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Protests and picketing have resulted in the closure of a casino in Mar del Plata.

Protests and picketing have resulted in the closure of a casino in Mar del Plata.

Workers in the gambling sector have claimed one of the country’s most major casinos in the midst of a holiday weekend, rendering it inoperable.

Mar del Plata: casino cerrado por protestas y piquete

It seems like summer in Mar del Plata. Several people took advantage of the four-day Easter weekend to visit Argentina’s most significant coastal city, where the weather is always warm enough for a day at the beach. The theaters and restaurants are both operating as usual, and there have even been performances (including Fito Paez). But, the Central Casino remains closed.

Poker players have a hard time securing loans.

This past Friday, there was a picket outside the establishment, which impacted traffic on nearby Peralta Ramos Avenue and pushed it over two lanes into the surrounding area of Colón Plaza. At a demonstration against “the discretional management of the incorporation and categorization of workers by the authorities,” members of the Sindicato de Trabajadores de Casinos, Loteras, Agencias e Hipódromos (Sitaclah) gathered.

The Sitaclah allegedly made the following statement in the name of Cristian Echeverra, the group’s general secretary: “We are here to beg that the government take over the administration of the company’s staff.”

We’ve come to demand that they stop their dirty work, look into the allegations we’ve made, and put an end to the problem before it gets out of hand.

Mar del Plata union split

Surprisingly, several groups have spoken out against this plan that would severely reduce the revenue of the Buenos Aires province’s casino. Both the Asociación de Empleados de Casinos Nacionales (AECN) and the Asociación de Empleados de Administración, Maestrazas y Servicios (AMS), the two largest unions, released statements saying that their members were “carrying out their duties in a regular manner.”

With the exception of the casino, Mar del Plata is beautiful.

The goings-on outside the Central Casino have zero bearing on the lives of the staff within. It’s unfortunate that the city’s poorest neighborhoods’ plight is being utilized to stymie the progress of the allies’ missions. They emphasized that the number of casino workers in the campsite does not exceed 10.

When CodigoPoker visited the location, they saw a group of individuals blocking the entry and picketing, although the number of protesters did not exceed twenty (at least not at night). Yet, the demonstration was disruptive enough to stop business as usual. The workforce and provincial government have suffered a devastating economic loss. The groups “pretend to be a union and put their hand in the pocket of the employees,” the unions who are opposed to the bill said.

Workers at the casino have expressed a desire to open the venue on such a momentous day. The other two casinos in the vicinity, the Casino Hotel Sasso near Punta Mogotes and the Casino del Mar a few meters away, are both open and thriving.

Sitaclah has not said publicly on its social media platforms how long it plans to keep the demonstration going. Just three tweets and one Instagram post are visible, with the most recent being on April 6 when the organization officially declared its claim.

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