strong>Argentina’s iconic Casino de Necochea finally reopened on January 14th after three years of closure. However, even now that the casino is operational again, it could be up for sale. Mayor Arturo Rojas confirmed this fact during the casino opening, and also referred to the event as a special occasion for the community.
Necochea’s famous casino has finally reopened after years of struggle. Eyestetix Studio/Unsplash
A long-awaited reopening
The casino in Necochea, Argentina was reopened with a special event on January 14th featuring an honorary first spin of the roulette wheel. Several important members of the local community were present for the inauguration event, including Mayor Rojas.
Also present were Omar Galdurralda, who presides over the Provincial Institute of Lottery and Casinos for Buenos Aires as president, as well as the president for the Association of National Casino Employees, Marcos Labrador. AMS secretary Robert “Chucho” Paez was in attendance, alongside members of the Directive Commissions, the Gaming Department, and the Director of Casinos Zone I.
Several other administrators working in the gaming field were also there for the event as well as members of the public. All were invited to enjoy the festivities together, plus several brief speeches by those connected with the casino’s reopening, the local government and gaming administrators like Jorge Sckokzdopole.
Mayor Rojas spoke about the casino’s significance for Necochea. Though the casino has been under disrepair for many years and has been completely closed for three, its building was a “postcard” image for the city’s locals, and a major draw for tourism, according to Rojas.
He spoke about how important it is to keep the Necochea Casino Complex going, ideally with new owners who could take over the transformation of other parts of the building. This is the next step for the area, with potential to build hotels, apartments, restaurants and entertainment venues for visitors.
In order for this to happen, the casino — particularly control of its slot machines — must be sold to an operator that would pledge to invest in its development. Local administrators have this goal in mind, which means the bidding process will likely open shortly.
Why did Necochea take so long to reopen?
The famous casino has had many ups and downs over its storied history. First opened in 1973 and nicknamed the “White Elephant” due to its bulbous, white facade, the casino suffered from three different fires over the decades.
Though the casino survived many issues, the last fire caused enough damage to close it permanently. The complex lay dormant for the last few years and was sometimes the subject of vandalism. Mayor Rojas explained that the building had gone from a symbol of positivity in the city to a symbol of abandonment, and that this image needed to change.
Though initial attempts to sell and redevelop the casino were in vain, partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, construction did eventually start towards the end of 2022. Maintenance work was undertaken by the Vicoli Company and completed in time for the 2023 summer season opening. During this month, many casinos in Buenos Aires celebrate the start of the season with official events, like the one at Necochea.
However, more work remains to be done within the complex, and attempts to sell ownership of the entire property have been unsuccessful. Though part of the casino is at least operational now thanks to the efforts of local gaming authorities and the municipal government, Necochea’s White Elephant may still have another chapter ahead if and when it finds the right operator.
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