A number of different sectors within the tourism industry in the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu have welcomed the news that Brazil may soon legalise casinos.
“It will mean a great deal for the region, consolidating the Falls as one of the world’s most sought after destinations in the world,” former President of the Commercial and Business Association of Foz do Iguacu, Danilo Vendruscolo said.
Foz do Iguaçu borders the Argentine city of Puerto Iguazú and the Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este. The city’s economy is based on tourism but unlike Argentina and Paraguay, casinos have been banned.
“We have an interest in regulation as both Iguazú in Argentina, and Ciudad del Este in Paraguay have their casinos so why can’t Foz do Iguaçu offer the same thing as a tourist attraction?” Mr Vendruscolo said.
Licerio dos Santos President of the Municipal Tourism Council of Foz do Iguacu, said that casinos would generate jobs and taxes. “It’s good for the economy of the region and the government will have an excellent additional source of income to hand,” he said.
Over a million people visit the falls each year. However, tourists generally only stay for short periods as the majority of visitors quickly move on after visiting the national park and other attractions such as the Jesuit ruins in San Ignacio Miní in Argentina. Casinos would mean that tourists would stay longer in the border area.
Significant changes could be afoot in Brazil with the government now poised to pass a new gaming act which would green light casinos for the first time since 1946. In December 2015 the Special Committee on National Development approved Senate Bill 186/2014 which seeks to establish a regulatory framework for the legalisation of both land based and online gaming. The Committee approved the amendments to the bill which had been added earlier in the month which now means that the bill is now past the Senate stage and will go to the House of Deputies for debate.
If the House of Deputies does green light casinos it could have a direct effect on gaming in other jurisdictions on Brazil’s border where a number of projects have been designed specifically to attract Brazilian punters.
In 2015 The Minister for Tourism Minister and President of Paraguay’s Gaming Commission Javier Balbuena signed an interagency cooperation agreement that aims to coordinate action, knowledge, criteria and efforts to promote the development of tourism based around gaming. The agreement will be key in opening up the border areas, such as Ciudad del Este as a tourist destination which would be enhanced through casinos and hotels.