Latino America

We have been travelling in the region for six weeks following the London Show and trying to see industry changes in countries such as Colombia, Dominican Republic and Panama, and frankly everything is very exciting because you can just feel the development of the Latin America gaming industry all over you! However, not everything is as sweet as pie, and we did not go to San Juan, Puerto Rico because local conditions caused changes to the Caribbean Gaming Show 2015, which has new date, new logo and new Platinum Sponsors as well. This event on 8-9 July promises a new format also, as you can read below. We’ll be reporting on our travels more extensively in coming editions in Spanish and English, as well as in the May/June edition of C.I. Americano. Right now we have to fly back to Bogotá in time for Tuesday 8 April for the Fecoljuegos event, and April 9-10 for Fadja 2015, where the show organizers are working tirelessly, as they say, “to become regional gaming expo leaders”. See you all there! Cheers, Ricki. CHILE – Lower House approves changes to Casino Law Chile’s House of Representatives approved a Bill to change current Casino Law to set in motion an extension to the operations in seven municipal casinos in the cities of Arica, Iquique, Coquimbo, Pucón, Puerto Varas, Puerto Natales and Viña del Mar. The proposed legislation, which amends Casino Law No. 19.995, was approved by a margin of 77 votes in favour and six abstentions, and now moves to the Senate for final debate. Casino Law changes in the proposal is based on a report presented by the Exchequer’s Finance Committee with the main intention of extending the right of the seven communes to continue to host casinos for three additional periods of 15 years each. However, the proposed legislation does not imply continuity to casino concessions by the municipalities prior to Casino Law No.19.995, nor licensing of current operators of the municipal casinos. The objective of the proposed legislation changes seeks to maintain current economic aspects for the local municipalities, which retain all gaming taxes from the seven municipal casinos. Changes in the Casino Law set up additional mechanisms applicable to the operational permits for the extended periods in order to protect the municipal revenues. Virginia Reginato, Mayor of Viña del Mar and President of the Association of Municipalities with Casinos, who attended the parliamentary session along with the Mayors of all seven communities, said: “We are confident that everything will go well, but we will not rest until this (change) becomes Law in the Republic. Today more than ever we must be united by this noble and just cause, defending what belongs to us. For many years mayors and councillors of these seven communes have struggled, working in defence of our casinos and our communities.” COSTA RICA – Thunderbird sells casinos to Cirsa in US$33.5 million deal Thunderbird Resorts Inc. has announced from Panama the sale of their entire economic interests and rights of management at its seven casinos in Costa Rica to CIRSA International Gaming Corporation, S.A. The value of operations for sale was US$33.5 million and, after cash flow adjustments, assumption of debt/payment advances and other adjustments in working capital, net receipts of the approximate 50% share of the Group’s assets was in the region of US$8.1 million. As part of the sale, Thunderbird has signed a no-compete agreement for 36 months in Costa Rica. The Group continues making efforts to sell its stake in real estate in three properties at locations in Tees Rios Escazú, which are now free of debt, and have a more detailed description in previous press releases, as well as “our annual reports and statements of the interim administration. We would like to thank the many dedicated employees and collaborators that helped Thunderbird grow in Costa Rica, and wish you every success in the future,” Thunderbird added in a press release. Cirsa had profits of €241 million up to September of 2014, an increase of 11.3% more on the similar period of the previous year, and has reported that “this acquisition can be very beneficial for the brand. Cirsa will add the experience and knowledge gained by the company in the casino sector, enabling us to provide a unique and different range of game and entertainment experience in the country.“ MEXICO – Gaming law changes affected as Gaming Regulator quits Marcela Gonzalez Salas, Director of Gaming at the Secretaria de Gobernacion – Secretary of the Interior, resigned from office after she was included in the House of Representatives of the ruling PRI list of candidates to Congress for the next general elections. Any way you look at this, Gonzales Salas’ exit as Mexico’s casino regulator comes at an inopportune time for this sector, which is in the midst of proposed changes to Federal Gaming legislation in Ley de Ley Federal de Juegos y Apuestas, now being debated in Congress. The outgoing gaming Director leaves office halfway through government plans to clean up illegal casino operations in the country and also in the middle of investigations on a report which alleges irregularities by officials of previous gaming Segob administrations. Gonzales Salas was instrumental in the preparation of the new Gaming Bill to change Mexico’s ineffective 1947 Federal Gaming Law. The Director of Gaming at Segob is responsible for enforcing the law in Mexican casinos, currently at 297 licensed operations. In addition, Gonzales Salas was leading a campaign to end operation of some 115,000 illegal slot machines in Mexico’s street businesses that threaten the safety and well-being of children. Thus far 40,000 illegal slots had been confiscated from a total 140,000. ARISTOCRAT and AINSWORTH are Platinum Sponsors of New CGS 2015 CGS Group announced in early March that the sixth edition of the Caribbean Gaming Show has been postponed until 8 and 9 July 2015, maintaining the same original venue: the Caribe Hilton Hotel. Puerto Rico will host CGS for the second consecutive year and for at least two more editions. Bet Construct, Gaming Laboratory International and Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), along with Aristocrat and Ainsworth, are also Platinum Sponsors of the newly formatted event. The new Caribbean Gaming Show will maintain the original list of Exhibitors and will add companies interested especially in the online gaming market. Puerto Rico is close to legalizing online gambling and betting business. The expectation of the iGaming industry is high and Puerto Rico besides being one of the oldest gaming jurisdictions in the world now can regain its regional title of Caribbean Games Centre. It is noteworthy that the new Caribbean Gaming Show will focus more on the areas of Conferences and Education and will continue adding Exhibition space as well as Authorities and Visitors from the Caribbean countries. Operators, Regulators or both are coming from countries such as Aruba, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St. Martin, Virgin Islands, Curacao, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, and Puerto Rico of course plus various distributors and representatives of North America and Europe. They all will add success once again to CGS2015. CGS added: “We emphasise that for the agenda of most European and American Exhibitors, who are ultimately the main objective of the event, the month of July is the best in the calendar.” Andy Viera, Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) Gaming Division Director said: “We welcome the news of the CGS2015 change of date to a more convenient month for all actors. The new Caribbean Gaming Show will come loaded with new features for the sector and will be the meeting place of Manufacturers, Distributors, Operators, Authorities and Entrepreneurs from all regions, interested in doing business in this geographic area. We’re rearranging the agenda for meetings of interest of our department, and soon will update information on progress in the enactment of the Online Gaming & Betting Law. “We are confident that we will have industry professionals from the Caribbean such as Aruba, Panama, Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda, Curacao, St. Martin, Turks and Caicos and others whom we had the pleasure to receive in March 2014. The Division of Gaming supports the realization of this event, which greatly contributes to the development and enthusiasm of industry in Puerto Rico “. The new Caribbean Gaming Show will come filled with news and updates that will make this event successful, the ideal market to expand your business in this geographic region. CGS concluded: “We want to finish this Press Release by extending the appropriate apologies for any inconvenience caused to our visitors. We look forward to seeing you next July at the Caribe Hilton, and send our warmest greetings.”