Argentina – Chaco court rules against privatisation of casinosBy Phil - 1 April 2014
A local court has upheld an injunction filed by Gala Casinos and the Lottery of Chaco Province to prevent the privatisation of casinos and slot parlours.
The injunction has shed doubt on the legitimacy of the bidding process which, according to the complaint filed in the court, occurred during a public holiday and occurred with “unusual swiftness.”
The decision comes on the back of another court decision which ruled in favour of local gaming company Champions Games SRL which had already opposed the bidding process and filed its objections in the courts. Those opposed to
the new bidding process claim that there has been a definite lack of transparency when it comes to the bidding process and that is too wide in scope.
According the new tender the winner would be the sole operator when it comes to installing private casinos and slot machines in the province for twenty years with a right to extend the right for another twenty. Furthermore, the tender requires a capital base of only one million pesos and stipulates a minimum fee for the Chaco Lottery of four million pesos – a figure which Deputy of Chaco Province Hugo Maldonad described as “surprising.” Talking to local press Maldonad said that the licence would give the winner of the tender the right to “open as many casinos as they wanted wherever they wanted for forty years.” Maldonado also stated that local laws only allow for gaming and casinos if they are part of a larger project designed to promote tourist infrastructure in the region.
However, President of the Chaco Lottery Nestor Rolhaiser defended the tender saying that it was necessary in order to attract “private investment to boost tourism and the entertainment sector.” Governor of the province Bacileff Ivanoff also defended the tender arguing that while four million pesos was the minimum fee for operating gaming in the province it would undoubtedly be much more once the bidding process had begun.