The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and LionGrove announced Tuesday a new partnership to reopen the historic El San Juan Casino as the Foxwoods El San Juan Casino in Carolina, Puerto Rico. They are aiming to open the casino by the end of the year, they said in an in-person and virtual press conference Tuesday.
It will be the first venture by Foxwoods outside of the continental U.S. The new casino will add a $12.5 million investment in addition to a recently completed renovation for the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel, resulting in a total of $137.5 million in resort enhancements. These investments and the opening of the casino are anticipated to generate an estimated economic impact of $22 million back into the island, creating a projected 360 new jobs in the region, over 150 of those being at the casino.
Located in the beachfront Fairmont El San Juan Hotel along the award-winning Isla Verde Beach, the approximately 15,000-square-foot casino will feature nearly 300 slot machines and 15 table games. In addition to redeveloping the casino, the two partners will also reopen the renowned Tropicoro entertainment venue, welcoming back performers, artists, live entertainment and events once again to its stage.
Having originally debuted in the 1960s, the El San Juan became one of the most luxurious and sought after casino destinations in the world, defined by its classic European style, iconic crystal chandeliers and hand-carved, mahogany-paneled walls. Over the years, the Tropicoro stage drew stars such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Martin, Liza Minnelli, Rita Moreno, Paul Anka and many more. The new identity pays homage to the casino's legendary history in San Juan and Foxwoods Resort Casino, owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and one of the largest resort casinos in North America, named a "Best Casino" by USA Today readers numerous times.
"Our success and experience with operating Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut will allow us to effectively expand our footprint and bring award-winning gaming experiences to Puerto Rico," said Rodney Butler, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Chairman. "We're teaming up with one of the most sophisticated players in the market. Bringing together our resort experience and expertise with Fairmont El San Juan's renowned brand, we believe we can bring real economic and employment growth to Puerto Rico. In addition to offering guests a one-of-a-kind luxury resort destination, the development will bring revenue, value and tourism to the area."
During the press conference, the topic of sports betting came up. Butler said it’s a discussion ongoing nationwide, and Puerto Rico is addressing it aggressively. “We appreciate the focus on that, and we hope we can participate in that,” Butler said.
"Since acquiring El San Juan Hotel in 2015, we have been zealously committed stewards of this world-renowned luxury lifestyle hospitality landmark," said Andro Nodarse-León, LionGrove Founder and CEO. "We completed a $65 million renovation of El San Juan Hotel in 2017 and subsequently, following Hurricane Maria, a $60 million restoration that led to its rebranding as the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel in January of 2020. Currently, the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel is more accommodating and exciting than ever, and with this great partnership, we are bringing one of the strongest casino brands in the world to Puerto Rico with plans to launch the most exciting and innovative casino on the island at Puerto Rico's most legendary address."
Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi joined Tuesday's press conference at the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel where Nodarse-León and Chairman Butler announced plans for the new casino. The governor expressed his support of the upcoming project: "I am incredibly pleased with the reopening of El San Juan Casino which will result in the creation of hundreds of jobs. The tourism sector represents a great opportunity for our economic development and my commitment is to enhance it. The pandemic has seriously affected tourism on our island, as well as around the world, but with the advent of vaccines, better treatments and security measures, we are preparing so that Puerto Rico can receive visitors and safely enjoy all that our beautiful island has to offer! I am confident the coming months will be crucial, and we will position ourselves positively to resume tourism activity."
"Following the completion of Fairmont El San Juan Hotel's renovation, the launch of Foxwoods El San Juan Casino is the final piece in reactivating our world renowned lobby, a centerpiece of Puerto Rican nightlife and for our Hotel guests," said Kelley Cosgrove, General Manager, Fairmont El San Juan Hotel. "We are thrilled to be part of the collaboration between two distinguished brands and look forward to attracting new global clientele with this vibrant amenity for our Fairmont El San Juan Hotel guests."