Paraguay’s APOJA Scrutinizes Conajzar for Unclear Tender

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Paraguay’s gambling regulator, the Conajzar, recently announced a tender for a nationwide sports betting franchise. However, the gambling industry is unhappy and noted that it should have waited for the government to update Law 1016.

Conajzar’s Tender Was Critiqued by the Industry

The Conajzar announced the tender a week ago. According to the regulator, applicants must pay an $8,700 guarantee to participate. In addition, the authority requires the winning operator to establish a physical presence in Paraguay.

While this bar is fairly low, the Conajzar is yet to announce any other terms and conditions for applicants. According to the country’s gambling trade union, Asociación Paraguaya de Operadores de Juegos de Azar (APOJA), the authority should have been clearer when launching the tender. Furthermore, the regulator should have waited for the government to update Law 1016 as the latter would define the rules for sports betting in the country.   

Law 1016 is Paraguay’s law on gambling. It was last updated in 2015 when the country added clear definitions of online gambling and introduced new laws on casinos and gambling machines. However, Law 1016 is yet to introduce a clear definition of sports gambling and definitive rules on how it should be regulated. Right now, the law states that sports betting is any activity in which a person wagers money on the result of a still undetermined sporting event.

Aníbal Salomón, the president of Paraguayan Chamber of Games of Chance, on the other hand, critiqued the Conajzar for the short time it has provided interested companies with. He noted that 60 days is not enough for companies to get familiar with the requirements and present an offer.

The Regulator Might Favoritize Daruma Sam

The industry is also concerned that the Conajzar failed to establish clear rules on fair competition and transparency. Furthermore, the regulator couldn’t guarantee that the winner would be selected on merits. Some believe that the Conajzar must first establish clear rules that will prevent it from favoring Daruma Sam, Paraguay’s only current sports betting operator.

Despite APOJA’s criticism, Daruma Sam dismissed the favoritism allegations. The operator claimed that it never knew that the Conajzar would launch a tender. In addition, the sports betting company defended the regulator and its right to launch a tender for the national franchise. Daruma Sam pointed out that all gambling licenses should be granted through a public tender offering and therefore the Conajzar hasn’t broken any rules.

However, it is still unclear whether Daruma Sam itself would be able to participate in the race for a national franchise license since the Conajzar is yet to publish the bidding terms and conditions.

A few months ago, Paraguay’s president enacted law 6903, effectively prohibiting non-gambling venues from offering slot machines. Through this action, Paraguay hopes to lower problem gambling and underage gambling rates.

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