The number of investors that bet to games of chance is growing
Gambling venues have proliferated in the country, and a proof of that is that Bolivia National Lottery (Lonabol) received an average of an application license every two days. In the last 36 days, it received 20 applications, according to the legal director of the institution, Rafael Amador.
“We did not pass them because they did not comply with the requirements. People believe that it is just to present a letter, but more documents are needed.” He assured.
Among the requirements that applicants should present, there is a record on legal backgrounds, a note to certify that applicants do not have debts, the subscription to Fundempresa, NIT, the constitution of a society and a commitment to comply with the law and the contracts.
Amador explained that there are national investors who aim to open gambling venues in the country, and some applications have been presented in previous governments.
Besides, Álvaro Antelo, executive director of Lonabol, pointed that there is an interest in investing in Bolivia, but activities should be within the law. “We know there are foreign capitals interested in this activity, but they have not performed a formal application”, he pointed.
Former director of Lonabol, Laura Encinas, said that the proliferation of gambling houses is due to the contracts signed in 2002 and 2005. There is a clause that allows the activity to develop at a national level and it does not limit the number of machines or venues.
Encinas was removed from her position due to a report of the special audit issued by General Government Watchdog’s Office. Besides, the Minister of Health presented a formal accusation before the Public Ministry against her.
A proof of the growth of the business is that Bingo Bahiti will open two new venues in La Paz this year and has three openings pending –one in Potosí, another one in Oruro and a third one in Pando-, with investments in which millionaire figures have not been revealed.
In Bolivia only casinos are forbidden, but games of chance, draws and bets are allowed. Representative Bernardo Montenegro reported that there are approximately 200 illegal gambling venues in the country, and he believes there is not an effective control by the lottery.
Gary Prado, local director of the Consumer Defense, indicated that economy of big cities such as Santa Cruz attracts these investments and games, such as poker or “loba”, may probably be part of the character of the People of Santa Cruz.