Ricki Chavez-Munoz reports on what’s happening in South America.
T.S. Eliot, the British poet, wrote: “April is the cruellest month”, as the opening line of his magnum opus The Wasteland, and without going much into the literary analysis, it just remains to be said that in the poem, April is the month when, in European springtime, flowers bloom and live for a few weeks or months before succumbing, so to speak. The philosophical analysis is much broader, deeper, more diverse, and exhausting. Indeed, this is the feeling after travelling around to the various regional gaming events in April.
The month began with FADJA 2018 (4-6 April), called, “a success for Colombia and Latin America as a whole”; then a week in Peru to see the development of a future event of new technologies; the Brasilian Gaming Conference in São Paulo (22-24 April); and CGS2018 Cancun, Mexico (April 25-27).
The FADJA success is a reflection of the approval of regulation for online gaming and sports betting in Colombia, where Coljuegos, the gaming regulator, is doing a great job under the direction of its President, Juan B. Perez Hidalgo.
More extensive reports are filed on daily gaming journal Casino Compendium, and will feature in Casino International Americano magazine, May/June edition, but hot off the printing plate we report from Sao Paulo, where during the BgC 2018 debate “On Brazil gaming legislation”, our colleague Jose Magnho, President of Instituto Brasileiro do Jogo Legal (IJL), said: “Either Brazil legalizes gambling or this will migrate into criminal hands.” Magnho added that online gaming is already moving R$6 billion a year in Brazil, without generating any benefit to society.
If April took us here, there and everywhere, well, May promises something similar. Beginning with the Sports Betting Conference in Bogotá (6-8 May); the V Ibero American Gaming Summit in Medellín, Colombia (May 9-10); I Foro del Juego, in Panama (15 May); and finishing with Juegos Miami (30 May – 01 June). And, also visiting Peru to check the latest development on legislation for online gaming and sports betting for this country. See you all, there!
ARGENTINA – Buenos Aires casino tender goes ahead
The public bid opening date for awarding contracts on the tender for seven Buenos Aires province casinos, announced last February by Instituto Provincial de Lotería y Casinoshas been set for June 27, 2018, at 11:00 hours.
The tender for the operation of 7 casinos in the province of Buenos Aires, according to Decree number DECTO-2017-944-E-GDEBA-GPBA, dated December 27, 2017, includes casinos in Tigre, Pinamar, Tandil, Miramar, Hermitage, Central in Mar del Plata and Monte Hermoso, and for a term of 20 years with a one year option extension.
According to the tender rules, the proposals can be made for three lots of casinos, or “casino lines”, as follows: Line N°1: Casino de Tigre and Pinamar Casino; LINE N°2: Tandil Casino, Casino of Miramar and Mar del Plata (Hotel Hermitage) Casino annex III; and line N°3: Casino Central of Mar del Plata and Casino of Monte Hermoso.
Several casinos that have been operated by Argentine company Boldt, have this company as bidding candidates. It is also Boldt, the owner of the real estate where the Casino Trilenium in Tigre is located, operating around 1600 electronic gaming machines. As it enjoys great public appeal all year, it is, as leading newspaper La Nacion, says: “the jewel of the tender.”
Other bidders include Enjoy, the former Chilean casino brand now owned by US investment fund Advent, which also owns Hotel Casino Conrad in Punta del Este, Uruguay, Casino de Mendoza, in Argentina, Casino Viña del Mar in Chile, as well as other Enjoy casinos in Chile. Enjoy joined the Buenos Aires casino bidding as Yojne SA.
Codere Group, based in Spain and also under the control of US. investment funds, is another candidate bidding for the casinos in Buenos Aires, where it is the major bingo operator “with 13 of the 45 bingo rooms in the province, including several of the more profitable”.
Other Argentine companies that have purchased tender specifications are: Victoria Casino, AJEST SA, Bingo Pilar SA, all with current or past bingo or casino operations in this country.
PERU – New Minister in charge of MINCETUR
The promotion by Peru’s new President Martin Vizcarra of the ex-Vice Minister of Tourism, Rogers Valencia, to the head of MINCETUR (Peru’s Ministry of Exterior Commerce and Tourism), demonstrates confidence in Valencia’s efforts to promote tourism in the country as well as oversee the development and regulation of gambling, which falls within the remit of the MINCETUR Vice Minister.
So far a new Vice Minister for Tourism has not been named but there are signs that those who have been working successfully will be given more responsibility to carry the country forward. Knowing the career path of Minister Valencia, we in the gaming industry believe that progress in gambling regulation will continue.
In June 2017, side by side with the Director General of Casinos and Gaming Machines (DGMT), Manuel San Román Benavente, the then Vice Minister of Tourism, Valencia was keynote speaker at the Peru Gaming Show. At that time he stated that the country was in the process of preparing legislation for the supervision and control of online gaming and sports betting.
The diligent work being done in the difficult task of regulating online gambling has been interrupted by the political changes occasioned by the resignation of former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. While Peruvian gaming regulations have achieved complete legalisation and formalisation, there is still work to be done to bring the online sector into equal compliance.
Rogers Valencia has been involved in the tourist industry for over 30 years and has promoted some innovative tourism initiatives. These have been developed on the lines of environmental sustainability and community development. He was president of the Cusco Regional Tourism Board (CARTUC), an association pledged to maintain social, cultural and environmental responsibility.
BOLIVIA – AJ seizes 100 illegal slot machines
One hundred slot machines, that were operating illegally in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz, were seized in several raids carried out by personnel of the country’s regulatory agency, Autoridad de Fiscalización y Control Social de Juego (AJ),supported by officers of the anti-corruption police. On the evenings of April 3rd and 4th, the AJ seized a total of 100 gaming machines installed in 4 illegal gambling dens, as the properties did not have the appropriate permits for this type of activity.
AJ Executive Director, Jessica Saravia, said: “In two days of operations we have confiscated 100 gambling machines. On Tuesday (April 3) there were two raids on two homes, one located in Villa Primero de Mayo, and another on the coastal road Litoral zona tercer anillo, where we confiscated 35 machines in total and today, in another raid, there were 44 machines seized on Calle los Batos, zona Av. Mutualistazone, and 71 in Avenida Alemania.”
From AJ, there was information that homeowners have responsibility in relation to the activities that are carried out in their homes and therefore must have knowledge of the use that their tenants have for the property, as such businesses are ” increasingly camouflaging their clandestine activities to avoid being watched by the competent authorities, and as the games are modernizing, even the gambling machines used are smaller to enable movement more easily.”
SUN DREAMS completes transfer of 4 casinos in Peru
After finally obtaining the necessary ministerial and municipal authorizations for the takeover of four casinos in Peru, Sun Dreams has completed the transfer of iconic Thunderbird Fiesta Casino Benavides (Lima), Sun Casinos Nippon (Luxor Lima and Cusco Mystic), Interstate Gaming of Peru (Luxor Tacna), and Thunderbird Salsa´s, as a result of the agreement of acquisition with Thunderbird Resorts Inc.
This was confirmed by the general manager of Grupo Sun Dreams in Peru, Martín Davila, who also said: “This decision translates into opportunity and challenge, because we are doubling our current participation in the market, which was initially composed of the casinos and gambling halls that you already know. This action requires us to not only continuing with our familiar level of attention, warmth and fun, but also is an invitation for us to work and improve our clients’ experience in the casinos that we have added to our group.”
As previously reported in October 2017, the total price of the properties acquired in the Lima, Tacna and Cusco operations added up to US$ 26 million. The group now operates 7 casinos and slot machine halls with more than 7000 m2 gambling floorplan, 1,924 electronic gaming machines and 89 gaming tables.