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Uruguay – Plans for two casinos scrapped by government

By - 29 January 2024

The government’s plans to boost tourism through the construction of luxury hotels and casinos in La Paloma in the La Rocha department and the city of Paysandú in the Paysandú department have failed to attract private investors, resulting in both tenders being declared void according to local press.

The process, initiated in August last year with the tender presentation for the La Paloma hotel, was promoted by the Minister of Tourism, Tabaré Viera , who at the time highlighted the initiative as a “significant opportunity” to contribute to the region’s development.

Last year the Uruguayan executive branch also authorised the call for bids for the construction of a hotel and casino in the city of Paysandú. The project, had a planned investment of around US$22m, and would have included an event and convention hall, restaurants, commercial premises and a casino.

The Ministry of Tourism had been working on the development of three hotel projects in the departments of Paysandú, Rocha, and Colonia. However, only the Carmelo project located in the department of Colonia could still go ahead, although the international tender is yet to be launched.

In May last year Viera told local press that there was growing interest in the hotel and casino located in the town of Carmelo. Viera said that there were a number of potential buyers: “There are verbal expressions of interested parties. They have asked, they have requested plans, and others have toured the location.”

According to the minister, the sale had been made possible after the government approved a resolution that wrote off a real estate tax debt generated by the Airemar Corporation. The corporation was in charge of the management of the Hotel Casino Carmelo between 1991 and 2020. The debt with the Municipality of Colonia amounts to 65 million pesos (US$1.65m), and the cancellation request was put forward by the local government, in order to improve the conditions for a future sale of the building which belongs to the ministry.

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