Casino proliferation worries authorities of Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Local officers are worried about the current legal voids and the proliferation of other Russian casinos, which are smaller and illegal.

„The current system is a chaos“ said Carlos Bruno, Director of the National Lottery in Santa Cruz and supervisor of gambling and betting business „Once you obtain a license, there is no limit to indicate how many casinos you can open.”

“We have not issued even one license since President (Evo) Morales took office. However, new casinos are being inaugurated all the time. There’s no control“, added Bruno. Critics fear that games of chance will cause an increment of crimes.

According to Director of the National Lottery in Santa Cruz, Bolivian regulations with regards to this matter are full of voids. He said that strict terms of banking privacy and corruption make difficult to determine when a casino has infringed the law. “We know it is probably related to major crimes and that it is changing our city for worse, but no one is willing to face the situation,” pointed Bruno.

The Attorney of Santa Cruz District, Héctor Cornejo, is one of the few people that fight against foreign illegal gambling and betting centers.

Cornejo thinks that the arrival of foreign casinos is part of a bigger problem. „Basically, Santa Cruz has become a little Las Vegas and foreign capital, specially from Russia and Brazil, is bringing organized crime and illegal activities such as money laundering”, said Cornejo.