Progreso, Yucatán — All bets are off at the Caribbean Casino.
An overnight raid by the federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR), with the support of the federal police, ended with the closure of the small casino near the Malecón and the cruise-ship port.
The establishment was operating without permission from the Ministry of the Interior to operate as a casino.
The casino had closed, and reopened, before since its inauguration two months ago. But this time, authorities hauled off 96 electronic machines, 16,285 pesos, 1,403 tournament tokens, 1,924 poker chips equivalent to 194,445 pesos, six computers and a man in handcuffs.
Agents entered the casino at 11 p.m. Thursday, and interrogated 15 people and seized their voter ID cards before returning the cards and allowing them to leave. The raid lasted until 6:50 a.m. Friday.
Juan Manuel León León, federal PGR delegate, told Diario de Yucatán that he had no knowledge of the case, which was being run from Mexico City headquarters.
Before the casino came, the complex was mainly a handicraft market, tucked off Calle 80 in a building owned by the taxi union.
When the casino arrived in March, it appeared to fly in the face of an announcement from a federal official who said no more casinos were being authorized in Yucatán state.
Casinos in Mexico require authorization from the Ministry of the Interior, which has stopped issuing permits for now, said Rubén Valdez Ceh, who represents the office. But investors told Punto Medio that they expect to have an operating permit very soon.
Valdez Ceh also shot down rumors of a new casino in Tizimín in a story published in Milenio Novedades.
Yucatán’s five casinos are spread out across Mérida: Golden Island, Casino City, La Cima, Crown City and Juega y Juega all appear much larger than the closed casino in Progreso. The casinos emphasize electronic gaming machines such as slots.
In October, the city’s mayor encouraged investors who had expressed interest in bringing gaming to the cash-strapped port city.