Puerto Rico Makes Sports Betting Legal

Governor Ricardo Rossello inked the Betting Committee Act earlier this week, legalizing sports betting in Puerto Rico.

Commenting on the latest move, Governor Rossello said that by signing this law, they were getting ready to witness the potential it provided to transform Puerto Rico into a vanguard jurisdiction while benefitting the local economy. He pointed out that with this legislation, the island would be able to market itself nationally and internationally as an attractive destination for sports betting events.

Puerto Rico Makes Sports Betting Legal

Making the Most out of the Lucrative Industry

According to available information, the sports betting industry in the U.S. is estimated to bring more than $3 billion yearly by 2023, although the document doesn’t cite any sources.

Still, these numbers match those published by Gambling Compliance back in 2018, which estimated the sports betting market in the country would be worth between $3.1 billion and $5.2 billion by 2023.

Representative Nestor Alonso Vega, the man behind the proposal, which was initially introduced as House Bill 2038 back in April, and passed in July, stated the new law would position Puerto Rico in the Caribbean as the first jurisdiction with sports betting.

Apart from sports betting, the new piece of legislation allows betting on daily fantasy sports and eSports, with the latter enabling customers to place their wager on video game competitions which attract millions of viewers annually.

The law will also establish the new Betting Commission, following the model of other U.S. states that have made wagering on sports betting legal. The newly-formed commission will be comprised of seven members from both public and private sectors, and its task will be to regulated not only sports betting, but also equestrian sports, eSports, and gambling.

The Betting Commission will replace the existing Administration of the Equestrian Sports Industry and the Gaming Division, while the employees of these two agencies will keep their jobs, working for the new commission. The authorities emphasized that no public employee would lose their job in the process of the reorganization.

Getting More Money for the Treasury

Under the provisions of the new law, minors won’t be allowed to take place in any of the games on offer, while special attention will be paid to video game addiction, money laundering and tax evasion.

All betting activities will be allowed only in those locations authorized by the Commission. The list of these locations includes casinos, racecourses, hotels, and paradors.

The new legislation is expected to bring more money to the Treasury, with taxes set at 7% for physical bets and 12% in digital bets.

According to experts, these taxes are competitive to other jurisdiction, and the authorities hope they will attract investors to help the industry grow.

Income from the industry will be used for programs promoting sports among youth, for addressing gambling addiction, to buy better police equipment, and to cover the expenses of the new Commission.

Puerto Rico will also allow cockfighting pits to accept sports betting, by issuing licenses free of charge for the first ten years.