Ricki Chavez-Munoz reports on what’s happening in South America.
October has been a historic month in gaming, especially in the United States, where the Global Gaming Expo 2018, which took place in Las Vegas during the second week of October had an unprecedented success. Not only were there exhibits of the very latest developments from global industry leaders, but also a veritable explosion of sports betting companies and online gambling products that begin to take CenterStage in the industry.
Previously we had seen the large deployment of European online gaming firms during Totally Gaming ICE 2018, in February, and so, it has not been surprising the offerings we have seen in Las Vegas, where visitors from all countries, especially from the Latin American region, mainly from countries like Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Argentina, were just eager to check on new developments.
We have an extensive report on G2E Las Vegas in our sister magazine, Casino International Americano, as well as advances in online gambling legislation in Peru, where we are travelling in a few days to report directly from Congress and from the regulators at Mincetur. Also, we will be in delightful Cartagena de Indias, to visit and report from GOL EXPO Colombia 2018. See you all there!
Boldt continues as main casino operator in Buenos Aires
Following the announcement by the IPLyC (Provincial Lottery and Casino Institute) of Buenos Aires on the results of the first stage of the tender for seven casino licences, the Boldt organisation obtained 38 of the 55 qualifying points for one lot that includes the top performing casino Trilenium and Casino Pinamar. Boldt was the only bidder for that lot.
In the first stage of the tender the IPLyC examined the technical and economic antecedents of the offers, the investment proposed and financial standing, amongst other criteria. In the second lot being tendered, consisting of the casinos Tandil, Miramar and Hermitage de Mar del Plata, Boldt obtained 34 points against 32 from its competitors. The third lot, comprising Casino Central Mar de Plata and Monte Hermosa, the company Casino De Victoria SA obtained 37.5 ponts against Boldt’s 34.
The second stage of the tender will begin mid-November. The final 45 points available will be allocated at this stage to determine which bids offer the best returns for the state of Buenos Aires.
Paraguay changes Conajzar chief
Paraguay’s president Mario Abdo Benitez has named Jose Antonio Ortiz Baez to represent the Home Affairs Ministry at the country’s Gambling Commission (Conajzar). Ortiz replaces Oscar Portillo who was the choice of former president Horacio Cartes.
The new administration is backing the demand by Paraguay’s Attorney General to reopen the investigation into an attempt to dispossess the National Port Administration of land in Ciudad del Este for the building of a hotel casino. Cronies of ex-president Horacio Cartes, judges, politicians and administrators have all been implicated in the alleged fraud.
Conajzar is obliged to report suspicious transactions to the Secretary for anti-Money Laundering (Seprelad) in Paraguay. In 2017 a total of 11,564 reports were made, up 70% on 2016. More than 80% of reports came from the banking sector. To date Conajzar has no agreement with Seprelad for adequate anti-money laundering regulation to report on suspicious transactions.
New online gambling operation in LatAm
A new casino and sports betting platform has been launched in the Caribbean and Central America, arriving in the region with PowerPlay.com, operated by Deck Entertainment.
PowerPlay.com uses the sports betting platform of FSB Technologies to offer a variety of sports such as football, cricket, tennis and basketball. It also offers the slots games of Microgaming and Realistic Games as well as live casino games from Evolution Gaming.
Co-founder of PowerPlay, Keith McDonnell, commented on the website launch: “The Caribbean and Central America needed a company that could fulfill the region’s desire for online gaming. With the promotions, content and customer service that we offer, PowerPlay is able to satisfy the demands of local clients.”
He added, “Our team owns and operates land-based casinos in the Caribbean and, following exhaustive market research, we concluded that players were wanting a local online gaming product. Clients will be able play on mobiles or computers and access a variety of live games at our casino.”
Puerto Rico – looking to make money from street slot machines
The latest proposal to legalise high street gaming machines was announced by Governor Ricardo Rossello Nevares during a meeting of his party, the PNP. The video lottery machines would be a means of collecting funds for the island.
As control of casinos is under the Association of Tourism and Hotels, the organisation is against such a move as Puerto Rican hotels are in crisis following the opening of more modern hotels offering better facilities in tourist destinations such as The Bahamas, Punta Cana, etc.
According to Rossello, the plan is to include video gaming operations in the Inland Revenue system. “The system should be one that permits adequate regulation and eliminate illegal operations in order to collect what we should be able to collect.”
Puerto Rico was one of the first countries to regulate gaming but now it is at the tail end of the industry through lack of proper management or the modernisation of regulatory laws. It can be said that, like Uruguay and Chile, Puerto Rico has had casinos for over 50 years. However, lack of adequate regulations has led to the proliferation of unsupervised and unregulated street gaming machines in all three countries, with profits paying no contribution to national coffers.
So far Uruguay and Chile maintain a passive acceptance of street machines but lately Puerto Rico is looking to legislate in order to gain necessary taxes to help alleviate the public debt. The island was left some US$70 billion in arrears after the disaster caused by Hurricane Maria, having received no aid from the US.