The Uruguayan president and other officials recently met to analyze the government’s next steps regarding a new casino resort on the shores of Rocha as all three potential applicants presented subpar offers.
Uruguay is currently involved with several major casino projects. Hospitality group Cipriani has invested more than $450 million in a new megaproject in Maldonado, which is proceeding according to plan and will begin construction by the end of the year. However, the same cannot be said for the other hotel and casino developments in the country. The call for tenders for the Casino Carmelo is delayed, and the project in Rocha is facing difficulties even getting off the ground.
None of the Three Potential Projects Managed to Impress the Government Commission
The government has created a special commission to oversee the Rocha project. The initiative began in September 2020 with a presentation by President Luis Lacalle Pou in the city of Rocha. Since then, the government has laid down the groundwork for the new development.
Remo Monzeglio, interim Deputy Minister of Tourism, stated that three operators had expressed interest in a potential venue. However, two applicants did not meet the required criteria, and their bids were rejected. The remaining proposal by an as-of-now undisclosed operator barely made the cut and also did not receive the rights to the Rocha project.
Uruguay Is Dead-Set on the Project and Is Willing to Consider Alternative Suggestions
Monzeglio explained that the new venue would be a hotel with a private casino in the Municipality of Rocha, located between La Paloma and El Chuy. He clarified that since no company won the initial call for tenders, the commission is open to alternatives, such as a public-private partnership project. The minister noted that the commission would also not dismiss other suggestions. He clarified that all candidates who previously expressed interest would be able to resubmit their proposals.
Monzeglio described the government’s meeting as “very positive” and stated that all parties would continue to cooperate in the search for the best solution so that the project could hopefully be finalized by the end of the year. He added that although there is no need for a five-star establishment, the commission would prefer a more luxurious venue that will exceed the quality of existing hotels in the area.
The government commission has pledged to increase the possibilities for interested companies and ensure that Rocha will receive a project that will benefit the area. There are still some undefined parameters, such as the minimum number of hotel rooms or the sizes of the convention center and the casino. Monzeglio expressed hope that the commission would be able to finalize these conditions within three months.
The Presidency of the Republic recently announced on its official website that Rocha would host a five-star hotel with a casino on the ocean coast of Rocha. This strong government support bodes well for the project, and the commission’s willingness to accommodate bidders will undoubtedly attract additional interest.