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Argentina – Casino closure sparks controversy in Mendoza

By - 8 August 2016

Local lawmakers have delayed a last minute deal which would have guaranteed the future of Condor Casino in Mendoza.

Owned by KLP Entertainment the company had agreed to pay an outstanding tax debt with the provincial government last month.
The casino Condor was initially closed for ten days on July 12 by The Institute of Gaming and Casinos, (IPJC) of the province of Mendoza due to debts and non payment of fines and penalties.

However the company agreed to the payment of a settlement of $36m pesos over gross income tax, as well as a further $70m payable over the next 36 months. The agreement meant that 200 casino employees would be able to return to their posts after a number of days of demonstrations and that the jobs of 240 hotel workers at the adjoining hotel would be guaranteed as much of the hotel income derives from the casino. After the agreement Governor of the province Alfredo Cornejo said that once inspectors had carried out an onsite inspection of the casino that it would open the following day.

However the agreement needed, he said, to be ratified by a two third majority of the local legislative body as required by law and that the casino would close again if the casino failed to make two or more instalment s on its outstanding debt. Agreement on the issue needs to be reached quickly as the first cheque deposited by KLP expires on August 16.

However the Peronist Party bloc in the local legislature has stopped the ratification of the agreement, and asked for time to study it saying that the request to approve the new agreement came from the IPJC instead of from the governor and that the agreement in its present form was weak. Cornejo wants the agreement to be ratified quickly in order to show that his administration has a clear policy when it comes to gaming in the region and differentiate his government’s stance from the previous administration which had allowed the casino to operate without the threat of it losing its licence.

Gaming in the province is undergoing a significant number of changes. In June it was announced that the government had decided not to extend the concession of at least three casinos in the province because they are not meeting the gaming board’s objectives of attracting tourism and generating income.

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