Mexico Preparing To Add Three New Casinos to the Market

In Mexico, the casino industry has remained in constant growth. A new integrated resort, the Royalton Splash Riviera, is coming to Cancun later this year, and there are now more casinos on the list.

La Chinesca
An entrance to La Chinesca in Baja California, Mexico. The old China Town is adding a new casino. (Image: Agencia EFE)

Different media outlets have revealed that three new casinos will open across Mexico. The first indications arrived months ago, but the venues are now almost ready to turn on the lights. From the state of Baja California on the peninsula to Tamaulipas on the east coast, the casinos hope to boost both the local economies and tourist markets.

After overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mexican government authorized the expansion of gaming rooms, and there are now 379 physical casinos under 37 permits. However, as many as 850 casinos are possible under the law.

Tamaulipas Adds Two Casinos

Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas, is preparing to open two new casinos. The venues are under construction, but are advancing rapidly.

These are just two of the 30 that the government authorized for the state since it reversed a casino ban in 2017. Several have already begun operations, opening in cities such as Matamoros and Reynosa.

Two of the Matamoros properties recently dealt with a scare. The Onix and the Intercontinental Casino were evacuated after both received threats of bombs inside the buildings. A subsequent sweep by local authorities searching for explosives came up empty.

For Tamaulipas, the opening of new casinos represents an increase in income for the economy. Together with the 11 casinos that already operate there, they will generate around 3,000 new jobs.

In addition, they will provide needed tax revenue to both the city and the state. How much depends on whether tax authorities believe they’re playing by the rules. Casinos in Sonora now face scrutiny for allegedly not giving their fair share to the government.

Border Town Comes Back To Life

The other gambling hall will open in Mexicali, the capital of Baja California. The property is coming to an old building in La Chinesca, the city’s own China Town, which was once popular with figures like Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino and Al Capone.

The Chinesca Casino already has all the licenses and permits to open to the public, and is just days away from opening. Its inauguration bash will take place this Friday, September 2, according to a Facebook post from the casino.

In Baja California, the installation of the new casino means the advance of state legislation since the government recently changed its gambling regulations. Now, gambling halls will be able to apply for authorizations as a kind of extension of their federal license. In addition, they can seek authorization in any city in the state.

Casino Industry Continues to Evolve

Mexico’s casino market has seen its share of negative publicity. In addition to concerns over tax evasion and bomb threats, there have been accusations of government extortion and illegal surveillance.

In the case of the latter, the Winpot Mérida in Playa del Carmen allegedly installed hidden cameras in the women’s bathroom. Local authorities later shut down the property, which has since reopened.

Winpot later rejected the claims it conducted any illegal activity. It also denied that the closure was because of the alleged surveillance.

In addition to the drama, casino revenue has slumped. In 2019, lotteries, raffles and gambling generated MXN3.4 billion (US$168.47 million) in tax revenue for Mexico. A year later, due partly to COVID-19, this dropped to just MXN2.06 billion (US$102.07 million).

Now, however, things are rebounding. The country’s gambling market is growing rapidly. Research company Research and Markets predicts that it will see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.9% through 2026.

In comparison, Technavio recently predicted the CAGR for global casino gaming will be 4.85% through 2025.

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