Approved last week

Puerto Rico: Senate approves bill amending Gaming Machine Law to guarantee higher income for retired police officers

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The Senate of Puerto Rico approved last week a House Bill (1593) that seeks to amend the Gaming Machine Law to guarantee a payment of at least 50% to retirees of the Puerto Rico Police.

During the Ordinary Session of the High Body, House Bill 1593, which amends the Gaming Machine Law, was approved on reconsideration, with the purpose of guaranteeing payment of at least 50% of the income to Police retirees, as well as regulating the number of machines and establishing periods for the payment of licenses, according to official sources of the Senate.

The measure received 15 votes in favor and four abstentions reported local media El Nuevo Día. The bill's author, José "Cheito" Rivera Madrera, indicated that if the bill becomes law, members of the Police will receive at least 50% of their income as a minimum retirement payment, including those who were affected by Law 3 of 2013.

The bill was amended to include that the purpose of the measure is to regulate the number of gaming machines per business and their prizes. Likewise, it establishes the period in which wholesaler owners may pay the total amount of machine licenses to which they are entitled.

"The approval of this measure is a testimony of the Senate's commitment to Police retirees, who have dedicated their lives to protect our communities. Guaranteeing a payment of at least 50% of their income is an act of justice and is an important step to ensure the welfare of our heroes in their retirement," said Senate President José Luis Dalmau.

Rivera Madrera explained that, in order to ensure the financing of his proposal, another measure he authored (House Bill 1119) amended the law that regulates slot machines, which dates back to 1933, and allows the collection of part of the proceeds from the "road machines" operating in the country, in order to strengthen the Police Retirement Fund.

"Bill 1119 was approved in the House and Senate, and signed by the governor (Pedro Pierluisi), becoming Law 104. With this, we were able to amend a law that had not been touched since 1933 so that, from the income collected by the gaming machines, specifically the so-called machines on routes, 22.5% of each game is available and 60% of this revenue is remitted monthly to nourish the trust fund created by law to improve the Police Retirement Compensation. In this way, the State's coffers are not affected and no additional taxes are created", the representative said. 

He indicated that the new provision mandates that no person shall operate gaming machines without possessing a license and tag duly issued by the Gaming Commission and without being connected to the internal connection systems. "In this way, it will be possible to authenticate the play, maintaining the security and the stored data that includes the identification of each gaming machine in route, its tag number, platform, games, the connection security record, the prizes paid and the record of the income generated by the activity of the machines," he added. 

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