Five years ago, El Supremo convinced the voters of Ecuador to close all 32 casinos nationwide. Only 46 percent of those voting on the referendum issue supported the casino ban, yet that was a narrow plurality and enough to shutter the gambling parlors. The last of the existing casinos closed in March of 2012.
Permanently closing existing casinos had never happened anywhere in the world since the casinos of Cuba suddenly closed in the late 1950’s. It took Fidel Castro’s Cuban revolution to make that happen.
Russia closed its casinos for awhile, then re-legalized casino gaming in specially-designated districts a few years ago.
Now a human-rights lobbyist in Ecuador has re-ignited the issue, calling for re-legalization of casinos in La República.
Francisco Zambrano Campuzano, the head of CEDHUS -- the Human Rights and Union Commission of Ecuador -- says over 200,000 Ecuadorians lost their employment due to the casino closures. Not just casino employees, he says, but workers in many industries supported by the existence of casino operations.
“Gambling as a form of entertainment exists in every part of the world,” he says. “In Rome and even in Jerusalem, there are gambling parlors."
Zambrano says that in light of the “unprecedented economic crisis" in Ecuador, the cash-strapped government should bring back the casinos.
CEDHUS says it will take the issue to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, if necessary.
Sources: the Casino Review website and yogonet.com ...
-- cccmedia in Quito