El San Juan Hotel announced last Friday that due to challenging economic and industry dynamics, it has decided not to reopen its casino when it reopens on Sunday, February 5, 2017.

“Over the past several months, El San Juan has undergone one of the most extensive renovations in since the property opened its doors in 1958 with the objective of honoring the original elegance and opulence of this iconic property while reinvigorating its magical energy and ushering in a new era of service,” said Andro Nodarse-Leon, of León Mayer & Co., co-owner of the hotel. “We are pleased that more than 500 local construction employees have been working at El San Juan since we temporarily closed our doors in mid-August in order to make our vision for the hotel a reality.”

“As the renovation of El San Juan Hotel reaches its final stages, we have been facing a tough decision not to reopen our casino on February 5th,” Mr. Nodarse-Leon further stated. “El San Juan Hotel will continue to be a destination of choice with a bright future for the 500 hotel team members it employs. We are proud that thanks to the investment we made, we added approximately 60 new jobs and we are expecting to add even more over the course of the next two years.”

The hotel employs approx. 500 employees and the multiple retail outlets and restaurants that are also part of El San Juan employ another approximately 150 staff members.

We remain on track for the much-anticipated reopening on February 5th, 2017 and look forward to continuing to serve our guests from around the world.

Casinos in Puerto Rico, including El San Juan Hotel, have faced several significant challenges over the last few years, that already resulted in the closing of other casinos on the island, including:

Growing competition of an emerging Casino market in the US that has negatively affected the demand for casinos in Puerto Rico.

Increasing competition from unregulated, untaxed slot machines located throughout the island, including outside of hotel casinos.

Uncertainty about the additional effects of the rollout of a video lottery system across the island.

A burdensome slot machine revenues based tax structure that becomes more onerous as industry volumes decline.

The presence of Zika in Puerto Rico has led to significant declines in the financial performance of the island’s tourism industry. While the virus has been dissipating and the World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared that Zika was no longer a global emergency, the impact of Zika will still be felt in the financial performance of hotels and casinos during 2017 in Puerto Rico as the pace of future room reservations for 2017 is behind historical levels.

The casino will be making severance payments to its union and non-union employees in order to help them as they navigate a transition to other opportunities. El San Juan Hotel has not identified any specific plans for the casino space and will consider all options through 2017.


An article we ran on January 17 may have given some readers pause to consider whether the casino at the legendary El San Juan Hotel & Casino in Puerto Rico would ever open again. And although we stated in the article that the hotel would open on February 5, 2017, some readers may have misunderstood as the headline and another reference in the article used the property’s full name.