Posted on: June 8, 2022, 05:49h.
Last updated on: June 8, 2022, 05:49h.
After false starts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Chile’s casino industry is picking up steam. A new gaming property is coming to Pucón, thanks to casino operator Enjoy.
The entrance to one of Enjoy’s casinos in Chile. The operator is inaugurating its latest, Casino del Lago – Enjoy Pucón, in Pucón. (Image: Europa Press)
A month after the completion of the works and after the inspection by the Superintendence of Gaming Casinos, the new casino received approval to operate. The state ministry authorized the start of operations to Casino del Lago – Enjoy Pucón last Friday.
With the certifications in place, plus the verification of the legal and regulatory obligations necessary for its operation, the new Pucón casino becomes the third gaming venue in the area. The future addition of more amenities later this year will make it more competitive against those options.
Government Takes a Significant Cut
Enjoy has to be ready to give up a significant portion of the operations. It must pay the VAT on the gambling and the tax on entry fees (many casinos in the country charge a fee to enter the property). These provide revenue for Chile’s general fund.
There is another tax, equivalent to 20% of the casino’s gross collection. This revenue, which the community of Pucón and the regional government split 50/50, finances development works in the surrounding communities.
In addition, Enjoy must pay the Municipality of Pucón, during the 15 years of validity and operation of its permit, a guaranteed annual economic offer of 121,000 units of account. This corresponds to the amount offered and through which the company received its operating permit in June 2018. Considering the current rate of exchange of the unit, the value is US$4.8 million.
The casino has received authorization to get started because it met all of the requirements; however, there are caveats attached to the inauguration. The start of operations of the casino must comply with the sanitary measures the government has established to combat COVID-19. These include the use of face masks, mandatory social distancing, capacity reductions and more.
Finding its Niche
Casino del Lago has 500 slot machines, 18 card tables, a craps table, eight roulette tables and 24 bingo positions. In addition, it has a restaurant, a bar, a lounge and an entertainment room.
The property will see further expansion to increase its appeal. These include a 5-star hotel, a convention center, a museum, commercial premises and an amphitheater, among others. Per its agreement with the government, Enjoy must complete the expansion by October 11 of this year.
The project of this new Pucón casino dates back four years, when Enjoy won the tender to operate it. However, the process was marred by delays of different kinds. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the operator had to halt development.
Subsequently, it obtained an extension of just over two months on the deadline set for construction. Then, Enjoy requested authorization to apply modifications to the initial proposal, including changes to its design and completion of all amenities. Approval of these modifications was also slow to arrive.
Initially, Enjoy planned on inaugurating the casino in June of last year. Because of the delays, however, the schedule changed, and it pushed back the launch date by seven months. Now, a year later, it is finally able to welcome gamblers.