The economic crisis in Puerto Rico has caused yet another gaming venue to close down. The casino located within the Hotel San Juan will not be opening back up on the 5th of February, a date the venue had planned to reopen after refurbishments were completed on the hotel. 100 employees will lose their jobs in the process.
The hotel and casino closed on August 15th to undergo renovations which included the meeting and event space of the resort as well as upgrading the 387 guestrooms and suites of the hotel. Additional hotel amenities were to be upgraded including the fitness facility and space, nine restaurants and fifteen bars.
According to Telemundo, a local television network, the closure of the casino is the 7th to take place within the last two years. With the San Juan Hotel & Casino, around $35 million to $40 million were used for the renovations and now the casino will not be opening right away due to economic challenges in the region.
Andro Nodarse Leon, a co proprietor of the property, stated that as the remodeling met the final stage, the casino has decided not to reopen at this time due to economic challenges and the current tourism situation in Puerto Rico. The casino will not reopen though the hotel will, on the 5th of February. Leon continued by stating: “Over the past few months, El San Juan has undergone one of the most extensive renovations since the property opened in 1958, with the aim of honoring the elegance and opulence of this iconic property while renewing its magical energy and its heading for a new era of service.”
On top of economic issues in the region, the casino industry has faced illegal gaming growth with as many as 45,000 illegal slot machines estimated to be connected to small businesses. The government has been searching for ways to legalize VLT’s as the gaming option would bring around $100 million more each year to the country. Local gaming operators however, do not wish to see video lottery terminals as they feel it would put thousands of jobs at risk.
This article headline has been updated to avoid confusing readers. The hotel will open on Feb 5, the company is keeping their options open for the casino throughout 2017. Edited text in the article itself is in italics.