The mayor of Monterrey Adrián de la Garza Santos has told fellow lawmakers that no casino licences have been granted during his term of office.
The mayor said that casinos had been blocked from opening during his administration via a specific impediment that allows local authorities to intervene to ensure that they do not open.
The mayor was defending his policy when it came to gaming during the latest council meeting for the municipality of Monterrey during which councilman Horacio Tijerina asked that the Mayor show strong leadership when it came to the granting of licences. “I want to ask that this administration acts with a heavy hand when it comes to these establishments,” the councilman said.
The Mayor said that a number of “suspicious” casino licences had been granted under the previous administration of Mayor Margarita Arellanes especially during September and October 2015. He also responded by saying that it had been “a constant battle – there are some suspicious authorisations that were granted at the end of the last administration that we continue to fight and we will continue to fight with that heavy hand you mentioned.”
During a press conference the mayor also addressed the issue of gaming saying that: “This administration has not given any consent, we have received many requests for consent and not one has been given . . . There are many that are trying to reopen and they are showing the authorities (The Ministry of the Interior) procedures that were carried out before, where they make it seem from our point of view, as if there seems as if there is agreement or approval to open,” he said. The Mayor said that two casinos, which are going through a number of legal procedures regarding the laying off of staff, the Miravalle and Red will soon have to close.
The issue of local courts and casinos is one of the most controversial aspects of the Mexican gaming industry and many casinos have in the past been able to remain open or avoid closure after they have sought protection in local courts. The possible reopening of casinos in Monterrey has been particular cause of concern amongst local lawmakers. In 2011 a group of armed men attacked, and then set fire to, the Casino Royale, located in an upmarket neighbourhood of the city of Monterrey, leaving 52 people dead. In August 2016 the mayor made it clear that no new casinos would be allowed to open without his express authorisation within the city limits after rumours began to surface that management of the Caliente group were recruiting staff for the reopening of a casino locally.
Image from De Don Lolo – Trabajo propio, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36292507