The monopoly gambling industry in Paraguay has been struggling to generate the expected level of revenue for the state coffers. And illegal betting appears to be the culprit.
Aposta.la holds the monopoly on sports betting in the small South American nation, and according to reports, has only been able to hand over $4 million annually to the Paraguay government. And, speaking to the media last week, the head of the national gambling regulator, Conajazar, said that the activities of unauthorised betting firms were affecting the take.
Jose Ortiz said that the monopoly was providing around $3.9 million annually to the state coffers. And he singled out one of the main culprits as Crown City, the firm that operates the Apuestasjockey.com site. Crown City is owned by Montego Trading, which had a permit issued by Conajazar until 2018, when the sports betting monopoly was awarded on a five year basis to Daruma Sam S.A, which owns the Aposta.la brand. At the time of that decision, there were suggestions that the previous head of Conajazar had arranged to ensure that the contract went to Daruma Sam.
Montego Trading appealed against the decision, without success. And in August this year, prosecutors charged two of the firm’s employees with illegal gambling. They also charged an executive at Enfield, another company, that continues to provide the Apostamina betting site despite the fact that Aposta.la is the only legal sports betting site in the country.
Ortiz has complained that the regulator doesn’t have the powers to properly combat illegal online betting operators. He has called on lawmakers in Paraguay to do more to update and strengthen laws on gambling that he described as ‘obsolete.’