he 7,000-square-foot casino is noteworthy in part due to its strategic location, being just across the street from Piers 3 and 4 in Old San Juan, where many of the largest cruise ships dock. The casino also boasts 350 new slot machines and 10 table games. It is not yet known how many people would be left unemployed as a result of the closure.
The decision to close the casino was reportedly carried out by hotel executives as a preemptive measure in the face of a rapidly crumbling casino sector, said one person close to the proceedings.
“They are seeing the rumblings on the horizon,” the source said, referring to the impending establishment of a video-lottery network that would allow the Puerto Rico government to collect much-needed revenue—at a rate of about $100 million to $500 million annually— and which stands to make government-regulated, non-casino gaming machines widely available throughout the island.
Sheraton executives have not commented on the report yet, although an official announcement on the matter is expected Wednesday.
Earlier this month, the casino at the Condado Plaza Hilton in San Juan's Condado sector, the second-largest casino on the island, shut down as well, leaving 144 employees on the street. This in turn has followed a slate of similar closures throughout the island. Last April, the Radisson Ambassador Plaza Hotel & Casino, also in Condado, closed as well, leaving 200 employees jobless.
Other casino closings in recent years include those at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Carolina, El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo, Gran Meliá Golf Resort in Río Grande, Pichi’s Convention Center in Guayanilla, Caribe Hilton in San Juan’s Puerta de Tierra community, Diamond Palace in San Juan's Condado neighborhood, and the Dorado Beach a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Cerromar Beach and Embassy Suite hotels in Dorado.