xecutive director of the agency, Jaime A. López, estimated that in the island there are more than 50,000 of these illegal machines in all sorts of stores throughout the country.
“Of the 70,000 jobs that the industry generates, approximately 7,000 come directly or indirectly from the games of chance. These employments include croupiers, gaming hall supervisors and casino staff, as well as manufacturers, suppliers, service providers, among others,” he affirmed.
He also commented that the casino industry is among those that brings more taxes to the Puerto Rican state. “The government receives between a 40 to 60 % of the collection”, he said. He indicated that, during last fiscal year 2007-2008, games of chance machines generated us$ 315 million, that were distributed among the Education Fund of the University of Puerto Rico (45.5%), the General Fund (15.5%) and Compañía de Turismo de Puerto Rico (39.4%).
“We understand that the government must eradicate all the illegal machines as soon as possible, because they constitute an attack against the development of the hotel and tourist industry in Puerto Rico, and the thousands of jobs the industry generates. The Compañía has already identified funds to carry on operations in order to eliminate these machines, but we need the collaboration and assistance of the current administration in order to guide our efforts,” affirmed before the Senate Commission of Tourism and Culture, that investigates this situation.
The position of the company was supported by both the Hotel Association and the Association of Casino Employees of Puerto Rico.