Fourteen members of Paraguay’s Chamber of Deputies have called on the government to modify articles of the Gambling Law.
The deputies have urged the government to end the privileges of Conajzar, the National Gambling Commission of Paraguay, in granting concessions for gambling licenses.
The deputies signed a proposal seeking to revise six articles of Paraguay’s Gambling Law (8, 11, 13, 21, 22, and 23), stating that Conajzar had exploited its regulatory powers by awarding licenses to Daruma SAM.
As reported by SBC Noticias, the deputies questioned why “Conajzar had been awarding the exploitation of national games such as sports betting, pools, lotteries among others exclusively; that is, monopolistically, to a single company for a period of five years.”
The fallout for Conajzar follows its botched attempt to award a federal concession to operate a sports betting franchise across all Paraguayan provinces.
Conajzar launched a tender at the close of 2022 and immediately faced backlash as bidders questioned why they had been disqualified from submitting applications.
Declaring Daruma SAM as the winner of the sportsbook tender, a consortium of bidders launched a legal challenge and demanded an investigation of the regulator by CONACOM – the competition authority of Paraguay.
The consortium accused Conajzar of deliberately applying the rules of the tender to favour Daruma SAM – Paraguay’s sole sports betting concessionaire that currently operates Aposta.LA betting shops in the capital municipality of Gran Asunción.
Significantly, deputies questioned why Conajzar had been allowed to launch the tender when the Gambling Law provides no context for the regulator to grant federal concessions.
In the filing, deputies stated that Conajzar had infringed the National Constitution of Paraguay, which states: “Every citizen has the right to engage in the lawful economic activity of his or her preference, within a regime of equal opportunities. Competition in the market is guaranteed. The creation of monopolies will not be allowed.”
The investigation of Conajzar was postponed as Paraguay entered general election campaigning in the first half of the year, an outcome which saw Santiago Peña elected as the new President.
Upon taking office, Peña instructed an overhaul of Conajzar, to be overseen by the new President, Carlos Augusto Liseras replacing the ousted María Galván del Puerto.
Daruma SAM has denied all charges that it conspired with Conajzar officials to win the federal sportsbook tender. The company supports Conajzar’s decision, which acknowledged Daruma SAM as the most suitable applicant to manage the concession, valued at $500m.