Posted on: June 14, 2022, 05:27h.
Last updated on: June 14, 2022, 05:27h.
Uruguay is getting support for a new casino from the highest level of government. President Luis Lacalle Pou has been meeting with government officials to explore a venue in the department of Rocha.
Lacalle, Minister of Transport and Public Works José Luis Falero, interim Deputy Minister of Tourism Remo Monzeglio and Rocha mayor Alejo Umpiérrez, met on Monday afternoon. Their goal was to analyze the next steps that the government will take with respect to the promotion of the construction of a hotel with a casino in Rocha.
In September 2020, Lacalle participated in the presentation of the initiative in Rocha’s capital city of the same name. Since then, the government has completed the steps it must follow to explore the possibility, including the search for an operator.
Project Receives Lukewarm Response
Monzeglio told Montevideo Portal that the government issued a request for input from potential operators. As a result, three companies applied but, in two cases, the presentations did not achieve the required qualification.
That left only one potential candidate to present a pre-feasibility plan with more accurate data. Monzeglio didn’t provide the company’s name, but stated that the plan the company presented failed to impress. As a result, none of the three companies received the rights to the project.
Uruguay’s government established a commission to oversee the project from start to finish. This commission comprises representatives of the Municipality of Rocha and the Ministries of Tourism, Economy and Finance.
The project also requires the endorsement of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF). Uruguay’s General Directorate of Casinos belongs to that government entity.
Monzeglio added that the government chose a spot between the cities of La Paloma and El Chuy. There are approximately 89 miles between the two, offering a lot of possibilities.
The interim Minister of Tourism explained that the possibility of opening a call for tenders for the award of a hotel and casino was no longer the only alternative. Among these are a public-private partnership (PPP) project, but the panorama is widening. Because there is no qualified company, there is no impediment for any of the previous candidates, or other entities, to submit proposals.
High-End, But Not Too High-End
The Minister of Tourism, Tabaré Viera, is abroad, so Monzeglio, who has been in charge of the development of this process, is currently acting minister. After Monday’s meeting, he stated that, although there is conviction in the government to continue with the idea, there is no need for it to be a five-star property.
The goal is to bring a hotel to the area that supersedes the quality currently provided by most hotels. Time is a mitigating factor for the completion of the project, though. The commission hopes to have something in place before the end of the year.
The commission needs to define several items of the resort for that to happen. For example, it needs to indicate how many rooms the hotel must have, what the sizes of the convention center and casino will be and more.
Falero, Umpiérrez and Monzeglio agreed with Lacalle to work in the coming days on exploring ways that interested companies have a range of possibilities. In addition, they will put together guidance to ensure the project can offer all of the necessary components to lift up Rocha.
Falero’s participation in the meeting wasn’t just because of the infrastructure implications the project represents. The Ministry of Transport and Public Works has land in Rocha that could be of interest to develop the project.