Puerto Rico Criticized for Allowing Slot Machines Outside Casino

puerto rico slot machineThe government of Puerto Rico benefits a lot from the taxes and levies generated from the gambling industry on its islands. At the same time, it contributes a lot to the growing economy in the form of new employment opportunities, boosting tourism and supporting different organisations through revenue sharing.

There are three organisations funded from the gambling revenue, and it includes the Committee for the Development of Tourism Industry with 13.6%, Treasury with 15.15% and Puerto Rico Tourism Company with 25.8%.

Recently, the government announced its plans to authorise the slot machines to operate outside the premises of casino building. In this regard, it is expected that around 30,000 slot machines will be available for public access at places like clubs, bars and hotels. The government is hopeful that allowing slot machines outside casino would undoubtedly give a boost to the casino industry and increase the revenue.

However, this recent decision of the Puerto Rico government is met with a lot of criticism from the President of Association of Hotel and Tourism. The President, Pablo Torres, said that such a decision was made without thinking about its impact on the gambling industry as well as the different organisation that receives support from the casino revenue so generated.

Pablo Torres, in a statement, said:

The lack of a serious and public evaluation of the proposal to legalise slots through public hearings has led the legislative leaders and the Executive to propose many noble causes for the alleged funds that it would produce while ignoring the adverse fiscal impact that, according to a study by the government itself it would have.

The President is of the opinion that providing 30,000 slot machines outside the casinos would lead to a combined loss between $150 million and $200 million for every single year. He continued saying that it would further cause damage of $42.5 million to the PRTC. Also, UPR which is the biggest university in the island of Puerto Rico will incur losses to the tune of $34.5 million each year.

Public Hearings Should Precede Government Decision

The people who are criticising the proposal of the government for allowing slot machines at public places outside the casino premises want to set up a public hearing. They want proper feedback before the government moves ahead with their decision. According to the existing gambling regulations of Puerto Rico, slot machines are not allowed outside. But the laws are openly flouted in this particular case with the motive of increasing the revenue and giving a boost to the economy.

According to some sources, it is speculated more than 40,000 slot machines are operating outside the casino floor. There are illegal slot machines that account for approximately $1.5 billion in overall gambling revenue.

The Puerto Rico government is thinking that by legalising such slot machines, it would mitigate the illegal slot machines increasing in the casino industry. We will know in due course of time if the government is able to succeed in its decision and whether this move will bring in additional revenues or cause loss to the gambling industry.

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