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Paraguay – Deputy demands answers over gambling bill

By - 26 September 2022

Deputy José Rodríguez demanded that the National Gambling Commission (Conajzar) move forward with the regulation of the slot sector in Paraguay.

Law No. 9,603 was approved by the National Congress to establish clear regulations on slot machines in Paraguay. In April, the Executive Power promulgated the norm, but it was never regulated and the government had ninety days to put the new law into action.  This has now elapsed.  

The lawmaker questioned Conajzar over for the lack of response to his request for further information. The lawmaker stated that Conajzar had the responsibility to put the new law into action while Conajzar said that the responsibility lay with the Paraguayan Organization for Intermunicipal Cooperation, which, in turn, said that it was Conajzar which had responsibility.

The bill bans slots outside slots of specially legalised gambling zones such as casinos and slot parlours. The bill aims to prevent access of minors to slot machines after slots began to appear in small businesses and shops.  It should have a major impact on how slots are regulated and ended the agreement between Conajzar and slot operator iCrop.

Crucially it would have given more authority to local municipal governments over how gambling is regulated as well. 

In July 2021 senators argued that Conajzar’s contract to permit slot machines outside of casinos and slot parlours via its agreement with iCrop had been a way of bypassing local gambling laws and legalizing them. Conajzar had hired local route operator directly and granted it the power to register, regulate and collect the fees. The company kept 76 per cent of the business profits in return. There are around 23,000 slot machines now operating in different types of businesses.

The deputy also criticised the monopoly of pools and sports betting, in the context of the recent tender arguing that the condition that sports betting be operated under a monopoly be reviewed.

The lawmaker also asked the government led by Mario Abdo Benítez to consider all the accusations of corruption that have been aimed at the industry. In January a judge stated that all of the members of the Conajzar faced charges of fraud. The officials were accused of breach of trust and the usurpation of public functions. The public prosecutor’s office argued that many irregularities had been discovered regarding both the licensing process for slot machines, reduced fees and the licensing of quiniela games. 

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