Paraguay’s Gambling Regulator Launches Tender for Legal Sportsbooks

The National Gambling Commission of Paraguay (Conajzar, for its Spanish acronym) is looking for sports betting operators. The call comes as the gaming regulator faces headwinds over previous failures.

Paraguay sports betting
Paraguay sports betting
The headquarters of the South American Football Confederation in Luque, Paraguay. Sports is big business in the country, which now hopes to add new sports betting operators through a public tender. (Image: Getty Images)

Conajzar initiated a call for public tenders sports betting, with exclusivity throughout the country. It has published notices in several newspaper outlets across the country in order to spread the word.

The announcements do not specify whether the call for tenders is national or international. However, they indicate that bids may be submitted by 10:00 AM on October 31. On that date, Conajzar will open the bids and announce the potential participants.

Low Bar to Entry

Those entities that want to participate will need to pay PYG60 million (US$8,670) just to consider the option. That non-refundable amount gets them Conajzar’s Specifications and Conditions for the sports betting market.

Once all the applications are in, the regulator will evaluate the firms. They will look at the amount of the fee and guarantee their offer, their financial and legal capacity, and the background and experience in the gaming industry.

Paraguay is trying to generate a regulated, well-oiled sports betting market. However, for various reasons, it continues to face obstacles that make it difficult.

Late last year, shareholders of Daruma Sam SA, operating as sportsbook Apostala, spoke to the media about Conajzar’s oversight of the sports betting industry. They questioned the lack of action by the Conajzar for failing to crack down on illegal sports betting operations.

The company pointed out that it had filed several complaints with the regulator. However, Daruma Sam never received a response. Company officials highlighted that there was only inaction on the part of Conajzar, which should represent them.

Daruma Sam also struck out at online betting. It added that Conajzar didn’t do enough to push for the regulation of the online segment, which still remains largely unregulated.

Forgetting the Past

The call also comes amid an investigation into corruption and tax evasion in the management of gambling in the country. Specifically, Conajzar’s alleged deal with iCrop to reduce gaming fees and allow slot machines in prohibited places is on the table.

Prosecutors are going after seven of the eight people in the case. So far, the judge in the case has not resolved the matter. There was to be a preliminary hearing recently. However, several defendants found excuses to push it back. Using reasons such as general health to family problems, they filed an appeal for delay and won.

The defendants are Rubén Antonio Roussillón Blaires, a member of Conajzar, and Carmen Corina Alonso, head of the Directorate of Charity and Social Assistance, and pre-candidate for the Senate for the Colorado Party (official). Despite the accusations, the individuals have continued in their positions.

In addition, former authorities of the regulator face allegations of wrongdoing. These include José Antonio Ortiz Báez, Omar Rodrigo Mongelós González, Raúl Mariano Silva Busto, Ricardo Núñez Giménez, and Horacio Cartes.

Also included is the director of TDP SA, Álvaro Wasmosy Carrasco, the son of former president Juan Carlos Wasmosy. The company facilitates the National Lottery, which faces allegations it colluded with Conajzar to rig lottery draws.

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