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Abandoned Casino Ship in Argentina Docked in Triple Frontier Planned for Renovation

A former casino ship in Argentina that’s been docked in the Iguazu River since 2013 is being targeted for an overhaul.

The abandoned casino ship being considered for refurbishment is seen here docked on the Argentina side of the Iguazu River. The photo is taken from the Brazil side of the riverbank. (Image: Casino.org)

Local media reports say an Argentinian firm called Comercial de Turismo (CTC) wants to restore the eight-story ship that’s been deteriorating for eight years. The vessel is on the Argentinian side of the Iguazu. 

The ship is resting in the region’s Triple Frontier, the tri-border junction of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. The Iguazu and Parana rivers converge at the intersection. 

Without a doubt, it is an unprecedented attraction in the Triple Frontier area, from Paraguay to the world,” Magno Álvarez, an attorney representing CTC, said.

CTC recently acquired ownership of the vacant ship. The company, which is based in Buenos Aires and specializes in hotel development and hospitality, says it will spend $60 million to bring the former casino boat back to life.

Governments Back Project

Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay declared the Triple Frontier a tourism development zone in 2015. The goal is to make the region a vacation destination for residents of all three countries. 

The Frontier is less than five miles south of Brazil’s Foz do Iguaçu. Located in the Brazilian state of Parana, the city is home to Iguazu Falls. With 275 waterfalls, including the longest spanning nearly 270 feet, the falls are some of the largest in the world.

Allowing gambling to commence on the river would ideally make the area even more attractive to potential visitors. 

The ship was built in 1962. It is 300 feet long and 60 feet wide. The original blueprint for the eight-floor vessel included 52 cabins, three swimming pools, several saunas and jacuzzis, solarium, and a fitness studio. The boat had four gaming rooms with table games and slot machines.

Officials in Argentina and Paraguay have said they will assist CTC in moving the casino initiative forward. 

CTC says along with construction laborers, the casino boat will result in around 200 new permanent jobs in the Triple Frontier. 

Area Gambling Laws

Commercial gambling is widespread in Paraguay and Argentina. Brazil is a different story.

Nearly all forms of gambling in South America’s largest country have been banned since 1946. The exceptions are the republic’s state-run lottery and sports betting. Brazil legalized sports betting in late 2018, but the first legal bet has yet to be wagered. Officials are still finalizing specifics that will govern the expanded gambling. 

Waldir Eustáquio Marques Jr., an undersecretary with Brazil’s Ministry of Economy, said in January that he expects sports betting to commence online and at brick-and-mortar shops in 2022. 

Brazil has long been seen as one of the world’s largest remaining untapped commercial gambling markets. Federal lawmakers continue to debate whether to bring casinos to the country, but there is no active momentum currently. 

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