ENJOY, VINA DEL MAR WORKING THROUGH THE KINKS IN CHILE

Javier Martinez, general manager of Chilean casino operator Enjoy, is optimistic his company will be able to reach a deal with the city of Viña del Mar to allow its landmark casino to stay there.

The casino, located near the capital of Santiago and once the most popular gambling destination in the country, is one of several older casinos whose licenses will not be renewed under the regulations that created Chile’s 18 new casinos. Instead, these licenses, which were granted locally, will be put up for bid by the new national gaming authority.

The older casinos generally pay higher tax rates than the new venues, even while they suffer from the increased competition - unfair competition, as they see it - and this is a major sticking point for Enjoy.

Viña del Mar wants the revenue stream, so it wants to keep the casino in town as well, and officials have petitioned the federal government to extend the license. Lowering the tax rate is another matter, however, and the negotiations have not been easy.

“We do not have to expect luck to knock on the door, but we have to search for it,” Martinez said in a recent interview with Chile’s El Mercurio.

“I think the issue of the important resources currently generated by casinos is a subject that also has to be solved because there will be a problem with the [local] councils, which are structured with a budget and count on that,” he said. “The truth is that casino incomes are very important not only for Viña but for all city councils. I believe these issues have to be solved and, once it is defined, we, as operators, will have to make the best proposals to keep on working in the markets where we want to be.”

He said Enjoy plans to submit a strong bid to stay in Viña del Mar.

“We are from Viña, and we will make the best proposal for the city,” he said.

In all, though, he hailed the new regulations and the vibrant and competitive new casino industry that is emerging in the country.

“I think there will be a new and important industry in the entertainment and tourist sector in the country,” he said. “I think the competence is good, it is good for everyone, and here is where we are going to see who is up to the task.”

REGULATORS GATHER FOR GLI CONFERENCE

GLI South America hosted dozens of regulators from across Latin America last month at its 2nd Annual Regulators Roundtable.

The much-anticipated gathering of lottery, casino and bingo regulators was held in Buenos Aires on September 15.

Speakers included Bill Treger, GLI’s senior director of jurisdictional development, Karen Sierra-Hughes, development director for GLI Latin America, and Director of GLI South America Javier Diaz.

Specialists from GLI South America gave presentations on an array of important topics: “The Role of the Certification Laboratory; Case Studies; Online Control Systems and Auxiliaries for Management and Control; Forensic Activity and the Regulatory Framework; Inspection, Certification and GSA Standard Auditing; Server-Based Gaming and Wireless Gaming”; and “Network Security”.

Last year’s inaugural Roundtable was attended by nearly 40 regulators.

Gaming Laboratories International operates 13 testing facilities in eight countries serving some 400 jurisdictions and is the only laboratory of its kind to hold both U.S. and international accreditations for compliance with ISO 17025 and 17020 standards for technical competence in testing and inspection services.

POKER TOURNEY SEES BRAZIL BEAT RIVAL ARGENTINA

Brazil versus Argentina, the biggest rivalry in South American football, spread to the poker table in a hotly contested $250,000 PokerStars Americas Cup of Poker tournament that concluded last month with a victory by Brazil.

Six-player teams from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and the United States, the survivors of an original field of 16 nations, squared off in Bariloche, Argentina, for the $100,000 grand prize.

Brazil’s Alexandre Gomes overcame Costa Rica’s Humberto Brenes and Argentina’s Leo Fernandez beat Canada’s Darius Suharto to set up the final contest.

As fate would have it, Brazil and Argentina squared off at the same time the two countries were battling in a World Cup qualifier.

Brazil ultimately would take both.

Lawmakers weigh legalization in Brazil

A bill to bring back legal bingo, machine games and other games of chance in Brazil was approaching a critical legislative hurdle last month with the Constitution and Justice Commission of the Chamber of Deputies scheduled to study the bill prior to voting on it.

If approved by both the Chamber and the Senate and signed by President Luiz da Silva, the measure would authorize one bingo or gaming hall for every 150,000 inhabitants, so there could be as many as 1,000 nationwide, according to unofficial calculations.

At that number it is expected they would employ about 320,000 people.

The measure would require operators to pay a 17 percent tax on winnings. This would be divided between the states, which will receive 53 percent, the federal government, which will receive 30 percent, and 15 percent would be earmarked for health programs and 2 percent to cultural and sports programs.

The Brazilian Bingo Association estimates the state and federal governments would collect US$3.2 billion a year.