The licensing process for the construction of a Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in the city of Ciudad del Este, will be initiated in the first half of this year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Paraguay, Gustavo Leite.
“We want a hotel with over 200 rooms, and which has parking for at least 2500 cars. We want something that will transform Ciudad del Este,” the Minister said during a press conference at the Presidential Palace. The Minister added that in terms of scale the casino will be something similar to which is “operating internationally and in Las Vegas. We want our neighbours to invest in the country the most, it is a time when they are looking a lot at this country and everyone is welcome.”
The Minister made the announcement after a meeting with a group of investors from The Latin American Gaming Group – a group associated with the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino brand and added that the government wanted to supplement the industrial area of Ciudad del Este with an entertainment area for tourists.
“The government can only provide clear rules, as you know a casino and hotel of this magnitude cannot be granted without a transparent bidding process. We want a first class hotel, which prevents money laundering, and we want global operators,” he said.
Hard Rock International first announced plans to install a casino and hotel in the city of Ciudad del Este in 2014. The hotel will, it is believed, 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, made after a wide sweeping study was carried out by a team of local specialists who provided advice on marketing, strategy as well as financial planning, government oversight and local gaming laws. Ciudad del Este is the second largest city in Paraguay and the capital of the Alto Paraná Department, situated on the Rio Paraná.
There has, however, been some controversy regarding the planned location of the casino and hotel. Last November it was announced that the casino would be located on land belonging to the headquarters of Paraguay’s National Ports Authority (ANNP) which has become increasingly abandoned. However trade unionists have asked a judge to block the move arguing that there is a ban in place which prohibits further development in the area.