Sports Betting in Puerto Rico Is Just Around the Corner
Puerto Rico is falling on hard times. A major debt crisis and Hurricane Maria have devastated this territory. Sports betting in Puerto Rico may be the perfect way to generate some much-needed revenue.
Government officials here passed a bill to legalize and regulate sports betting. It’s fantastic news for both sports fans and the territory as a whole. Let’s look at why these sports gambling laws were approved, and how it will affect Puerto Rico’s economy.
Puerto Rico’s Stance on Gambling
Puerto Rico’s laws towards gambling are very similar to the United States’. As a US territory, lawmakers here have incorporated many of the same rules and regulations for casino gambling and sports betting. Most agree that gambling laws here are more lenient than the majority of US states.
Interestingly, Puerto Rico does not have a specific Gambling Authority. As a result, the government has an extremely difficult time collecting tax fees and revenue earnings from legal gambling operations.
Back in April, lawmakers here began the process to legalize sports betting. Before May of 2018, PASPA was in place to block every state and territory from offering legal sports gambling options. With PASPA now gone, Puerto Rico has the opportunity to legalize and earn valuable revenue from this industry.
Officials here realize the massive potential associated with sports betting. In states like New Jersey, for example, sports betting is bringing in millions of dollars every single month. This week, Puerto Rico took another giant step forward to make sports gambling legal.
Legal Sports Betting in Puerto Rico Is Closer Than Ever Before
Bill HR 2038 is the piece of legislature to legalize this industry. It lays out a framework to regulate sports betting around the island. It includes plans to legalize both land-based and online sports gambling operations.
In June, Puerto Rico’s Senate approved this bill. This week, the Legislative Assembly did the same. The only step left for sports betting in Puerto Rico to become fully legal is for Governor Ricardo Rossello to sign off on it.
Rossello already states that he supports sports betting.
“This industry has the potential to convert Puerto Rico into a jurisdiction in the vanguard of allowing the establishment of this new model, which will have a positive effect on our economy. We have worked on aggressive legislation that aspires 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,” he said.
With the Senate and Legislative Assembly now on board, Governor Rossello is very likely to sign this bill into effect. It will create a new gambling commission to oversee all sports betting operations. Governor Rossello will personally appoint an individual to lead this new gaming commission.
How Will Sports Betting Benefit Puerto Rico?
Gambling is sometimes seen as a negative vice. What is often not reported on is the massive revenue earnings that gambling brings to countries and states. It’s this reason why so many states are beginning to regulate sports betting.
Puerto Rico certainly needs the money. In 2017, a debt crisis hit the island that resulted in a government shut down. Hurricane Maria made things even worse.
Lawmakers hope that sports betting makes Puerto Rico a popular tourist destination for gamblers. It’s unclear exactly how much a sports betting license will cost. The government has made it clear that the minimum license fee is $50,000.
Land-based sports gambling will be taxed at 7%. Online sports gambling is being taxed at 12%. The money will be used to fund public projects around the island. It will help to rebuild an area still struggling after years of unfortunate circumstances.
Sports betting in Puerto Rico is about to become legal. It will almost surely be a success, as this small territory is well-known for having one of the most passionate sporting fan bases in the world. Hopefully, legal sports gambling brings in valuable revenue and an increase in tourism.
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