Paraguay’s Conajzar foresees economic setbacks

The National Commission of Games of Chance of Paraguay (Conajzar) estimates that revenue will suffer as a consequence of the shutting down of gambling activity in the country. 

The regulator insisted that all entities must follow the government’s instructions to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, with José Ortiz Báez, President of Conajzar, highlighting the commission’s actions that saw it become one of the first organizations to comply with the government’s health decree from March 11, which called for the suspension of all public and private activities. 

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

With that being said, Báez also stressed that other gambling sectors, such as casinos and lottery operators, will also suffer the consequences of the decree. 

Báez estimated that verticals with variable taxes could experience a 30% to 35% setback in the first month without activity, while segments with a fixed tax —such as sports betting— will suffer further. 

“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,” he added.

As a result, Javier Balbuena, former head of Conajzar and current advisor to the Chamber of Deputies, has discussed how industry representatives are already analyzing different recovery strategies.

Speaking to SBCNoticias, 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 leader also urged the commission to come up with short and medium-term plans that contribute to the sustainability of the sector.