By Carlos A. Fonseca Sarmiento (Varela & Fonseca Abogados)
On June 6, 2012, the Official Gazette of Venezuela published Administrative Rule No DE-2012-001 of the National Casino Commission of Venezuela prohibiting the importation of slot machines for three more years. Likewise, granting licenses to slot machine companies to import, distribute, assemble, and sell slot machines has also been prohibited for three more years.
The justification for this decision is that currently in the country there are a greater number of slot machines than are authorized for operation in casinos or slot parlors. Therefore, the Commission has decided that it is unnecessary to authorize new importations to increase the number of slot machines in Venezuela. What the Commission has failed to recognize is that the technology in slot machines is rapidly changing in a manner that permits the government to more effectively regulate the casino industry. As a result, the casino industry is unable to import the latest, technologically superior slot machines currently available in the North American market.
Currently in South America, the importation of slot machines is illegal in Ecuador, Brazil, and Venezuela.