The Province of Buenos Aires has ratified via a decree, the resolution put forward by the Provincial Lottery and Casinos Institute which extends the validity of a series of contracts with Boldt SA until December 31.
The announcement, which was made last week in the Official Gazette, means that the Governor of the province of Buenos Aires María Eugenia Vidal’s decision to tender the slot machine licences in the province is now official.
According to local sources the government has been working for several months on a set of new terms and conditions, which are now in the last stage of review. The operation of slot machines in the casinos, which are located in the centre of the province and along the coast, is currently held by Boldt which operates 2,600 slot machines in the province of Buenos Aires – home to 15.6m people.
The new tender will put an end to agreements which were first signed during the government of Eduardo Duhalde who served as President of Argentina from 2002 to 2003. There have already been several delays when it comes to the granting of the new licences. The agreements have been overdue for four years, and have been extended since then for every six months.
The government justified the new extension until December due to “the complexity of the purpose of the contract,” and warned of the need to “ensure the continuity of the provision of services” as otherwise it would have a negative impact on income generated for social welfare programmes. The decree states that the extension of the licences will continue either until the last day of the year or until the new contract goes into force if it precedes that date.
It it is estimated that the licences could cost as much as US$100m in all: US$70m for the licence to run the slot machines while as much as US$30m could be invested in building improvements. According to local daily Clarin the business is currently worth around $550m pesos a year. Boldt’s licence expired in March and the new tender process is likely to begin a hard fought contest as operators seek to make further inroads into the market with Codere, Inverclub, and Boldt all rumoured to be interested in the new licences.