Puerto Rico is looking to launch a legal sports betting platform which will involve online betting and in-person betting as soon as the legislation is signed by Gov. Ricardo Rossello. The move is seen as a factor in attracting tourism in the area and a move in improving the economy of the Caribbean island that has not been the best.
The bill – PC2038 – has since been approved by the territory’s legislature which has given approval of the brick and mortar locations and the online platforms to take athletic bets. The law also seeks to regulate the esports and fantasy sports gambling. Land-based sports betting will be happening at the racetracks, casinos and off-track wagering areas. Venues that also hosted the cockfighting events will also be used as sports betting venues.
Gross Gaming Revenue
On the tax matters, the brick and mortar casinos will be taxed 7% and for the online sports betting, the government will take 12% of the GGR (Gross Gaming Revenue). It was thought, however, that the legislators had opted to tax 6% on the casinos and 11.5% on the online platforms. For an operator’s license, which will depend on the size of the operations, the cost will range between $2,500 – $50,000.
The revenue projected in the next few years from the island according to Innovation Group will be somewhere between $29 Million – $87 Million. According to Spectrum Gaming Group, on the other hand, the revenues are projected to be between $44 Million – $62 Million.
The revenue won from the sports betting will be expected to be divided by the government among the police service, recreational programs, schools, health insurance and pension funds. The section of players having problem gambling will also receive some of the amounts.
The anticipated bill will see a Gambling Commission set up that will comprise of seven (7) board members and will be led by a commissioner. The bill also restricts a sports betting venue to open up near an addiction treatment site, religious property or a school.
For Puerto Rico, there exists casinos and horse racing and with the sports betting expected to come in, there is an expectation of more visitations from the tourists. In a statement released, Rossello stated that the legislation was aspired to market the island on a national and international level which would bring visitations of people betting on sports.
He also stated that electronic games were growing with their popularity among the younger people. ‘We can position Puerto Rico as a destination that promotes esports, in order to attract investment to the Puerto Rican economy.’
2017 Hurricane Maria
The anticipated sports betting initiative comes along as the island recovers from the destruction that came along from the 2017 Hurricane Maria which was category 4. The hurricane saw the infrastructure, power grid and agricultural sector of the island face destructions which also affected the tourism sector.
Some of the statistics saw 2017 guests that stayed overnight on the island to be 1.6 million as opposed to the 1.3 million guests who stayed overnight in 2018. There was reported bankruptcy even before the Maria visitation with the island having a debt of $73 billion. The hurricane made extensive destruction on the economy.