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Puerto Rico’s gaming well developed

By John Collins (1)

Its 17 casinos employ more than 2,000,  gross more than $2 billion, net more than $200 million and earn government $57 million.


Puerto Rico now has 17 casinos which employ 2,176 persons, gross more than $2 billion, net more than $200 million with earn the Commonwealth government earning 57% of that, said Guillermo J. Cabret, director of the Gaming Division of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co.  

Cabret was interviewed at the recent Caribbean Gaming & Hospitality Conference at the Caribe Hilton Hotel which the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. was a Silver Sponsor.

Eighty percent of the patrons of the island’s casinos are local residents which means that only the remaining 20% are visitors to the island. Cabret said that that represents a particular challenge for the Tourism Co. which is committed to increasing the number of visitors who will patronize the casinos.

By law , beneficiaries of the gaming business in Puerto Rico include the University of Puerto Rico and the Educational Fund which are slated to receive a total of $32 million from gaming activity during the first quarter of the current fiscal year, compared with $21.4 million during the same period in 1998 representing an increase of 33%. Other beneficiaries include the Fund for the Development of the Tourism Industry and the Tourism Co. The Fund received $2.4 million and the Tourism Co. $4.5 million, for the first quarter also representing an increase of 33% compared with the same period in 1998.

Cabret explained that the increases in earnings reflect two factors in the industry. He said that earnings from slots are increasing industry wide an average of 10% yearly. He said that the 40% increase in the gross for the first quarter of the current fiscal year ($426.5 million) reflects the stimulus provided by the 1997 changes in Puerto Rico’s gaming laws and from which the casino operators are now benefiting. 

An analysis of the chart of the Casinos of Puerto Rico, prepared by the Tourism Co., reveals some other interesting details. 

  • The biggest casino in Puerto Rico is at the Ritz Carlton Hotel which has gaming space of 17,500 square feet. The smallest casino is at Palmas del Mar with 3,500 sq. ft. of gaming space.
  • The casino with the largest number of employees is at the Condado Plaza providing 300 direct jobs. The casino with the smallest work force is at Palmas del Mar with 44 employees.
  • The hotels with casinos have a total of 6,193 rooms with the largest El Conquistador with 949 rooms and the smallest the Holiday Inn Ponce with 116 rooms.
  • The casinos have a total of 324 games with the largest number of games at the Condado Plaza (36) and San Juan Marriott  (31), while those with the smallest number of games are Ambassador Plaza and the Diamond Palace (11 each).
  • The most popular games are Black Jack (148), Roulette (54) and Crabs or Dice (37). Other games available are Mini Baccarat (25), Caribbean Stud Poker (24) and Let It Ride (8), among others.
  • The casinos have a total of 4,666 slot machines with the largest number at the Holiday Inn Mayaguez (400) followed by the Condado Plaza (398) and the Ambassador Plaza (376). Those with the smallest number of slots are Palmas del Mar (142) and Westin Rio Mar (151).
  • The largest number of slots are in the $.25 denomination (1,945) followed by those of the $.05 denomination (1,842). While there are 792 $1 slots, there are only 54 $5 slots and only 16 $25 slots. The $25 slots are divided between the Condado Plaza (4), San Juan Marriott (4), Ritz Carlton (4) and El San Juan Hotel & Casino and Intercontinental (2 each).

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1) Other articles by the well known Caribbean author John Collins can be read at:

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June 30, 2002


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