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Chile – Regional council votes against Boldt-Peralada for third time

By - 2 December 2015

The Regional Council of Bio Bio has rejected the proposal put forward by the Argentine -Spanish Boldt-Peralada group for the third time for a casino in the capital of the province of Ñuble; one of four provinces of the Chilean region of Bío Bío.

The council was forced to vote again after a court invalidated the previous two ballots. The company may well appeal the decision after the the lawyer representing Bold-Peralada, Ricardo Abdala did not rule out going back to the Court of Appeals of Concepción to contest the decision, which if accepted could bring the process to a fourth ballot.

Nineteen members of the Council voted against the project and showed support once again instead for the project of its rival: Chilean-Canadian operator Marina del Sol. The vote of the 28 directors of the council stood at 19 votes against the Spanish-Argentine consortium, 6 in their favour and three abstentions. The Regional Council has the power to decide on 300 points of the tender process.

Mr Abdala expressed his belief that lawmakers had once again exceeded their powers as stipulated by Chile’s gaming law. In July 2014 a court put the tender process on hold after Bold-Peralada appealed to a local court claiming that the Regional Government had gone beyond its remit when awarding it 0 points while awarding 300 points to Marina del Sol. Lawyers for the company were able to argue successfully that instead regional councillors should have confined themselves to voting on specific points revolving around the destination of the project only and how it would fit in with overall regional strategy as opposed to specific technical points when it came to each project.

After the vote last week Mr Abdala said: “We had hoped that after all the records had been put forward that the Regional Government was going to understand how it should vote, however having heard the vote and the way it which it was explained I have come to the conclusion that there are no guarantees of impartiality . . .”

President of Marina del Sol Nicolas Imschenetzky, however, said that the Regional Council had voted in compliance with its legal remit and had voted in a way that was consistent with the guidelines put forward by the Chilean Gaming Control Board (SJC).

The results of the Regional Council will now be presented to Mayor Rodrigo Díaz as well as the SJC. The SJC will then present its findings to its Resolution Council – an external body chaired by the Undersecretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Tourism, the Superintendent of Securities and Insurance, the regional governor and two independent directors nominated by the President.

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