With the holiday season on top of us, not only in most European countries but also in some South American ones including to Brazil, the gaming bills dance continues with projects at both legislating houses. It now seems that one or other Special Gaming Commission may have had one voting postponement too many, seeing the much needed gaming legislation process stalled again causing uncertainty to any gaming plans in this great country.
We report below on the latest situation of gaming legislation in Brazil up to the third week of July. We hope that after we go to print something will have been done by either representatives or senators so that by the time you read this we are all celebrating like a wonder goal in the glory days of jogo bonito at Maracanã Stadium,
The next edition of Casino International Americano, September/October, will bring a special section on Latin America Online Gaming as the market begins to open up in the region and online gaming suppliers are neither short of world-class products nor slow to make inroads into the market.
BRAZIL – Representatives cancel voting on casino law
The Chairman of the Special Gaming Regulatory Commission, Rep. Elmar Nascimento, cancelled the session set for the morning of July13th to debate and vote on the report by Rep. Guilherme Mussi. The report began to be debated last week, when three other representatives presented alternatives proposed for Mussi’s report.
Upon cancellation of the morning session, there was agreement on a complementary report to be added by Rep. Mussi, with adjustments and expansion of his original report. The next Session of the Special Commission is yet to be scheduled but will now take place after the parliamentary recess, which is due in two weeks’ time.
Senate should vote on gaming legislation at the end of August
The Representatives’ decision followed the Upper House cancellation of the Tuesday 12th voting session on Gaming legislation, after Senator Fernando Bezerra Coelho requested the withdrawal of the voting session of the Bill that legalizes the operation of casinos, bingos, Jogo do bicho and video games (PLS 186/2014).
The author of bill PLS 186/2014, Senator Ciro Nogueira, agreed to postpone the senate voting but asked Senator Bezerra to try to deliver the material ready for vote by the end of July, so that the Senate can read and analyse the bill proposal in the first week of August. Senator Magno Malta took the opportunity to reiterate his opposition to gambling legalization in the country and said he will work for the project not to be approved.
Senator Bezerra added that several senators are consulting on the proposal with representatives of the Federal Police and the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, with the aim to improve and enhance the text. According to Bezerra, there is a possibility that the proposal can be ready for voting at the end of August.
URUGUAY – Government reaffirms new gaming legislation framework
Uruguay’s Economy and Finance undersecretary, Pablo Ferreri, reaffirmed the importance of the State monopoly on gambling and betting in the country, insisting that the new Bill to restructure gaming legislation in Uruguay would cement such a monopoly.
Ferreri said: “The first article of the bill specifically ratifies the monopoly role of the State,” adding that the “protection of consumers against gambling offerings will mitigate the effects of problem gambling.” In reference to the lottery, Ferreri said, “The aim of the lottery is laudable because the resources that are obtained from this sector are destined to social institutions such as hospitals.”
Lotteries are very popular in Uruguay, with origins dating back to 1818 when the first was held to raise funds for the Hospital de la Caridad. The controlling body was created in 1856 within the framework of the institutional reorganization of the country. In his comments, the undersecretary reiterated that the Government will continue with its regulatory role increasing control by the State because the lotteries generate many resources that are at stake for people in need.
Among other significant changes, the Article 9° of the proposed bill transforms the current National Directorate of Lotteries and Betting, which will be renamed National Directorate of Gambling with responsibility for the national administration of full casinos, slots gaming halls, lotteries and betting.
PANAMA – Gaming income down by US$133.6 million
Any which way you look at it, a downer is always a downer. All the excuses in the world from Panama’s Gaming Board of Control (JCJ) to rose tint the tenth consecutive month of lower gaming revenue from the gaming industry, especially from full casinos, now described as “a normal market correction”, just will not do after years of gaming industry growth in the Latin American country.
According to the statistics from JCJ, Jan-Apr 2016 shows gaming revenue at US$733,2 million, a 15.4% decrease year on year, which means a decline of US$133.6 million in gambling revenue compared to the same period in 2015.
This negative trend started one month after the Government began a new levy collection on exchange of casino and slots chips at the casino cages from the second quarter of 2015; the implementation of a 5.5% tax created to fund old age pension increases. Revenue to April 2015 reflects that slot machine handle closed at US$ 636,7 million, a drop year on year of 13%, while gaming tables operated in full casino resorts closed at US$ 35.6 million less in comparison to US$105.9 million in 2015.
Antonio Alfaro, President of the Association of Panama Gaming Administrators (ASAJA) said: “The gaming industry has returned to the levels experienced in 2003”. Casino representatives met in mid-July with officials of the Auditor General’s Office and the Ministry of Economy and Finance to present a study prepared for ASAJA, which calculates the impact of the 5.5% tax imposed on the gaming industry.
As a consequence of the tax, hoteliers say that a decrease in tourist arrivals in the country to play at casinos in full hotel casino resorts fell by 4.5 percent in the first four months of the year. These casino hotels, which by law must have more than 300 rooms, have also seen a significant drop in the volume of bets and many of these casinos are exploring the possibility of operating only 12 hours a day and not 24 hours as is the case at present.
ARGENTINA – Park Hyatt Mendoza Hotel, Casino & Spa wins again
In a ceremony in Lima, Peru the Park Hyatt Mendoza Casino Hotel & Spa was recognized for the second time (also winning in 2013) as the best Resort in Argentina by World Travel Awards. This award was granted by direct voting by people from a list selected by industry experts and places the Hotel in a privileged situation at international level.
Since 1993 World Travel Awards highlights hospitality industry excellence and rewards the best by what today are recognized as the “Oscar awards” of tourism. The Mendoza casino hotel was also nominated for “Best Casino Resort of South America 2016” and “Best Suite of Argentina 2016”.