Conajzar Of Paraguay Expects Economic Setback

The National Commission of Games of Chance of Paraguay (Conajzar) expects revenue will suffer as a result of the country’s suspension of gambling operations.

The regulator insisted that all agencies must follow the directives given by the government to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, with José Ortiz Báez, Conajzar’s president, highlighting the actions of the commission that saw it become one of the first organisations to comply with the March 11 government health decree calling for the suspension of all public and private activities.

The president addressed how Conajzar ‘urged entire sector to comply with the provision in order to minimise the possibility of a spread’ before discussing the fact that the sports betting industry is likely to suffer the most: “It is completely limited because sports activities are suspended all over the world.”

Having said that, Báez also emphasised that other fields of gambling, such as casinos and lottery operators, would also suffer the repercussions of the decree.

Báez predicted that in the first month without operation, verticals with variable taxes will experience a 30 percent to 35 percent setback, whereas segments with a fixed tax — like sports betting — would suffer more.

He added: “The shops have already closed their doors, they were open until March 10, which is 33% of March, thus 66% of the month they will have no activity.”

As a result, Conajzar’s former president and current counsellor to the Chamber of Deputies, Javier Balbuena, addressed how business members are now evaluating different recovery strategies.

Balbuena commented: “Many companies will face negative finances due to the lack of cash flow during the suspension period. This means that they won’t be able to fulfill their monthly financial responsibilities such as wage payments, rent, and the fees for the exploitation of games of chance, among other things.”

The former Conajzar chief also urged the commission to come up with short and medium-term plans which will contribute to the sector’s sustainability.