Gaming to be at the service of a touristic project and an important local development.” With this words, the National Director of Casinos, Fernando Nopitsch, summarized the spirit of the aim of gathering private investors to put their money in 24 venues of Casinos del Estado, located in the interior of the country.
In the Ministry of Tourism and together with Minister Héctor Lescano and his counterpart of Economy, Álvaro García, the head of casinos explained the aim of the tender process. "Mixed developments are entended to be performed with particulars in the whole country
-except Montevideo- so there has to be someone willing to make an investment in tourism, commerce, industry or sports.”
Minister García said that the government decided to "frame" in an open and general tender process all the proposals that have arrived from foreign countries to associate with Casinos. The projects will be used to “boost the development of infraestructures in different Places that have to do with tourism, sport, commercial or cultural activities,” said García. With this initiative, the government aims to strengthen sectors that cannot be developed because, in the state, there are “budget problems that involve restrictions to invest in items such as tourism or sports,” assured the head of Economy.
After the presentation of the candidates, a commission will choose the best project. The technical team will be comprised by five members: two from Economy, two from Tourism and one from the City Council involved, explained Nopitsch. In fact, it aims to repeat experiences such as the one in Hotel Casino Rivera, granted by the government last week.
Lescano also pointed that, on top of the “considerable” investment for this department, the local community will obtain another benefit: the covering and heating of the public swimming pool in Rivera square.
The project, that involves an investment of us$ 20 million, will concluye with the construction of a de-luxe four-star hotel, with 60 rooms, swimming pool, a spa and a convention center. The development will generate 120 permanent jobs.
"It is what we want for the whole country,” remarked Nopitsch. By the end of June, the leader said that there were 14 candidates, but authorities are sure that there will be more millionaire projects.
So far, the proposals are focused mainly in the limit with Brazil (Chuy, Acegüa, Río Branco, Laguna Merín), as well as Paysandú, Flores, Florida, Mercedes and Fray Bentos. In the mixed association regime, managers and officers belong to the public sector, so the state is the one that administrates the gaming activity. Besides, the particular party puts the place, the infraestucture, the security and the equipment of the machines (slots, for example). It receives an "interest", it means it will have a "rent that allows or facilitates that investment that is being performed,” pointed Nopitsch.
The director of Casinos pointed that the government does not have the intention that more than one room will be installed per city. In places where there it already exists a casino and several projects are presented, the government will choose just one.
Nowadays, the mixed system is present in seven venues: four belonging to Hípica Rioplatense, and the one that operates in Victoria Plaza Hotel, adisson in Colonia and Mantra in Punta del Este. Numbers consider this “successful” association, because, from the us$ 150 million of income that Casinos del Estado has, a 70% comes from mixed venues.
There are "24 more venues that we are offering for mixed developments,” said the Casino Director, who commented that most of the projects will involve slot halls. Nopitsch said that Nogaró will not participate in the tender, because it has already been granted to Mantra Group.
The hotel is already in the refurbishment process, a development with an estimated cost of us$ 16.5 million. The remodellation of the hotel establishes the construction of two cinemas, a theater, two restaurants and a night club, that will bring employment to 140 people this year. Besides, Mantra, as mixed development, will receive the 40% of the collection of the venue, indicated the leader.
Paysandú and Atlántida are two of the places in which Argentinian television businessman Marcelo Tinelli and its company Ideas del Sur are interested, in order to invest in Casinos del Estado, said an official source. Tinelli would also have participated in the purchase of the 25% of Casino Radisson in Colonia, through the firm Kaskira, but Ideas del Sur desestimated this so far.