Hilton closes longtime hotel casino in Puerto Rico amid economic crisis

Industries Associated Press

The Condado Plaza Hilton in Puerto Rico is closing its longtime casino in another blow to the U.S. territory's struggling economy.

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Managing director Raul Bustamente told The Associated Press Wednesday that 144 workers have been laid off. He said the closure comes after a 40 percent drop in the use of slot machines in the past decade.

Bustamante said the former 24-hour casino that opened in 1975 will likely be turned into a ballroom.

Puerto Rico's Hotel & Tourism Association said it is the seventh casino to close in the past five years in Puerto Rico. Government officials have said the previous closures led to a $6 million drop in revenue.

Critics in part blame the closures on an estimated 45,000 illegal gambling machines that operate across the island.