Hector Luna, Country Manager for leading Spanish gambling operator Codere in Argentina has denied recent press reports that the company was planning to quit the market.
Luna said that “company officials learned of the news from the papers, as no reporter made contact with them and none of them made statements of this nature.”
Argentinean gambling news reports of Codere’s rumored exit surfaced earlier speculating that the operator had difficulties moving its profits out of the country to meet financial obligations elsewhere.
As the operator of 14 bingo halls in Buenos Aires province, the company holds 50% of the regional market. Codere operates 34,000 slot machines, 86 bingo halls, 39 sports betting shops, two racetracks, as well as several casinos around the world, but both in terms of volume and profits these 14 bingo halls are a significant part of the company’s portfolio.
There are many people who like to play bingo in Argentina, and considering that Codere’s concession has recently been extended until 2027, Argentinian bingoheads are likely to present a rewarding customer base for the company for the next 14 years. This indeed casts serious doubts on any possible exit plans.
Regardless of the veracity of the rumors, however, the issue of Codere being unable to take its Argentine profits abroad remains real, and it remains to be seen whether the situation will somehow be resolved.
At the same time there has been talk of possible nationalization of the industry, at the demand of trade unions.
Since these things all depend on national regulations, these “unfounded rumors” may have even been started by someone from the company, in order to send a very public message to the Argentinean administration
Argentinean gambling laws are among the most permissive in the region and a reversal by the government would certainly go against international trends.