New taxes in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, which includes the leisure and gambling destinations of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, have been approved by the congress there. Included in the revenue package was a 10 percent tax on sweepstakes and gaming. The tax is to be paid by players, rather than levied on operator revenues.

Several interest groups, including the Caribbean Business Coordinating Council (Consejo Coordinador Empresarial del Caribe) have voiced opposition to allowing casinos to open in tourist zones such as Cancun, Akumal, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, and Tulum. One concern and a purported reason for the new tax is gambling addiction. Although Mexico has hundreds if not thousands of small, hole-in-the-wall casinos and betting shops, the few casinos in this region are mostly operated by large international operator Codere or online and land operator Caliente.

The Council (CCE del Caribe) has struggled with the economically challenged government in the state for proper funding to bolster the tourist area and along with requests for infrastructure investment and urban development, the group also put their weight behind the gaming tax. They do not want casinos affecting the prestige and reputation that the Mexican tourist destinations currently enjoy.

The CCE was also united with unions and the Cancun Hotel Association (AHC) in initially rejecting allocation of 390.1 million pesos for three trusts of tourist promotion of Quintana Roo, but El Economists now reports that the groups have reconsidered their position and will accept the provision when it comes to a vote on December 17.

The proposal as originally outlined would have allocated tourist promotion monies of 202.6 million pesos in Cancún, 178.3 million to the Riviera Maya and 9.3 million to Great Costa Maya in the southern part of the Mexican state.

Hoteliers’ president, Carlos Gosselin Maurel, said at a news conference, “It is not even half of the 1.186 million that we requested, but we are very respectful of the approaches of the governor and the deputies.”

While gang violence and other societal problems keep family tourists away from many Mexican destinations, Quintana Roo remains a popular state to visit. Cancun saw its highest-ever tourism numbers last year with growth expected to continue indefinitely.

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