A group of former casino workers lobbying for the re-legalisation of gaming in Ecuador is looking to bring the mayor of Manta onboard.
Wellington Sánchez, represents 152 ex casino workers who were previously employed at a number of gaming venues in Manta, including Oro Verde, Howard Johnson, and Invermun. Prior to former president Rafael Correa’s 2011 ban, regulated casinos had operated in Ecuador since 1949.
Sánchez reported that the group has been attempting to arrange a meeting with the city’s mayor Agustín Intriago, as part of efforts to gain his backing for relegalisation. He contends that casino gambling could form a key pillar in helping Ecuador’s tourism industry recover from the impact of COVID-19.
Statements by Ecuador’s new president Guillermo Lasso have raised hopes the new government will look at re-legalising casinos, among a range of measures which aim to help the national economy overcome the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Following his inauguration in May, in recent weeks there has been an increased media focus on pro-casino comments Lasso made in July last year during an interview with the new minister of tourism Niels Olsen Peet.
“I think it was irresponsible to close the casinos, leaving business operators bankrupt and many Ecuadorian families unemployed,” he affirmed. “People are still interested in going to casinos, a person can buy a ticket to Peru and spend the weekend gambling in Lima. But the money that they spend goes out of the country, and this is to Ecuador’s detriment.”