Mario Abdo Benítez, the President of Paraguay, recently signed Law 6903, restricting slot machine gaming outside of gambling halls. Along with this restriction, the contract the country’s regulator Conajzar has with iCrop is now void. iCrop was the slot manager of Paraguay.
Why the Slot Game Restrictions?
With the new law, officials hope to prevent slot machines from being installed in facilities other than gaming halls so children, as well as young people, do not have access to gambling games. As of now, any business that is not a casino or gambling hall cannot install or operate such machines. The president signed the executive order to ensure the protection of children and to prevent gambling addiction from spreading across the country’s provinces.
The legal change also puts municipalities in charge of concessions and permits when it comes to games of chance. The municipalities must work with Conajzar when it comes to gaming. Officials in each municipality will need to review an offer by an interested company that wants to offer slot services and decide if the company is in compliance with regulations.
The new law also gives municipalities the power to fine those who are not in compliance. If several violations take place within one entity, the fine will be multiplied, and all machines destroyed. Games must also operate with controlled prize payments in place.
A database will be created that identifies each player as well as the machine used. The value of the bet will be listed among other details.
Issues Regarding iCrop and Conajzar
The change to slot gaming law in Paraguay came after an issue arose last year regarding Conajzar and iCrop. According to reports, former Conajzar chair Jose Antonio Ortiz Baez signed a contract with iCrop to make it legal for slot games in non-gambling shops.
The regulator does not have the power to change laws and this drew scrutiny towards the gambling industry in Paraguay. The iCrop deal was also scrutinized because the company charges just over $43 a month per game for operation. The contract signed last year was said to allow 50,000 slots that would generate over $2 million in revenues. Around 70% of the earnings would go towards the private company.
Officials worked quickly to bring about the legislation that is now law in the country. The Senate moved first with the Chamber of Deputies approving it as well. Now, the market will be set up with provisions in place for gambling laws and sanctions in place for those who violate regulations.