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Uruguay – Just one bid for Argentino Hotel Casino & Resort in Piriápolis

By - 12 September 2016

Just one bid has been submitted for the tender process launched by Uruguay’s Tourism Ministry, to operate the Argentino Hotel Casino & Resort in Piriápolis.

If the bidding process is not declared void then the current operators of the hotel and casino, Méndez and Pereira Sociedad Colectiva, will continue to be the concessionaire of the casino in and hotel for the next 30 years. The company will pay an annual fee for the casino which will be calculated as a percentage of their yearly income.

The company proposed an investment of US$21m for the entire period as well as a percentage of income from the operation of the casino which is part of the hotel. Unlike before, however, the casino will be run via the mixed system rather than being entirely state owned and run. Via the mixed system the government, in return for 35 to 45 percent of profits, runs the casino while the investor is responsible for equipping and furnishing the casino, overseeing security, and promoting the casino, particularly to tourists.
According to local press reports, the current hotel concessionaire plans around six more years of building work in order to help return the iconic landmark to its former glory while the hotel will remain open. The fee paid by the investor may not be less than 1 per cent of the operating income from the hotel.

Under the terms of the new licence the operator must run a minimum of 180 and a maximum of 220 electronic gaming machines on site as well as five roulette machines, two blackjack tables and two poker tables. 35 per cent of the staff must be Uruguayan.

The opening of the bids was initially scheduled for March 30 but a few days before the deadline this was postponed to September 1 with officials saying that the postponement had been made at the request of several potential bidders.

The tender process for the casino and the hotel in Piriápolis was first announced last December by Uruguay’s Minister of Tourism Lilian Kechichian. The government has already begun work on surrounding infrastructure including the reconstruction of the promenade, the expansion of the port as well as nearby sanitation work and the new hotel operator will be expected to continue with the renovation of the hotel.

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