What else could we say about ICE 2017? That it was simply the greatest event in the global gaming industry. Many people of the region made the trip to London, such as Carlitos Cardama – who launched his online title Games Brasil, Edgar Lenzi, Jose Anibal Aguirre, Carlos Fonseca – super gaming industry attorney with whom we enjoyed a delicious Indian meal, and many other professionals of this great gaming industry. Apart from these gentlemen, there were many such good people who were working hard at their magnificent stands.
So I won’t wax lyrical about the London Show, which is amply reviewed in Americano, because just now we are getting ready for our Latin America tour, starting with Peru in March, Colombia in April, Panama and Miami in May, and Montego Bay, Lima (again), and São Paolo in June, just to begin with. And of course I hope to see you all in Bogota during Fadja 2017. See you all there!
PARAGUAY – CONAJZAR could tender new casinos in April
Javier Balbuena, the President of Paraguay’s regulators the National Commission on Gambling (Conajzar), announced the possibility of tendering new casinos in cities that already qualify according to the law. He explained: “According to the rules casinos may be installed in cities with 250,000 inhabitants, and in Central there are approximately 1,000,000”.
In this respect there are major cities in the Central Department, such as Luque near the Paraguayan capital Asuncion, Fernando de la Mora and Lambaré, that would be in mind for the next operation of casinos in Paraguay. Balbuena also said that he would present a “proposition to the gaming regulator members, who should approve a project so that later it may be called for tender.“
The tender bases for cities of Central Department would be similar to those used for the tender process for the exploitation of the casino in Pedro Juan Caballero, Amambay, excepting investment in hospitality and tourism, although there would be an investment base of US$3 million for offerings related to restaurants, boutiques, etc.
ARGENTINA – Buenos Aires will have control of casinos in S1 2017
A report in Argentine daily Clarín, published in the last week in February, said that a decree had been signed “that ratifies the agreement and creates a technical commission between the National Lottery and the Buenos Aires Instituto del Juego, with final deadlines to begin from April.”
The transfer of casino gaming to the Argentina Capital City entered the final stage, reports Clarin: “The national Government signed a decree that ratified the agreement with the Buenos Aires Government. From now on a Special Committee will have 30 days to set out the way that the transfers of control of casinos at the Palermo Hippodrome and the vessels (in Puerto Madero) plus betting agencies, would be placed in the hands of the City of Buenos Aires before mid-year.
The Agreement was signed by the Vice President Gabriela Michetti, in charge of the Executive owing to the state visit to Spain of President Mauricio Macri, and “as the legislature of Buenos Aires had already ratified the Agreement last year, this step was the last one that was missing so that the technical transfer begins after dates have been set.“
From the National Lottery sources explained, “from now on there will be formed a Committee with two representatives from each organization, Loteria Nacional and Buenos Aires Gaming Institute, which must establish all the legal issues before the transfer that should take place within 30 days.“
The gaming agreement signed by Michetti unlocks the possibility that Loteria Nacional returns to the City of Buenos Aires all the money that was collecting from gaming revenues in 2016 and was retained until the transfer issue was agreed upon, about $850 million (pesos), some US$55 million.
PANAMA – New gaming tax causes big drop in casinos revenue
The report of the Comptroller General of the Republic of Panama on gaming revenue shows a reduction of US$204.4 million in 2016 revenue compared to the previous year, with figures of US $ 2,264,773 for 2016, and US$ 2,469,195 for 2015.
Since the application of 5.5% tax on players’ cash outs at casino and slots room cages in 2015, not only have casinos seen a reduction in income but also hotels by the absence of high action tables players who prefer others destinations in countries where no such tax applies. The tax applies to all cash outs regardless of winnings or losses by players.
This explains the largest decrease in casino revenue where tables of games that are favourite with big punters have seen a reduction of some US$78,668,000 less than in 2015.
Likewise, slot machines class “C“, which are installed in casinos at hotels called complete, because they must have of a minimum 300 rooms, reported gross income of US$ 1,984,014,000, in 2016 against figures for US$ 2,107,452,000, recorded in 2015.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Tribunal finds in favour of Hard Rock casino
The Tribunal Superior Administrativo (TSA) of the Dominican Republic has rejected the application against provisional permissions granted for building the Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in Santo Domingo, thereby clearing the way for continuing building work on the Hard Rock gaming property in the residential Piantini district, in the centre of the Dominican capital city.
However, the Piantini Residents association (Junta General de Vecinos), which has strongly opposed the construction of a gambling centre in a residential area near children’s schools, say they, “will do our utmost to stop that building work.“
Following notice of the Tribunal’s finding, Miriam Paulino, Piantini Residents Association attorney, said: “We will study the judgment but from now on we give notice that we will resort to the corresponding appealing procedure and we will carry out as many actions and legal processes within the law with the objective of stopping the building work and obtain the cancellation of the permits that have been granted irregularly.“
The initial study of a Hard Rock Casino & Hotel project in Santo Domingo did not contemplate building in the area in dispute, which has caused the problems with the residents of Piantini. Although the project represents advance and investment for the Caribbean country, the Piantini residents explained, “It does not matter the provenance of the investors in the Hard Rock Casino & Hotel project and whether they are national or foreign. They must comply with the laws and regulations in place.“