Posted on: November 15, 2023, 08:40h.
Last updated on: November 15, 2023, 08:40h.
The gaming market in Puerto Rico has received considerable attention lately, leading several properties to upgrade their offerings. Another joining this group is Casino Metro in San Juan, which is investing $6.2 million to enhance its gaming and entertainment offerings.
Ismael Vega, the general manager of the casino, told local media outlet El Vocero that the goal is to simplify the customer journey. It will ultimately allow for easy navigation and exploration while introducing new gaming options.
The expansion initiative, underway for the past two years, began in the former space of the Metropol restaurant. It’s adding 7,000 square feet to the existing 23,000-square-foot area.
With 14 years of operation under its belt, Casino Metro aims to keep up with the increasing demand from players, as well as maintain its self-proclaimed status as “the largest casino in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.”
Big Money for Big Rewards
Out of the $6.2 million investment, $2.5 million has been allocated to construction, while the remaining $3.7 million will go toward acquiring 150 new gaming machines. This addition will bring the total number of machines to over 650. Additionally, Casino Metro will introduce six more gaming tables, including four blackjack tables and two roulette tables.
Vega estimates that the inclusion of 150 machines annually translates to an approximate additional contribution of $2.9 million to what Puerto Rico classifies as ‘Group B’ recipients of tax benefits. This consists of the University of Puerto Rico, the General Fund and the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. Currently, the casino contributes $24 million annually to the treasury.
Beyond this expansion, Casino Metro has invested around $2 million over the past year to modernize the machine system, further enhancing the customer experience. The second phase of expansion, scheduled for 2024, will encompass new amenities such as bathrooms, an entertainment platform and a redesigned bar and lounge.
While an official inauguration date is yet to be determined, Vega anticipates it to be between December and January. The new initiatives will reportedly bring another 30 jobs to the casino.
Notably, the casino’s sports betting division, Metro Bets with Caesars Sportsbook, marks its one-year anniversary in December. Currently, 5,500 clients are registered for the in-person operation, according to a company statement. An additional 2,000 registered customers use the online platform, which has been active for the past three months.
San Juan Casinos Catch a Break
Casinos in San Juan are breathing a collective sigh of relief following clarification of a potentially damaging reform. The city’s new Public Order Code, announced this past August, establishes a curfew and cuts off alcohol sales everywhere during certain hours.
However, the casinos aren’t going to have to follow through with the new code. The Puerto Rico Gaming Commission has clarified to casino operators that its mandate trumps city law. The commission has no similar curfew or liquor sales limitations and, therefore, the casinos are in the clear.
That doesn’t mean the casinos are going to open the taps and let it rain alcohol. Vega told El Vocero that operators have agreed to take a responsible approach and will control sales on their own.