered politics in the 1990s.

The companies were happy with Galdurralde’s entry. Companies like CODERE, Antonio Tabanelli (Boldt) and the big shots of bingo like Daniel Angelici, Daniel Mautone, Federico de Achával and Ricardo Benedicto had no real misgivings. After Insaurralde’s exit due to his  scandalous yacht outing in Marbella with Sofía Clérici, alarm bells began ringing throughout the activity.

Where did all the money for such a luxurious trip come? Among the five or more gaming operators with whom Perfil spoke, one in particular was blunt: "It could have come from any number of sectors. But the concrete thing is that now the spotlight is going to fall on us, blocking important bills to fight against illegal gambling and we’ll be the bad guys of the movie once again, having to start from scratch. We hope that somebody comes along who understands this issue."

Everybody thus assumes that Galdurralde’s time is almost up. If Kicillof wins on October 22, he will have to go. There was a strong rumour that the yacht belonged to a company linked to the sector although this was ruled out by related sources.

"The polítics of Buenos Aires can forgive you for being a crook, paying bribes or being a son of a bitch but not for being an idiot," said one of those sources while venturing "new horizons in our relationship with Axel’s government."

Concretely, the governor did not want to hand over the Provincial Lottery to Insaurralde but ended up yielding although it never became clear. why. The governor’s aides breathed sighs of relief after his refusal to adjudicate casinos whose tenders had been left pending by María Eugenia Vidal and which Galdurralde unsuccessfully sought to approve.

Last Wednesday afternoon Lomas de Zamora federal Sergio Mola accused Insaurralde of money-laundering and called for his assets to be frozen, extending both moves to the model Sofía Clerici, the Lomas de Zamora mayor’s Marbella companion.

According to Noticias Argentinas news agency, Mola also asked that both Insaurralde and Clerici be forbidden to leave the country in the case already launched last weekend by the lawyer Gastón Marano, who denounced the Peronist leader for tax evasion at the Lomas de Zamora federal courtroom on account of the spending in his luxurious trip to Marbella, entirely incompatible with his sworn statement of assets.

Ramón Indart

Ramón Indart


More in (in spanish)