News from Mexico about the presidential decree banning slot machines in the country, from an administration that is looking for a way to bring more order to the development of gaming in the country, just adds more confusion to several previous decrees, modifications, changes, and other legal measures to make more effective a piece of Regulation (2004) to the Federal Law of Games and Raffles passed way back in 1947.
The news arriving from Mexico merit ample space ant we’ll be looking to produce an extensive report in our sister electronic daily www.casinocompendium.com which we will update in these pages in our next edition.
Following an excellent G2E 2013, and with the industry on a roll, we make our way on our last Latin American tour of 2013 with visits to SAGSE Latin América, in Buenos Aires on 12-14, and then we will move on to the Brasilian Gaming Congress, in Rio on 18-20 November, where for the first time global industry leaders will meet for the first time in a major gaming event.
The idea is also to get the Brazilian Government in a mood to understand that this great industry can deliver great benefits to this country in the shape of regulated mainstream gaming, and hoping that appropriate legislation changes come to the debate table to enable casino and slots operations in Brazil, starting in 2014, when it celebrated the Soccer World Cup that is followed in 2016 by the Olympics. We’ve got to aim high! See you all there!
CHILE – New casino licence in Chile in 2014?
The Termas de Chillán company tendered its casino licence resignation on 25 September to the local regulators, Superintendencia de Casinos de Juego (SCJ) and will end their casino operation in their hotel resort in the Bio Bio Region, and has opened the possibility of a new tender for this license casino, which is now available in Chile. Since its opening, the Casino of Termas of Chillán could not generate revenue to operate successfully.
The Bio Bio Region, which loses a casino licence quota by the TC resignation, has two other casinos in operation: the Marina del Sol Casino and the Casino Gran Los Angeles. By law, any region in Chile has a maximum quota of 3 casino licences available, although a new licence tender on a national level opens the possibility for casino projects in other regions that have less than 3 casinos.
Apart from companies with multiple casino licences in Chile, such as Dreams and Enjoy, other operators, both local and foreign, are already looking at this new opportunity to operate a casino in Chile. Nonetheless, not everything is as simple as it seems, and aside from the new opportunity that arises there are also possible risks that must be addressed by new investors. Not for nothing Casino Termas de Chillán has decided that a casino operation is not the right business for is integrated resort.
There are some casinos with excellent results operating under the framework of the new Casino Law No. 19.995. Results for September 2013 show the Monticello Grand Casino, about 50 kilometres south of Santiago, the capital of the country, reporting gaming revenue at US$10.2 million, and the Marina del Sol Casino at US$4.3 million, leading the 15 casinos’ ranking. But there are also properties such as Casino Gran Los Angeles reporting just US$700,000 for the month. Casino Termas de Chillán reported revenue for the month was a pitiful US$ 40,000.
The Casinos Act establishes that a national tender for the available casino licence should begin during the first two months of the year after the official casino licence termination. Therefore, if the Termas de Chillán casino licence gets an official termination notice before December 31, the tender must be made public in the first two months of 2014. Other than this, the casino licence tender in Chile will take place in 2015.
COSTA RICA – Thunderbird Resorts will open a new casino in 2014
Despite recently closing two slots venues in Costa Rica, Thunderbird Resorts Inc has announced the construction of a new US$2.8 million casino in San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city. The latest Fiesta brand casino is already being built by its Costa Rica affiliate, financed by a loan from a Panamanian bank. The funds will cover the costs of both construction and equipment purchases.
The Thunderbird Group believes that its ‘Las Vegas’ style casino format, in an area where no similar venue exists, will attract mid- to upper-end clients by offering a more entertainment-oriented environment than the other gaming facilities in the vicinity. The new Fiesta Casino is expected to open by the second quarter 2014 with around 118 slot machines, 28 gaming table positions and 70 food and beverage positions.
Having operated in Costa Rica since 2003, Thunderbird is following a strategy to build on current markets that afford growth with little additional country management and parent-level expense. The new San Jose casino follows the company’s venue in Chinandega, Nicaragua, which opened in third quarter 2012. The Thunderbird Group owns 50% of its businesses in Cost Rica, with the exception of its flagship casino in the Holiday Inn at San Jose International Airport where the company holds 56%.
Changing market conditions have caused the rethink on strategy and Thunderbird has eliminated 290 underperforming gaming positions in Costa Rica, reducing the costs of the fixed monthly gaming tax per gaming position that regulators introduced in January this year. Some of the best performing slot machines will be redeployed in the new venue.
COLOMBIA – GLI is the first test gaming lab accredited by Coljuegos
Gaming Laboratories International (GLI), the world’s leading gaming technical consulting and independent certification laboratory, has been accredited as a gaming test lab in Colombia by COLJUEGOS, the gaming and lottery regulatory entity.
GLI is the first test lab to be accredited in Colombia, once again proving GLI to be the leader in the Latin American and worldwide gaming industry. GLI Director of Latin American Development Karen Sierra said, “GLI’s philosophy is to support regulatory development efforts in jurisdictions worldwide, and dedicating resources to achieve our recognition as a laboratory in a diligent manner is the best way to support the gaming regulator. We are excited to be participants of the important regulatory development process that COLJUEGOS is going through and look forward to continuing to support their efforts.”
The Colombia jurisdiction is one of the largest jurisdictions in Latin America, and it is going through an important regulatory development process led by COLJUEGOS. The process includes adoption of the certification process, establishment of technical standards for the gaming and lottery industries, and interconnection of the gaming devices for tax reporting and regulatory control.
GLI has been dedicated to gaming throughout Latin America for more than 15 years and enjoys a very good working relationship with gaming regulators throughout the region. GLI will continue to work closely with regulators to help regulations remain current and with suppliers to make their testing and certification process as efficient and cost-effective as possible.
ARGENTINA – Record products on show at SAGSE Latin America 2013
The organizers of the 21st edition of SAGSE Latin America @ Buenos Aires, the event which will unite all the gaming industry on November 12-14 in Centro Costa Salguero, stated that they will receive more than 10,000 international visitors, and that there will be a 35% increase in products being exhibited.
“During the event the most varied and innovative products, supplies and equipment for the gaming industry will be exhibited, with electronic roulettes, traditional roulettes, slots, parts and components, architecture and design, carpets, security systems, lighting, game tables, chairs, cloths, cards, chips, billfolds, purses, payment systems, clothing and furniture, as well as all solutions for the market of the sports and online betting; as well as kiddies rides and home entertainment equipment for children, among other products,” said Alan Burak, SAGSE’s Commercial and Show Manager.
At close of this edition, the 2013 exhibitors list was still increasing, adding exhibitor numbers to local companies and international organizations as well as global industry leaders such as: NOVOMATIC/AGI, International Game Technology (IGT), Sielcon, Argentina, Aristocrat, TCSJOHNHUXLEY, COPAG, Konami, Ainsworth, SHFL Entertainment, FutureLogic, Euro Games Technology – Argentina, Belatra, Miss Gaming International, JCM, Bally, Technologies, Casino Technology, Gaming Technology International (GLI), Global Zitro, Permaquim, Ed Roberts, TransAct, WMS Gaming, amongst many others.
Additionally, the list of operators of the following countries have already confirmed their visit: Argentina, Austria, Byelorussia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Spain, USA, France, England, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Singapore, Taiwan, Uruguay and Venezuela. SAGSE is the most international and important expo in Latin America.