Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association reiterates tax reform isn’t revenue-neutral
SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association (PRHTA) reiterated Monday that the tax reform enacted by the governor is not neutral because it will cannibalize revenue received by the government from casino operations.
“The study by Spectrum Gaming Group, commissioned by the Tourism Company, evaluated the impact of legalizing the slot machines outside the casinos and concludes that the reduction in casino revenues would be between $149 [million] and $195 million, which translates into losses for the University of Puerto Rico [UPR] of up to $35.4 million annually, while the general fund and the Tourism Company of Puerto Rico (PRTC) would lose up to $42.5 million each year,” Clarisa Jiménez, president and chief official of the PRHTA, said in a statement.
“These numbers make it impossible for the measure to be neutral. Even when the slot machines produce some revenue, the multimillion-dollar losses Spectrum projects will leave the register short,” she added.
During the legislative process of the tax reform, the island’s fiscal oversight board requested the government to demonstrate that the legalization of the video-lottery machines that operate outside casinos would not have the effect of “cannibalizing” existing revenues, particularly those received by the UPR and the PRTC.