• The San Juan Daily Star

New casinos expected to create 325 jobs next year

The island Gaming Commission plans to open at least three casinos next year with the expected creation of 325 jobs and additional revenue for the bankrupt central government.

By The Star Staff

The Puerto Rico Gaming Commission plans to open at least three casinos on the island next year that are expected to result in the creation of 325 jobs and generate revenue for the bankrupt central government.

The first of the casinos will be part of the entertainment offer of the Condado Plaza Hilton hotel, located in the tourist area of Condado. The commission, in its capacity as regulator of betting and games of chance, granted a franchise and endorsement for the operation of the casino,which is an essential step for the entity to obtain the corresponding final license.

According to data provided by the company to the Gaming Commission, the Condado Plaza Hilton hotel casino will occupy 15,000 square feet of floor space. It will feature more than 300 slot machines and dozens of gaming tables, which will be supervised by the commission under standards of transparency and security for the player and the operator.

The chain’s investment amounts to $33 million and it is anticipated that it will generate around 200 direct jobs.

The other inns and casinos that have requested permits from the Gaming Commission are the Embassy Suites by Hilton hotel, Dorado del Mar Beach Resort in Dorado, and the Tribute FortfolioPonce Grand Casino in Ponce.

According to the data provided in the endorsement petitions, the gaming centers together will occupy 14,300 square feet and will create about 120 jobs. Between the venues, they will have 445 slot machines and 13 gaming tables.

“We will evaluate these requests with rigor and the highest sense of responsibility toward investors, players and the people who will benefit from the reactivation of tourist areas,” said Gaming Commission Executive Director Orlando Rivera.

The official noted that the opening of gaming centers will have a multiplier effect on the economy when the online sports betting system goes into force, which will also be regulated by the commission, and will apply to hotels, inns and casinos. Rivera said the regulation of internet gambling options, currently in the process of being adopted by the regulatory body, will create fertile ground for boosting the island tourism industry, which, prior to the pandemic, generated 86,000 jobs and over $760 million for the treasury.

“We are pleased to contribute to the growth of tourism activity and the economy,” he said. “The casinos that we endorse and control have become centers of entertainment favored by the public. Within the tourism sector they are great generators of employment and their operations will also allow the government to capture income through taxes.”

Rivera added that the island treasury receives more than 50% of the profits generated by slot machines. The money is distributed between the General Fund, the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. and the University of Puerto Rico.

“The plans that the hotels and casinos have presented to the commission demonstrate the confidence that the private sector has in the guarantees offered by the government of Puerto Rico to protect the investment of the public and of the components of the tourism industry,” the official said. “They also predict better times.”

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