Historic San Juan Casino Undergoes a $12.5 Million Facelift

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The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation has already made a huge name for itself in the US casino industry as the owner/operator of Foxwoods Resort Casino in New England. This hotel and resort has grown to become one of the most popular casino destinations in the world.

In a recent company announcement, Foxwoods is now teaming up with the hotel hospitality firm LionGrove to renovate the casino inside a historic San Juan hotel and resort.

The Fairmont El San Juan Hotel has a long history of offering first-class accommodations in Puerto Rico’s capital city. This new partnership has plans to bring its equally historic casino into a new light through a $12.5 million renovation plan.

The upgraded gambling facility will be rebranded as Foxwoods El San Juan Casino. Plans call for both slots and table games. There are also plans for Puerto Rico sportsbooks as it moves towards legalized sports betting.

The Mashantucket Tribe has been exploring opportunities for expansion outside its core market in Connecticut. As the Tribal Chair, Rodney Butler explained why the San Juan project caught the tribe’s eye. Part of his statements at a recent press conference included:

“It checked so many boxes for us that we were excited to be a part of it.”

The project is expected to get underway in the near future and be completed by the end of the year. Butler mentioned that the goal was to start 2022 up and running.

When complete, the new casino will employ as many as 150 workers on a full-time basis. The estimated economic impact in Puerto Rico could top $22 million.

The famous hotel and casino is located in the Isla Verde Beach area of San Juan. The new casino will cover more than 15,000 square feet of gaming space.

The origins of this new renovation project date back to 2015 when Fairmont first bought the El San Juan hotel and resort. The initial renovation project totaled more than $65 million.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which devastated many areas of this US Territory, another $60 million was spent on repairs. The hurricane also shut down gaming in the casino which was never restored.

The origins of the actual property date back to the 1960’s when the El San Juan first opened. The hotel and casino resort became a popular winter-time destination for wealthy tourists from both the East and West Coast. From Hollywood to Wall Street, this was the place to be and be seen.

Entertainment at the famed Tropicana was frequently headlined by musical legends such as Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, Tony Bennett, and Sammy Davis Jr.

Part of Foxwoods’ renovation plans is to bring back the Tropicora as the hotel’s main entertainment complex.

While this project will be the Mashantucket Tribe’s first business venture outside of Connecticut, the rival Mohegan Tribe has been far more active in its expansion plans. That tribe’s gaming entity is Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE).

Over the years, MGE has expanded its operations into gaming markets covering Pennsylvania sportsbooks, New York sportsbooks, and Louisiana sportsbooks. It also has business interests north of the border in Canada.

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