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Paraguay – Paraguay to launch bidding process worth US$50m to $70m

By - 5 December 2016

Paraguay’s Gaming Board (CONAJZAR) has approved the terms of the bidding process for the new hotel and casino in Ciudad del Este.

The Head of CONAJZAR Javier Balbuena argued that the tender should be launched as soon as possible as Brazil could soon pass its own gaming laws and this could have an effect on any investment in Paraguay’s border with Brazil.

According to the terms of the new bidding process, total investment will stand between US$50m and US$70m and the licence will be granted for 20 years “because otherwise we will not find anyone who wants to invest,” said Balbuena who said that 20 years would give the winning bidder time to recover their investment. The property will stand at 11 hectares in all. “If all goes as planned the call for tender for companies interested in this investment will be in March 2017,” he said.

While a tender process was not originally envisaged it is still positive news for the planned Hard Rock Hotel and Casino which may invest an much as US$70m in building a hotel and casino in Paraguay’s second largest city. However while Mr Balbuena confirmed that Hard Rock was one of the interested parties he did say that a number of other companies from the US and Chile had shown an interest in the project but would not say who they were.

Mr. Balbuena said that the board had been working closely with the Ministry of Tourism and the new casino and hotel was part of the board’s larger policy to encourage the development of tourism based around gaming. The hotel will have a 200 to 300 people capacity hotel and will include swimming polls, shopping as well as other entertainment facilities. Mr. Balbuena dismissed claims that the new hotel would be part of a duty free zone.

The new casino will be located in a building belonging to the headquarters of Paraguay’s National Ports Authority (ANNP) at the head of the Friendship Bridge (Puente de la Amistad) an arch bridge connecting the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu and Ciudad del Este. The building currently also houses a number of government offices including the Customs Office which will move to another site. In November 2015 trade unionists asked a judge to block the move arguing that there was a ban in place which prohibits further development in the area. However, Mr Balbuena defended the location of the new casino and hotel saying that “people have still not realised the benefits that it will bring to the city.”

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