Chile awards final three licenses

The gaming board of Chile – the Superintendencia de Casinos de Juego – has awarded the remaining three casino licenses to three separate operators.

Two of the chosen companies are local Chilean operators Rantrur S.A. (Enjoy) and Casinos de Juego de Coyhaique S.A. (Fischer). The third license goes to Casinos Austria International.

The largest project is the Enjoy casino in Castro, in the Los Lagos region. The USD 38.7 million project calls for a casino with 16 tables and 230 slots, plus 72 bingo terminals. A five-star hotel with 64 rooms is planned, along with a restaurant, convention space, theater, sports center, a museum and local crafts center and more.

The Fischer casino in Coyhaique, in the Aysen region, will have 10 tables, 150 slots and 76 bingo terminals. A small five-star hotel with 20 rooms and amenities similar to the Enjoy project will bring the investment to USD 19.7 million.

The third project is the Casino Gran Ovalle, a USD 17.9 million effort from Casinos Austria International. The casino will have eight tables and 180 slot machines, with 40 bingo terminals.

Also included in the complex are four restaurants, a pub-disco, a four-star hotel with 60 rooms, state-of-the-art conference facilities and an assortment of amenities that include an amphitheater and movie theater. Total investment is put at USD 17.9 million.

The Ovalle casino is Casino Austria’s second property in Chile. The casino at Los Angeles opened recently (see page 6). The Austrian firm has five casinos in Argentina.

“We are delighted to have been awarded the concession for the new casino in Ovalle,” said Paul Herzfeld, CEO of Casinos Austria International. “Chile has one of the most stable and prosperous economies in South America, and we are looking forward to building on our experience in Los Angeles in this exciting new project.”

The three projects are expected to generate 1,146 jobs directly and another 1,519 indirectly by 2011. Together with the 15 casinos authorized in 2006, the industry is expected to create 9,453 jobs and another 16,968 jobs indirectly.

Total expected investment in the casino industry now comes to USD 711 million. Foreign capital accounts for 53.4 percent of that amount.

Peru, where casinos are lightly regulated and widespread, is expected to consider the Chilean example of legitimatizing the gaming industry by tight regulation and limited licenses.