In Puerto Rico, the spokesman for a group of local electronic gaming machine operators has reportedly warned that the sector could lose up to 9,000 jobs over the course of the next few months if the government ratifies proposed legislation that would increase the cost of a slot license by some 2,900%.
According to a report from G3 Newswire, Anibal Villafane stated that the government for the American territory is hoping to bring in up to $80 million a year by passing House Bill 1142 and raising the fee for an annual slot machine license from $100 to $3,000.
However, Villafane reportedly declared that there “is no way” operators will be able to afford such a hike before asserting that the proposal from recently-elected Governor Ricardo Rossello is “not in line with the economic situation of Puerto Rico” and is “another attempt to harm our entertainment machine industry”.
“The increase included in the project will be impossible to satisfy,” Villafane told G3 Newswire. “The expected projections following the approval of the project are false, ridiculous and out of all budgetary realities.”
Villafane reportedly asserted that this represents the second time in the past 60 days that Rossello, who was only sworn into office on January 2, has attempted to get House Bill 1142 ratified. He moreover described the legislation as containing “serious errors and excessive increases”.
G3 Newswire reported that the passage of House Bill 1142 is being seen by some legislators as key to gathering additional public funds in the face of an economy that has shrunk by 10% since 2005. The island of just over 3.4 million inhabitants has an unemployment rate of about 12% and is additionally struggling with bond debts worth approximately $70 billion.