"The casino industry in Mexico will not fully recover from the impact left by the coronavirus pandemic until February 2022," estimated the President of the Association of Permit Holders, Operators and Suppliers of the Entertainment and Gambling Industry in Mexico (AIEJA), Miguel Ángel Ochoa.
"Out of the 384 gaming halls that were open in March of last year in the country, and that had to close for three months due to the pandemic and health emergency, now there are around 370 open to full capacity," explained the representative of the Mexican gaming operators, who also highlighted that 2020 was one of the worst years that the industry has experienced, as it went from representing a market of 25 billion pesos (more than USD $1,250 million) to a total of 10 billion pesos (slightly more than USD $500 million) annually.
“Still nowadays a lot of people don't go to casinos, even though they can. They are still afraid, however, people are slowly coming around. For example, a casino that has a 75% capacity does not usually reach that occupation total, although there are times of the day when they can have that volume of visitors, on average they are most likely below 50%,” Ochoa pointed out.
To date, a total of 28 out of 29 states that have casinos, except Baja California Sur, have authorized the reopening of establishments affiliated to the AIEJA, allowing them to operate with up to 75% of their capacity. However, the average capacity in the country is 46%. “We have been one of the industries most affected, the first to close, the last to open. When actually if the pandemic cases increase, it has nothing to do with the casinos being open. Closing the casinos is not going to fix the pandemic, but opening the casinos is going to help revive the economy, boost employment, improve investments and receive more taxes,” he highlighted.
For Ochoa, Baja California is one of the states in which the situation of the pandemic is the worst, despite the fact that the casinos have not been open, and added that six casinos remain closed in that body, "until today there is no news from the states' government regarding their reopening date."