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According to Paraguayan Gaming Operators, Money Laundering is Caused by Regulations

The operators of gaming establishments in Paraguay declare they would do whatever to avoid money laundering. They claim, however, that present banking and gambling restrictions prevent them.

Yesterday, gaming industry representatives gathered for the Fifth Conversation on Gambling reunion. The Paraguayan Chamber of Gambling, the Association of Gambling Operators, and the Association of Gambling Entrepreneurs were among the attendees. Also present were local and international businessmen and specialists.

The conference is an annual event that aims to refine gaming activities in Paraguay and define laws and boundaries. Despite the significance of the conference, no one from the National Gambling Commission (Conajzar in Spanish), the country's gaming regulator, was there.

It Is Time To Purge Gambling

The topic on money laundering and the need for the business to improve its image was a highlight of the day. Several delegates expressed a willingness to help to this struggle, but stated that it is almost difficult due to government restrictions.

A consultant in the gaming sector in attendance, Luis Mario Rojas, mirrored the opinion. He went on to emphasise that, according to its own principles, Conajzar does not deem it necessary for enterprises to be answerable to the regulator in terms of money laundering prevention.

Many attendees felt that the absence of Conajzar revealed the regulator's intentions. The meeting was attended by even representatives from the country's Secretariat for the Prevention of Money Laundering.

Several former Conajzar associates, including former leader José Antonio Ortiz Báez, were prosecuted for questionable transactions. A gaming operator with a dubious record and nearly no credentials was granted a licence to install machines in prohibited areas.

This question of how to prevent money laundering through gaming in Paraguay has been on the table before the National Congress for nearly a decade. It even appeared in a conversation involving a Financial Action Task Force of Latin America review committee (Gafilat, for its Spanish acronym).

These conversations allowed operators to collaborate with the National Development Bank on the payment of royalties to Conajzar and other commitments. They cannot, however, operate with private banks.

Conajzar “Overwhelmed”

Conajzar stated that it is "overwhelmed" with work and unable to send any representatives. This is the same explanation it has provided for why it hasn't been able to update the mandatory list of licenced gaming companies on its website and why it cannot locate the names of the individuals associated with those companies.

This is also why the introduction of new laws for the operation of slot machines has taken longer than anticipated. Since the administration passed new legislation six months ago, absolutely little progress has been made.

In addition, it has contributed to the late conclusion of the nation's sports betting tender process. The concession was finally awarded to the incumbent, Daruma Sam, and its Apostala brand, which will maintain exclusivity for an additional five years.



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