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Uruguay – Uruguay Gaming Federation opposes bill that allows casinos on cruise ships

By - 25 September 2019

The National Federation of Uruguayan Gaming (FENAJU) has issued a statement in which it rejects the approval of the bill that authorises cruise ships to operate casinos when arriving in national ports. Deputies in the Chamber of Deputies have already approved the legislative initiative, which is intended exclusively for passengers on board ships.

The Federation said that it was surprised by the “lightness” with which the debate had already been “dispatched” in the lower house.

FENAJU argued that the new project amounts to a privatisation of gaming and highlighted the fact that the Tourism Commission of the House of Representatives decided to revoke the appearance of FENAJU, so that they were denied the possibility of speaking out on the issue.

In a statement the organisation said that it wanted to “expresses our rejection of the style and ways in which this issue was and is treated, and warn that this project amounts to a privatisation of gaming, freely granted to operators in the sector, providing no constraints.

“On the other hand, and even more serious, the activity of gaming on cruise ships (subject to our jurisdiction) will be carried out without any control and supervision by the State agencies dedicated to the subject in question.”
The organisation warned that it will be monitoring the bill closely as it is debated in the Senate.

In August the governing party of Uruguay (Frente Amplio) decided to put forward a law emitted by the Executive Power in 2017 which would allow casinos in cruise ships to operate while they are moored in Uruguayan territorial waters.
The text was first put forward in March 2017 with the support of the Ministry of Tourism, the National Administration of Puertos (ANP) and the Directorate General of Casinos.

According the Minister of Tourism, Liliam Kechichián, between December 2018 and April 2019 146 cruise ships arrived in Montevideo and Punta del Este, surpassing the previous season and registering 256,000 visitors. Around 200 cruise ships are expected for the 2019-2020 season.

In January 2017 Carlos Camaño the Director of National Hydrography in Uruguay, a government department which oversees port activity and maintains and develops local waterways, first told press that a bill was being prepared which would allow for casinos in cruise ships to remain open when they arrived in both the ports of Montevideo and the Atlantic resort of Punta del Este. The new law would also allow cruise ships to remain longer and would as a result increase tourist spend in Uruguay.

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