In northern Chile, the mayor for the city of La Serena has reportedly revealed that he intends to begin lobbying for a change to existing federal legislation that has prohibited his historic community from hosting a casino.
According to a Sunday report from G3 Newswire citing a story from the local El Dia newspaper, Roberto Jacob declared that it is ‘unfair’ that some Chilean cities are permitted to host casinos and as a result receive approximately $8.4 million every year in tax benefits while others are prohibited from taking advantage of the same opportunity.
Under current federal legislation, no casino in Chile may be located within 60 kilometers (37.3 miles) of a counterpart and this stipulation has prevented La Serena from hosting such an establishment. This is due to the presence of the Enjoy Coquimbo facility in the neighboring port city of Coquimbo while the smaller Ovalle Casino and Resort sits only 51 miles away in the mountainous area just north of the community of Ovalle.
Jacob reportedly stated that he has already received support for his plan to bring a casino to La Serena from local councilors and soon intends to begin discussions with federal legislators from every one of the nation’s many political parties. Referring to the current state of affairs as ‘a tremendous injustice’, he purportedly asserted that his city should be able to join the fellow Chilean tourist resort city of Vina Del Mar in hosting a casino.
“I am glad that they have it but why can’t La Serena have a casino, which is a tourist city, just because of the famous restriction of 60 kilometers,” Jacob reportedly told the newspaper.
The second oldest city in Chile after being established by Spanish explorers in 1544, La Serena is home to approximately 150,000 people but sees this population double every summer as tourists travel from across the country to enjoy the area’s white sandy beaches and numerous recreational activities. The community is moreover the capital of the nation’s Coquimbo state with Jacob reportedly proclaiming that a casino would help the region to attract even more visitors.
“This is the same as supermarkets,” Jacob reportedly told the newspaper. “People say why so many but there are clients for them all. Therefore, it will be profitable in any case and increase the number of tourists that arrive in the city.”