Legalization of Online and Land-Based Sports Betting May Happen Soon in Puerto Rico

 

There are many ways to gamble in Puerto Rico legally. However, online gambling in Puerto Rico isn’t legal quite yet. This doesn’t really mean that you can’t place any online bets online when you’re in Puerto Rico though.

People of the said country can still place bets online as long as the casino is based outside Puerto Rico. This means that there are no legal online casinos that are based in this country. Only horse racing, cockfighting, lottery, and some charitable bingos and casinos are legal in the country.

Last Sunday, the legislative branch of Puerto Rico’s government has already approved the HR 2308 bill that legalizes sports betting in the said country. The HR 2308 will allow land-based and online sports betting in the country.

Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló was the one to propose this legislation and the approval of the legislative branch simply means that Puerto Rico’s sports betting industry is looking bright already. The Governor explained that the revenues that will go to the government will greatly improve the lives of Puerto Ricans.

The estimated revenues that will go to the government by next year (2020) is $29 million. The estimate doubles by 2021, which is $51 million. By 2024, they are expecting it to be as much as $87 million. This goes for both online and land-based income from sportsbooks.

Sports Betting Similarities with the US

Sports bets can still be placed online if the sportsbook is located overseas, so nationals and tourists won’t get in trouble for that. It’s noticeable that the gambling laws in place in Puerto Rico is still the same as how it is in the US.

The PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) or the Bradley Act was struck down by the Supreme Court of the US on May 14, 2018. This act prohibits sports betting in the US. Only a few states were exempted by this law.

Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana have legal sports betting laws. This is because prior to the implementation of PASPA, these states already had sports betting laws recorded. However, each state has different ways to legalize this industry.

Puerto Rico is may not be a US state but it is still a region found in the US. It just makes sense why the law for gambling is very similar. The country is still bound by the federal law of the US. US online casinos are only legal in the states mentioned, but Puerto Rico remains the same as the rest of the states.

More on the HR 2308 Bill

The HR 2308 has not mentioned any casino and sports betting sites that will get licenses just yet. But it does mention that a new gaming commission will be formed. This commission will be the one who’s in charge of licensing.

The formation of a new Gaming Commission to be the person in charge of what this bill can and should allow. It was mentioned that the to-be pointed commission should at least have 5 years of experience in the said industry.

This new Gaming Commission will be the institutional structure for groups that oversee sports gambling in Puerto Rico, and this includes the groups who are already involved in the Horse Racing Industry Administration and the Gaming Division of the Tourism Office of the Department of Economic Development.

When it comes to the financial aspects of the HR 2308 bill, this will also be up to the new Gaming Commission. So currently, there are no details about how much licensing will cost. What’s only known is that the minimum fee for a large-scale operation with $2,500 is $50,000.

When it comes to the percentage of what’s to go to the government, 7% of the income bets made on land-based casinos will be taken. Meanwhile, for online bets, 12% of the income is for the government.

For an online and land-based sportsbook to be licensed by the new Game Commission, certain requirements should be met.  Health and safety requirements should be met. There should be no sports betting sites in grocery stores and gas stations. Land-based sportsbooks should be more than 100 meters away from religious venues, schools, and rehabilitation facilities for people who are dealing with addiction.

Overall, the passing of this bill seems to do great for the country. Puerto Rico is known to have a debt crisis in 2017. The government had to face a shut down because of this. What also didn’t help was Hurricane Maria, which also took place is 2017.

The passing of this law will help the country financially and Governor Rosselló is positive that this will also help bring in more tourist in the country.