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Paraguay – Lawmakers could replace gaming law

By - 27 November 2023

Proposed revisions to Paraguay’s gambling law could well lead to a complete overhaul of the way gambling is regulated. Paraguay’s Chamber of Deputies held a public hearing to debate the bill after fourteen deputies presented the bill that aims to change Paraguay’s gambling law (Law No.1,016/97).

The lawmakers headed by Deputy Billy Vaesken put forward a number of modifications that would end the way the law allows for monopolies in certain sectors of the gaming industry. The Legislation and Codification Commission, headed by Deputy Jorge Ávalos Mariño addressed the bill last week.

According to Vaesken, the demonopolization of the gambling industry will bring greater competitiveness, which “will generate sources of work and greater well-being”, in addition to allowing greater revenue for the State.

The hearing was attended by the president of the National Gaming Commission (Conajzar), Carlos Liseras, and other members of chambers and associations of the gaming and pools sector, who agreed on the need for a modification of the law that dates back to 1997.

They asked for far more reaching changes to the way gambling is regulated including a comprehensive review of the old law.

“The modification of the law has to be total, not partial”, the head of Conajzar said who argued that Paraguay’s gambling law was outdated.

Calls have been growing for some time for change. In October Deputy Adrián Vaesken, received a visit from Carlos Augusto Liseras  with whom he discussed the idea of modifying Law No. 1,016/97.

Paraguay’s gaming industry has been plagued for years with allegations of corruption. Casino tenders have failed to materialise while scandals have erupted over successive sports betting tenders, and the granting of slot operator licenses.

The gambling board itself is underfunded and understaffed and successive heads of the board have been asking for more independence and authority for years. In fact the board has been pushing for a bill that would make it an entirely autonomous body since 2014 which would give it its own legal status, its own budget and full autonomy so that it would no longer be part of the Ministry of Finance.

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