6 August 2019
El País Uruguay

Uruguay revives the project to habilitate casinos in cruises

(Montevideo).- A bill sent to the Parliament by the government in 2017 proposed to habilitate the installation of casinos in cruises in Uruguay. After more than two years, the Frente Amplio political party tried to approve it in Commission.

The text was sent in March 2017 with the support of the Ministry of Tourism, the National Administration of Ports (ANP) and the General Direction of Casinos. According to newspaper El País, the project intended cruises to spend more days in Uruguay, understanding that, the longer they stay, the more money will be spent.

In previous months, the National Director of Hydrography, Jorge Camaño, had said that the impossibility of having casinos open was one of the motives for which cruises stayed just a few hours on local ports.

Habilitating casinos "would allow tourists to do other type of visits, to see different shows and, in short, promote Uruguay in a better way and also allow to improve indirect income from the cruise activity," pointed on the motives of the bill.

The issue was included on the order of the day of the session of July 17th of the Commission of Industry, Energy, Commerce, Tourism and Services of the Senate.

The project of the unique article "could be approved today," said ruling party senator Yerú Pardiñas, after saying that he supported the initiative because the authorization of casinos is in "restricted schedules and exclusively for (use) of passengers on board."

President of the Commission, Sandra Lazo (Frente Amplio), said that it targets "a public which, on the current norms, would not be taking as an option our ports."

Álvaro Delgado, from Partido Nacional, said that “just” after two years he took contact with the project and showed his surprise. "I am surprised that it now appears to be voted." he declared.

Finally, senators agreed to study the issue in Commission and cite, for the following sessions, the authorities of the Ministry of Tourism, the ANP and the General Casino Direction in order to listen to their comments on the bill.
A few days ago, the Ministry of Tourism, Liliam Kechichián, said that, between December 2018 and April 2019, 146 cruises arrived in Montevideo and Punta del Este, exceeding last season, registrating 256,000 visitors. For the season 2019-2020 of cruises, she anticipated they expect near 200 cruises.