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Paraguay – Major changes expected to Paraguayan Gaming Board

By - 15 April 2015

The President of the Paraguayan Gaming Commission (CONAJZAR) Javier Balbuena has called for a number of wide sweeping changes to the way gaming is regulated and for changes to the regulatory board.

Insisting that the government needed to “establish a regulatory body gaming with its own institutions and heritage,” Balbuena met with the President Horacio Cartes where agreement was reached to establish a working group between the Gaming Board and the Executive branch. The changes to the board could also herald a number of significant changes in the way gaming is regulated in the future.

“We need to strengthen the institution and for that we must work on a draft law establishing a regulatory body with its own assets entity and identify,” said Balbuena after the meeting.
He said that in its current form the regulatory body is part of administrative unit of the Ministry of Finance, has no set budget, is not autonomous and that legal counsel is carried out by the prosecution body in the Office of the State Attorney-General’s Office, a system which is not used in other countries.

The project, according to Balbuena, aims to provide greater infrastructure and resources in order to provide a higher level of regulation especially when it comes to slot machines. Balbuena also said he had presented the President with details of the bidding for the national football pools, which has already been awarded, and that it was the first time the process had been carried out without complaints or legal action.

Meanwhile, the governor of Alto Paraná, Justo Zechariah who was a member of the committee which met the President explained that due to the economic movement in Ciudad del Este, several companies have indicated they are interested in opening a second major casino in the capital of the province.
He explained that the second casino in the province would in all likelihood be a Hard Rock Casino. According to Zechariah, there is great expectation for the installation of a second casino in Ciudad del Este as it would generate increase income and jobs. “We are looking for a general policy not to encourage gambling, but to regulate it,” he said.

The announcement that Hard Rock International was planning to install a casino and hotel in the city of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay first came in October last year. The hotel will have 250 rooms while the casino will house 500 slot machines and 30 gaming tables. The decision to launch in Paraguay was, according to local press reports at the time, made after a wide sweeping study was carried out by a team of local specialists who provided advice to the company on marketing, strategy as well as financial planning, government oversight and local gaming laws.

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