Puerto Rico to Make Wagering on Sports Legal

Publish: 12.07.2019

For some time now, Puerto Rico has been looking for a way to improve its economic and financial situation. The authorities have been looking for a measure that would help them achieve this goal, and it finally seems they have found the right tool.

Following the decision to repeal PASPA and allow sports betting across the U.S., made by the Supreme Court in May last year, Puerto Rico has been seriously considering a move to make this activity legal.

Getting In on the Action

The territory has now made the final and most important step towards the legalization, as its lawmakers have approved a corresponding piece of legislation that will enable players to place bets on sports, both in-person and via online.

According to available information, Puerto Ricos Legislative Assembly greenlighted House Resolution 2038 (HR 2038), after it successfully passed the Senate in June. The new piece of legislation now requires the signature of Governor Ricardo Rossello, which shouldn’t pose a problem as he has already expressed his support for the measure.

Puerto Rico to Make Wagering on Sports Legal

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 21: Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello is interviewed by a TV channel after a House vote at the Capitol December 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. The House has passed a $81 billion emergency aid bill to help Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and California to rebuild after natural disasters this year. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Speaking about the matter, Rossello said the industry had the potential to convert Puerto Rico into a jurisdiction in the vanguard of allowing the establishment of this new model, which would have a positive effect on the island’s economy.

Rossello pointed out they had worked on aggressive legislation that aspired at being able to market the island at the international and national levels as an attractive destination for the millions of people who bet on sports events.

All in all, HR 2038 will allow placing bets on sporting events, but also on eSports and fantasy sports. It approves land-based and online gambling, although amateur sports wagers will not be allowed for the time being.

Gaming Commission, License Fees and Taxes

Under the provisions of the new proposal, a new Gaming Commission will be set up to develop the regulatory framework for sports betting. In addition to this, the Gaming Commission will be tasked with overseeing gambling associations that already operate in Puerto Rico, including the Horse Racing Industry Administration and the Gaming Division of the Tourism Office of the Department of Economic Development.

Governor Rossello will name the head of the commission, while its appointment will need to be approved by the Senate. The commissioner will also oversee a board comprised of seven members, with two of them coming from the private sector.

At this moment there is no information on the costs of sports gambling licenses, and this will not be revealed until the new Gaming Commission is formed. The minimum license fee is set by HR 2038 at $50,000 for major operators, and $2,500 for individual points-of-sale. Sports betting will be taxed at 7% for land-based operations, and 12% for online.

There are certain limitations when it comes to licenses, as they can’t be issued to entire sectors, and no point-of-sale will be able to get one if it’s located within 328 feet of a religious centre, a rehab centre or a school.

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