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Argentina-Buenos Aires casino offers cash to avoid nationalisation

By - 25 July 2012

Whilst some legislators are looking to nationalise the gaming business in the province of Buenos Aires, Casino del Tigre is believed to have offered local government US$400m to extend its operating licence past the designated 2013 expiration.

Trilenium, the owner of Casino del Tigre since 1999, wants to receive an automatic 15-year extension to its operating permit with no need for a competitive bidding process in exchange for an immediate fee of $1.1m followed by 60 instalments taking the total to $400m. Trilenium, a partnership between Boldt Company and Sociedad Comercial del Plata, has operated the Casino del Tigre since 1999. The venue offers 1,900 slots, 74 table games, seven restaurants and a theatre. Its owners are also arguing that the government has already broken its contractual agreement as despite being granted an exclusivity licence, several bingo halls have been established in its ‘zone.’

Governor Daniel Scioli is believed to have offered a similar cash for licence offer to bingo operator Codere who runs 14 of the 46 bingo halls in the province. That deal would see Codere pay $136m for a 15-year extension to all of its licences. Codere runs three bingo halls in La Matanza and two others in Moron and San Miguel.

Rival operator Cirsa said in mid-July that whilst it was aware of recent reports in the Argentine media regarding the mind-set of some Argentine politicians to nationalise the gaming sector in Argentina, it had not been contacted by any government officials regarding a change in ownership to its operations. Cirsa has conducted business in Argentina for over ten years under concessions approved by the Argentine gaming regulator. Its operations include casinos in Buenos Aires and Rosario.

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