Peru’s Casino Sector on the Mend as Authorities, Casino Groups Hash Out Plans

Peru is beginning to see the end of its fight with COVID-19. That’s clearing a path for the country’s casino industry to launch a return to pre-pandemic operations.

The Fiesta Hotel and Casino in Peru, seen above. The gambling property, and others like it, are now ready to return to full operations. (Image: World Casino News)
The Fiesta Hotel and Casino in Peru, seen above. The gambling property, and others like it, are now ready to return to full operations. (Image: World Casino News)

As of this past Monday, all casinos, restaurants, and other businesses returned to full capacity in Peru. However, the requirement to wear a mask indoors remains in place.

The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR, for its Spanish acronym) reported on Wednesday that it agreed to coordinate actions with the union representatives of the casino sector in order to help it return to normal.

[We] need new tools to recover lost jobs, in addition to providing security for new investments in this area,” states Deputy Minister of Tourism Isabel Álvarez.

Peru’s gaming sector was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. It is expected that its situation will be reversed during 2022, mainly with the expanding of the capacity at casinos to 100%.

Peru’s Casino Industry Ready for Revival

The Deputy Minister of Tourism and the incoming general director of Casino Games and Slot Machines of MINCETUR, Eduardo Sevilla Echavarría, recently met with union representatives from the industry. Representatives from several entities attended, including the National Society of Gambling, the Chamber of Operators of Slots Gaming Machines of Peru, the Chamber of Operators of Slot Gaming Machines, the Peruvian Association of Entertainment and Gambling and the Association of Tourism and Entertainment Centers of Peru.

The consortium has agreed to work on a series of mechanisms so that the businesses they represent can find stable ground. As a result, the initiatives will lead to the creation of thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly.

For its part, MINCETUR is working on improving processes for the granting of permits and audits. It is also focusing on the implementation of ISO certifications, anti-bribery controls, and other measures that will strengthen transparency and governance for the gaming industry.

Tourism Vital to Recovery

Peru relies heavily on tourism. It saw a steady increase in the number of tourists from 1999 to 2019, becoming one of the leading destinations in South America. However, that changed in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2018 and 2019, more than five million tourists visited the country. The following year, that number plummeted to just over one million, according to World Data. Now, the country hopes shaking up its tourism and gaming divisions will help it recover.

Echavarría will replace Manuel San Román Benavente in accordance with a provision of MINCETUR’s oversight. Benavente has served as the head of the General Directorate of Casino Games and Slot Machines since 2006.

The incoming head of the department is the general manager of the National Chamber of Tourism. As such, he is highly knowledgeable about Peruvian tourism, policies, and strategies that can drive growth. Previously, he was National Superintendent of Migrations and worked in MINCETUR from 2012 to 2016.

During that time, one of his titles was National Director of Tourism. Going forward, he will be responsible for virtually all gambling in the country.

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