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Ricki Chavez Munoz reports on what’s happening in South America
In the industry, we start 2012 with ICE, the London Show towards the end of January, and as usual, there will be a large contingent of Latin American visitors from the region that maintains the largest global growth in relation of new gaming businesses, equipment and regulated gambling.
Our item on Nicaragua, below, is fairly extensive on the new casino legislation in the Central American country, which is set for fairly rapid industry growth. It is interesting to see, also, that Gaming law specialist, Jaime Fonseca, who did major work on the Nicaragua legislation, is party to his law firm Varela & Fonseca’s contribution deal with reputable US gaming firm Dickinson Wright, as reported also.
Finally, and hot off the press, an item on the FADJA 2012 Gaming Conference, where the organizers have assured us to present some of the best industry speakers bringing to the event important topics, especially on the gaming legislation amendments that apply to Colombia under new regulators COLJUEGOS, in charge of ringing the changes to develop the operation of gaming properties in the South American country. See you in London ICE2012!
NICARAGUA – Enacts Gambling Legislation
On 5 December Law 766 - “Special Law for the Control and Regulation of Casinos and Gaming Rooms” - came into force in Nicaragua. Gambling businesses in the Central American country come under the jurisdiction of the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (INTUR), where some 14,000 gaming machines are registered. According to Omar Oporta, Director of Judicial Affairs at INTUR, there are 47 casinos and around 750 slots operations around the country.
The gaming industry in Nicaragua has been functioning for two decades and before the introduction of Law 766 had been controlled by the National Police and the National Lottery, which acted as regulator of the gaming machines installed in markets, pharmacies and local communities. The approval of Law 766 was much delayed in the National Assembly, where it took over 8 years to be passed.
Oporta added, “Before this law there was a rule approved by the INTUR council for the regulation of casinos. In 2010, with the Reform of Fiscal Equity, we started to regulate slot machines through a Commission made up of National Police, the National Lottery, the Director General of Income and INTUR.”
Law 766 also creates a Casino Authority with inspectors of casinos and slots operations who will investigate the functioning of gaming tables and slot machines for tax purposes and ensure the return is a minimum 85% of monies played. They will be duly registered, homologated and authorized uniquely for each casino or slots room and they will not be permitted to change location without authorization from INTUR.
The inspection of gambling premises will have various hierarchies with inspectors from departmental delegations of the police, INTUR, and the Attorney General. Training has now commenced in the capital Managua of inspectors and INTUR personnel, which is scheduled to be completed by February 2012.
Oporta concluded, “The fundamental changes are that players will be given security and we will limit harmful effects from gambling, protect our citizens, students and ensure minors do not have access to gambling premises. We want quality gaming for the tourists where there is harmony between the games, the players and above all to ensure transparency and the proper returns in prize money.”
Casinos and slots operations in Nicaragua must obtain two licences from INTUR: an operating licence valid for 20 years at an annual cost of US$2,000; and a functions licence with a fee of US$20 for each gaming machine and US$100 for each gaming table payable monthly to the Tax Department.
A Commission is created to deal with the destruction of illegal machines that have not been registered and licensed. Additionally, Article 53 of the Law prohibits the installation of gambling premises less than 400 metres from schools, churches, hospitals, public buildings, cemeteries, theatres, etc. That is to say, gambling businesses in Nicaragua must be in locations approved by the National Police and INTUR, and no longer in markets, pharmacies, commercial centres or private houses.
IGT Cloud Partner Program’s innovation of casino floors
Building on last Wednesday’s announcement of the IGT Cloud, International Game Technology presented the IGT Cloud Partner Program. IGT Cloud is a breakthrough casino management solution that empowers operators to optimize their operations and casino floors. IGT is bringing to market this transformational technology shift with a key set of innovative casino operators and CA Technologies. Spanning EMEA and Latin America, the IGT Cloud Partner Program includes Gala Coral, Olympic Casinos, Evian Casino and Codere.
“We’re thrilled to partner with some of our customers as we bring to market a true revolution for the gaming industry,” said Chris Satchell, IGT chief technology officer. “The IGT Cloud Partner Program will drive innovation and deliver seamless gaming experiences to players today, and continue to define the industry as it expands to include new partners and products.”
Program partners will have access to private, secure IGT Cloud services which initially will allow casinos to manage game content using IGT Floor Manager and maximize floor wide performance leveraging sbX® Analytics.
“We are seeing the benefits of using IGT sbX to expand the player experience,” said Mark Sergeant, Managing Director, Gala Casinos. “With IGT Cloud, we will be able to efficiently accelerate the expansion of the sbX benefits to our properties and players.”
“With Codere properties throughout the world, we will be looking at IGT Cloud to provide distributed capabilities to remotely analyze, configure and optimize casino floors and provide new player experiences over time,” said Felipe Ludena, Chief Information Officer, Codere.
Dickinson Wright Signs agreement with Varela & Fonseca
Dickinson Wright and Varela & Fonseca Abogados, headed by reputable gaming industry attorneys Jaime Varela Vidal and Carlos A. Fonseca Sarmiento, announced that they have entered into a strategic referral arrangement to provide comprehensive legal services to respective clients of each law firm.
Peru is a growing hub for Latin American commerce and, in particular, the regulated gaming industry. The Latin American market in many respects is the last great frontier in the global gaming industry. Industry leaders are increasingly looking to Latin America for future expansion opportunities.
Lima, Peru, is the home of one of the leading gaming law firms in Latin America, Varela & Fonseca Abogados. Varela & Fonseca Abogados is the first law firm in Latin America to exclusively specialize in gaming and entertainment law dedicated to the Latin American market. Co-founding partner Carlos A. Fonseca Sarmiento is the author of the leading Latin American gaming treatise, “Juegos de Azar y Apuesta: Aspectos Tenicos y Legales” – Gaming and Betting: Technical and Legal Aspects.
Dickinson Wright recognized the significant and continually growing role of gaming in Latin America and that Varela & Fonseca Abogados is an industry leader firm in gaming law in Latin America. As a result, it was natural for the two firms to establish a strategic referral arrangement that enhances and strengthens the depth and breadth of legal services that both firms can provide to their respective clients and other businesses seeking to enter the North American and Latin American markets.
FADJA 2012 Announces Gaming Conference
The organizers of the Andean Gaming Expo – FADJA, in its fourteenth edition, have announced that during the event to take place on April 11-12 at Corferias Expo Centre in Bogota, a series of conferences will be offered to support the gaming operators in Colombia and the industry at large, as part of the programme of events during this leading Latin American show. For updates on the FADJA 2012 Conferences, watch this space!
Up to last year, FADJA has always received the support of the local industry regulators, and is fully confident that this will not alter with the new regulator appointed by the government, COLJUEGOS. Similarly, FADJA 2012 also shall have the support of the local industry organizations grouped in four bodies: FECEAZAR, FECOLJUEGOS, ACOJA and CAMAZAR.
FADJA expects the participation of the leading industry players that will take part in the Conferences, on topics such as: The benefits of social networking in Gaming; online casino operations in Latinoamerica; Security, Surveillance and Intelligence in gaming operations; The new Gaming Law in Colombia and proposals for online slots control; and Casino marketing in the XXI Century.
The Latin American expo already has confirmed that participation of industry leaders such as:
Bally Technologies, MEI Group, Boss Gaming, Ainsworth, Spielo International, CN Cortar S.A, CDM Equipos, Automated Transactions, International Currency Technologies - ICT, El Espartano, Industrias Cattan, WMS, Professional Computer, Gold Club, Heal Technologies, IRT - Gaming Camelot S.A, Merkur Gaming GMBH, and Novomatic, amongst others.