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Ricki Chavez Munoz brings the news from this gaming hotspot in the English language version of his monthly column
I think that the most appropriate feeling right now has something to do with the chorus line lyrics in Ruben Blades’ salsa hit “Pedro Navaja” that says that ‘Life is full of surprises…”, owing to the news that has landed on this desk as we go to press, which is nothing less than the arrival in Datateam of the distinguished gaming communications professional, María Eugenia Crivellini, to take up executive commercial duties at our sister title Casino International Americano.
Paul Ryder, Datateam Business Media Ltd., Publisher commented: “Maria Eugenia brings a proven track record in the Latin American gaming industry, as well as expertise and business skills, which are key elements to the strategy and global development of our company. We are thrilled to have Maria Eugenia as a key team member in our company with special duties in her position at Casino International Americano”.
Maria Eugenia was born in Argentina, and for the past nine years has been the South American Delegate for leading title Casinos de Latinoamerica, with duties also in the regional magazine, European Casinos The Elite, as well as having worked in sales and business development for the Mexican show ELA, and the SAGSE Panama expo from start up.
From Buenos Aires, Maria Eugenia said: “I am very happy to be starting a new challenge as part of the Casino Internacional Americano team, and I would like to thank the Datateam board, especially Ricki Chavez-Munoz, for having the confidence in my personal and business skills.”
Well, some news, indeed, and I would be pleased if everyone welcomes Maria Eugenia as part of Datateam, which since 2004 has shown a big commitment to the Latin American gaming industry giving much support with the publication of this small column, when Maria Eugenia dons the Casino International Americano colours for the first time during FADJA 2011 on April 14-15, in Bogota. See you there!
Business, operators and ‘Miss Gaming Colombia’ in FADJA 2011
After the launch of the “Miss Gaming Colombia” Pageant, at the brand new Sonesta Hotel in Bogota, Jose Anibal Aguirre, FADJA Director General, said that the event, “seeks to bring into the industry focus the talent and beauty of Colombian women with candidates from casinos and gaming slots operations throughout the country”. The main prize for the winner will be a zero miles motor car to the local beauty and the title “Miss Gaming Colombia”, in a special gala during FADJA 2011, on April 14-15.
FADJA 2011 has positioned itself as the Latin American event which fosters constant growth in the regional gaming industry, as operations continue to develop and reequip with the latest the industry manufacturers and suppliers have to offer, and has ensured the visit of operation members from organizations such as SONAJA and APEJA in Peru, ASAJA - Panama Association of Gaming Operators, FEDELCO, operators from Colombia, amongst many others.
This year also on offer during the Latin American event, the TSM-FADJA 2011 Business Round Table will be held in a specially prepared area, where this commercial venture, organized by the firm Trade Missions & Show Management – TSM, has the objective of offering a new service to visitors and exhibitors in an ambiance of commercial and business interchange between all who visit FADJA 2011.
Amongst the industry global leaders exhibiting at FADJA 2011 are: Novomatic, Bally, IGT, Merkur Gaming, MEI Group, Gold Club, Ainsworth, WMS Gaming, PMV S.A., Inspired Gaming, Recreativos Franco, JCM Global, Hanco Technology, TranSact Technologies, Gemaco, SamCorp, Intercard Inc., Mundo Video, Money Controls, Suzo-Americas, ICT Group, CN Cortar, Automated Transactions, Clover Gaming, FecolJuegos, EZ-Mix, etc.
Licensed operators prepare for legal action in Ecuador
Ecuador’s 32 legally licensed casinos are preparing to start legal action, both at home and abroad, if the proposed plans to ban gambling are approved by a national referendum. The National Electoral Council (CNE) has officially sanctioned a public referendum on the measure, initiated by President Rafael Correa, for 7 May. Executives of the legal casinos say that the referendum question (Pregunta 2) is too general and does not identify nor distinguish between legally operating casinos in tourist hotels.
Pedro Sánchez, representing the company Apartec and manager of Casino Montecarlo, in Quito, says that at his casino 433 people would lose their jobs as a result of the President’s actions. According to calculations by casino industry representatives, revenues of some US$250 million annually would be lost from the legal gaming industry if Ecuador votes to close its casinos, which would also be a loss of taxes paid to the government.
The legal casinos pay around US$20 million in gaming tax each year and US$36 million in Social Security payments for the 25,000 people who work in the industry. The casinos also pay some US$15 million annually in fees, expenses and rent to the hotels where they are located. On top of this around 140,000 workers indirectly service the legal casino industry. If casinos are banned then the illegal gambling industry would prosper, as it has in Russia.
At present the licensed casinos are regulated and controlled by the Ministry of Tourism and the Inland Revenue. Any prohibition of the casinos, with or without a referendum, would violate the constitutional rights of workers, judicial security and put investment at risk. Casino owners have said they will await the outcome of the referendum before initiating legal action in Ecuador’s courts and taking the case before the Organisation of American States (OEA), the United Nations (ONU) and, in the last instance, to the International Court in the Hague.
Bolivian government names first Gaming Authority
After becoming the first chief of the Taxation and Social Welfare Authority for Gaming, Mario Cazón Morales has promised to establish and police the new gambling regulations and laws in Bolivia. Cazón has wide experience in finance, including General Manager of the National Taxation Service (SIN) and various top administrative and government positions in the Bolivian capital and the provinces.
In a government communiqué, the Minister of Economy and Public Finances, Luis Arce, said that the naming of Carlos Cazón would consolidate the new Law 060 for Lotteries and Gambling, which creates a gaming tax regime. The new Gaming Authority will develop a platform by which the Bolivian state will gradually recoup the control of gambling activity, which previously was neither properly regulated nor taxed.
The Gaming Authority will grant gambling operator licences throughout Bolivia as well as authorise social and commercial lotteries. It also will apply sanctions for any infractions of the new law. Law 060 has fixed a gambling tax on operators of 30% on gross monthly gaming revenue. Players will pay a 15% tax on the price of tickets, chips, coupons and all gaming related purchases. The tax will be collected by the operator, who will be required to make payment directly to SIN.
Amaya secures Dominican Republic online gaming license
Amaya Gaming Group Inc has announced that it has secured a license to operate online gaming in the Dominican Republic, the second largest Caribbean nation with an estimated population of 10 million people. The Canadian company, an entertainment solutions provider for the gaming industry, is engaged in the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and sale of technology based gaming solutions for the regulated gaming industry worldwide.
Amaya’s online gaming offering includes slot games as well as table games like Blackjack, Roulette, Sicbo, Craps and Baccarat in addition to peer-to-peer games such as online poker. The online gaming site is expected to be launched by Q3 2011.
“We are extremely pleased to have secured this license to operate online gaming in the Dominican Republic. We believe our extensive gaming library and technological capabilities have been key deciding factors in securing this license. As one the fastest growing segment of the entertainment industry, online gaming still represents a significant untapped market segment for Amaya” mentioned Mr. David Baazov, President and Chief Executive Officer of Amaya.
Commenting on the granting of the online gaming license, Mr. Conrado Abud, Director of Casinos for the Ministry of Finance of the Dominican Republic said “Based on our investigations and due diligence, we have decided to authorize Amaya with the only license of its kind to operate online gaming in the country. As such, this is a sector of the gaming industry that is rapidly developing in an illegal way. Amaya was granted the license to redirect this already existing but illegal gaming activity to a site that is secure, legal and trustworthy.”