Lawyers for Italian investors Cipriani made their displeasure with a gambling bill loudly known in Uruguay’s Senate discussions this week.
The Treasury Commission of the Chamber of Senators met to discuss legislation that allows the executive branch to both license online games and casinos directly and authorize operators who already have licences for in-person gaming to move online.
Lawyers for the Cipriani group called the measure “incomplete.” Pablo Monsuárez, its legal counsel, complained in the session that the bill only properly legislates online games of skill and not online games of chance.
“What it is going to generate is that there are players or participants in the market that have clear commercial advantages and without large infrastructures to maintain. It is nothing against a specific company; it would be the same if there were one, two or three companies,” he said, referencing both the ease with which existing operators can enter the online market and the seeming lack of oversight for games of chance.
“There has to be clarity here about the equality of conditions for those who participate, something that has not happened,” said Monsuárez.
He also cited three resolutions from the National Directorate of Lotteries and Quinielas from 2020, calling them “illegal” because they granted the entirety of online gaming to the Bank of Quinielas for “free.”
At the end of last year, the Cipriani group (called Fosara) penned a contract with the Ministry of Economy for the rights to operate a casino for 20 years, which stipulates that it will be able to construct a luxury hotel.
The first stage of investment is worth $200m, and covers the first stage of the hotel and casino, which is still awaiting several approvals before its planning can continue.
Gaming in Uruguay is in the midst of change, and was illegal until recently.
In November 2021, the government introduced legislation to the national parliament that would allow public and private casinos to offer online casino games.