Puerto Rico – Dorado del Mar Beach Casino closes in Puerto RicoBy Phil - 22 September 2014
Another casino has been forced to close in Puerto Rico leaving 53 people jobless after it was announced that the casino at the Embassy Suites Dorado del Mar Beach Resort would no longer be open for business.
Owned by the Hilton Hotel and Resorts chain, the closure is the third casino to close in the last five years on the island. According to a company press release, the company was forced to close the casino due major changes in the local gaming industry.
“The gaming industry in Puerto Rico has changed significantly in recent years, affecting the success of well known casino operations with a good reputation,” an official statement read. “This decision was taken after careful and lengthy assessment, in order to ensure the continued competitiveness of the property and allow the hotel to continue to provide employment to members of the existing team.”
A spokesman for the hotel said that the management would work along with those casino employees affected, to help them find alternative employment possibly as staff in new positions with other hotels in the Hilton chain in Puerto Rico.
Local industry insiders have been warning for some time that the casino sector is in growing crisis and that another casino closure was imminent. In August the President of the Commission for the Development of the Tourism Industry in the House of Representatives, Ángel García Matos announced that a raft of new games could soon be introduced into casinos so that casinos in Puerto Rico can remain competitive. The news, however, comes too late for the casino at the Embassy Suites and fears grow that more closures could be on the way.
The Ministry of Tourism has blamed the recent closures on the rise of illegal gaming. It is estimated that there are now 45,000 illegal slot machines located as attachments to small businesses with the government seeming unwilling or unable to act on the issue. In February 2013 the government initiated an investigation into illegal gaming after a number of casino closures including the closure of the landmark El Conquistador casino which left 150 people jobless. However lawmakers are unable to agree with some calling for regulation of the growing slot parlour industry while others arguing the case that they should be banned altogether.