Chile’s Natales Casino Opens Bids

Natales, a Chilean commune, has reopened the bidding process for the management of a casino in its borders. The project has had some false starts; it is now the third time the commune has sought to find a suitable operator for the project, but they remain hopeful that they will be successful this time. Bids are open now but the final hearings for the project will not take place until mid-October, 2023, meaning there is still a good deal of time for interested parties to find out the terms of the bid and place their offers.

The SCJ is seeking a new operator for the Municipal Casino of Puerto Natales, Chile.
©S. Vanessa Flores/Unsplash

Important dates for prospective operators

The call for tenders, otherwise known as the bidding process, has begun in Natales. Prospective operators were able to download the relevant information for the bid as of June 1, when it was updated and approved by the Superintendence of Gaming (SCJ) via the Exempt Resolution No. 406.

Interested parties had until June 22 to ask any clarifying questions in response to the bid information. The SCJ is obligated to respond within 15 business days. This still gives much time for the bids to be prepared, as they are not due until the day before the hearings, on October 18 of this year.

Details of the bid

Specifications have been laid out for those interested in taking over operation of a casino in Natales. For one, it is stipulated that the minimum economic offer is UF 5,000, the equivalent of $229,008 USD. The new operator must also agree to keep on 80% of the current staff.

As well as looking inward at the effect on local employment, the process looks outward at the effects of the casino on tourism outreach. With this aim, the new operator must show a willingness to invest in the development of tourism in Natales via the casino or adjacent projects. This investment has a price tag of a minimum UF 3,000 or $137,405 USD.

History of the Natales casino operation

Natales first sought to find a new operator for its casino in 2017. It opened the bidding process accordingly. However, despite interest from both Dreams and Enjoy, no operator ultimately put its bid forward for the project.

The municipal government was left slightly stumped for some time. To respond to the lack of proposals, it reevaluated the terms of the bid to open it up to more prospective operators. Unfortunately, there were still no suitable bidders and the first extended call for tenders concluded in June 2018.

Those creating the guidelines determined that the guaranteed economic offer — essentially the investment fee the operator would pay for the right to operate the casino and collect revenue — might be too high. Originally it was placed at UF 14,000, the equivalent of about $641,000 USD.

During the second bid attempt which started in 2019, the guidelines were changed further. The offer was reduced to UF 13,000 per year. The rule to keep 80% of current staff was maintained. The original call had asked for the building of a 300-person capacity events center, which was scrapped in the second call.

The second bid also stipulated that the operator should invest UF 1,000 (about $45,900 USD) per year in works on the commune’s green spaces. Despite all of the changes, no new bids were put forward. The Municipal Casino of Natales was the only casino to not fully reopen, after the pandemic, as of August 2021.

For the sake of tourism and the promotion of the economy in the Puerto Natales area, the SCJ is diligent about finding a new operator for this casino. In addition, all of Chile’s casino operators went through a license renewal process between 2021 and 2022. 10 casinos were granted licenses to continue operations.

Source: Read Full Article