he legislative piece would amend section 5 of Law 221 of 1948, known as the Law of Games of Chance and Authorization of Slot Machines in Casinos, which regulates all casinos in Puerto Rico.
Currently, the law distributes profits gained from slot machines in Group A, which is made up of the concessionaires who own these machines in their gaming rooms, and Group B, which is made up of government funds. The statute establishes that the first US$ 315 million of annual net income is distributed at a rate of 34% for Group A and 66% for Group B. However, when an annual net income in excess of up to US$ 495 million is reported, 60% is distributed to Group A and 40% to Group B.
The method presented by representatives Ángel Matos García and José Rivera Madera proposes to reconsider the distribution of profits gained from slot machines, so that it is equitable for casino operators and government components, as a result of the closure of casinos over the years and the limited operation of others.
During a final consideration hearing, the legislative piece was endorsed with nine votes in favor. “Undoubtedly, this new measure equated to 50% for Group A and the remaining 50% for Group B, it will also allow both sectors the opportunity to project more effectively and uniformly, without being at the expense of what could be the amount of the disbursement,” states the explanatory memorandum of the draft.
During the hearing, joint resolution 17 was also approved, submitted as a complementary piece to the bill, to order the Tourism Office of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC) to distribute for a period of 180 days the net income of slot machines at a rate of 60% for Group A and 40% for Group B. The new measure would be carried out as a measure to minimize the economic struggles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.