Ricki Chavez Munoz reports on what’s happening in South America…
We feel that very important news will come from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay in 2016. According to reports, it falls to the new Argentine Government of Mauricio Macri to implement the agreement that exists between Argentina and the European Union and United States, to dismantle import restrictions on December 31 by the Declaraciones Juradas Anticipadas de Importaciones (DJAI) after losing the arbitration process with the World Trade Organization (WTO) in July. Then, Argentine representative to the WTO, Jorge D’Alotto, and his counterpart in the European Union, Angelos Pangratis, signed the Official Document so that Argentina “adjust their import procedures to international standards”.
As we reported in Casino Compendium, “Argentina lost the arbitration on 26 January 2015 then, after appealing on 2 July, it was agreed with the United States a date of December 31 2015 for the lifting of restrictions. The WTO arbitration had begun in July of 2012 by 27 members of the European Union, United States, Japan and several emerging countries, including Mexico”.
So it has come to pass that Christmas may be full of joy for everyone in the Argentine gaming industry. And we have the same hope for Brazil, where gaming legislation gains more support every day and with a little luck the gaming global landscape would be enhanced if the World’s third economy came into the fold. Also, Uruguay’s legislators are in the process of debating whether to allow slot machines outside casinos and to bring good order to this sector once and for all.
We believe that 2016 will be an excellent year for the industry in Latin America, and from this column we wish you all Happy Holidays. Cheers!
CHILE – Marina del Sol wins last casino licence
Wednesday 25 November was the third and final voting session of the Biobío Region council members (Core) after a lengthy evaluation of the two projects to build an integrated destination resort in Chillan city. Same as previously, Core council members gave their support to Marina del Sol Company, which operates a casino in another region.
The winning margin was 19 against 6 votes for Spanish-Argentine consortium Boldt-Peralada, with 3 abstentions. Biobio Core was forced to vote again on this issue after the Courts had invalidated two earlier votes in a process that has taken more than 18 months to decide on the last casino licence in the country.
The SCJ was forced to stop a licensing process for Chile’s last casino while legal actions involving the two candidate companies and the Biobio Government were finished. City of Concepcion’s Court of Appeal had upheld Chillán Casino Resort (Boldt-Peralada)’s appeal and annulled Biobio Core’s decision in favour of Marina del Sol, and ordered a third voting process.
The next stage consists of a presentation of Biobio Core’s voting results to city Mayor Rodrigo Díaz. At the same time Biobio Core must send to SCJ all voting records for official evaluation. From there on, a period of 30 days is in place so that the Consejo Resolutivo at SCJ rules on who is finally awarded the casino licence for Chillan city.
BRAZIL – Backing grows for casino legislation
Broader support for the legalization of gambling in Brazil is developing in the country, as a white paper to allow casinos in the country is being discussed by the Special Senate Commission for Brazil National Development. Both Henrique Pereira Oro, President of State of Minas Gerais Lottery (LEMG), and the National Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality Workers (CONTRATUH) have expressed their unqualified support for legal gambling.
Pereira said that the Government should authorize the States and the Federal District to explore new forms of gambling, such as casinos and traditional and electronic bingo, as well as Internet gambling, to stop the flow of capital to neighbouring countries such as Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina: “There is a massive currency exodus from our country as Brazilian people demand and are willing to gamble in casinos,“ Pereira added.
The Special Commission is analysing the Bill written by Senator Ciro Nogueira on the legalization of bingo halls, casinos, jogo do bicho (Brazil’s popular irregular lottery), slots and online gaming. Gaming Bill (PL 442/91), the oldest in the country, was presented more than 20 years ago to decriminalize jogo do bicho. This popular illegal lottery has revenue in excess of US$3,400 million annually.
Support for the legalization of gaming in Brazil has come as part of the “Programme for Brazil” project sponsored by the President of the Senate, Renan Calheiros, in order to promote the reactivation of economic growth. According to experts, the Government could raise US$5,000 million per annum in gaming taxes as well as creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.
According to lottery media, Boletim Novidades Lotéricas (BNL), the legislation that outlawed gambling did not change the illegal gaming scenario in Brazil, which annually moves around US$6,000 million in illegal gambling, with the Jogo do Bicho being the most popular, and illegal play bingo and slots gambling with revenue of about US$1,300 million.
PANAMA – Novo Panamá officially licensed to serve local gaming industry
The recently founded local NOVOMATIC subsidiary Novo Panamá was formalized by the Junta de Control de Juegos (JCJ – Panama Gaming Board) as an officially licensed provider of slot machines and systems to the Panamanian market in June 2015. Under the direction of Managing Director José Teng the company’s objective is to improve the offering to the local gaming industry through professional local representation, timely technical assistance and expert after sales services.
Since the country’s government introduced the privatization of casinos in 1997, Panama has become a hotspot of the Central American casino industry and is even called by some the ‘Las Vegas of Central America’. The country’s strong economic performance and determined investments in infrastructure development have helped the gaming industry generate significant growth during recent years. Today the local gaming landscape boasts a strong and broad-based gaming entertainment offering, that ranges from casino gaming to bingo halls, slot parlours, sports betting, horse racetracks and lotteries.
According to the latest statistics released by the JCJ, the Panamanian gaming market currently includes some 15,000 slot machines and 200 live gaming tables with further potential for growth. Official figures for the year 2014 state total gaming revenues of USD 515.24 million and gaming tax revenues amounting to USD 96.1 million.
Through the official licensing and operational market entry of the local representative company Novo Panamá the NOVOMATIC group will be able to further strengthen its position in the Panamanian gaming market and significantly increase its current market share in the slot segment. Well in advance of the official start up the excellent international reputation of the NOVOMATIC brand had already created a great demand among the country’s major operators, meaning that the company started operational business with a list of orders already pending.
Under the management of José Teng, who has acquired extensive experience in the Latin American gaming industry, Novo Panamá will increase its footprint in the local market, offering excellent local sales services, technical support and spare parts provision as well as product analysis and a strong customer relationship management directly on site. José Teng is positive that the local operators appreciate the company’s commitment to first class product, service and support: “Our entire team is determined and eager to grow and to become the best gaming supplier in the country. And we have had an excellent start: It has been only four months since the opening of our offices and we have already sold a significant number of slots to leading casinos in Panama. This goes to prove that the market appreciates the Novo Panamá offering.”
COLOMBIA and CHILE – IGT GALAXIS receives regulatory certification
International Game Technology PLC (IGT) announced that the Company’s GALAXIS™ enterprise systems solution, (version 980 HF 006) recently received certificates of compliance from Coljuegos in Colombia and from Superintendencia de Casinos de Juego in Chile.
“We are pleased to introduce IGT’s GALAXIS system solution to our customers in Colombia and Chile,” said Marcel Heutmekers, IGT VP of Commercial Gaming International. “IGT’s GALAXIS continues to drive efficiencies and augment the player experience in markets around the world and we’re confident that our customers throughout Colombia and Chile will find this solution complementary to the many other IGT products and services in their casinos today.”
IGT’s GALAXIS system is a versatile casino management solution designed to streamline casino operations and to attract, reward and retain players. The scalable system solution boasts a modular design and an open interface, allowing for optimal operator customization. IGT’s GALAXIS system is a prominent system solution in gaming markets around the world, including multiple installations throughout Peru.