Puerto Rico, the small US territory located in the Caribbean, may soon begin offering legal sports betting. It comes at an interesting time, as many locals here are still recovering from Hurricane Maria. Both land-based sports betting in Puerto Rico is seriously being considered, but why?
Many countries around the world are beginning to open their sports gambling markets. Now is the perfect time to look at gambling laws in Puerto Rico, and the reasons why this territory’s market is beginning to open up.
Evolution of Gambling Laws in Puerto Rico
As a US-controlled territory, Puerto Rico has implemented many of the same laws as the mainland United States. Gambling laws here, however, have been considerably more lenient than many states. Most traditional forms of gambling are perfectly legal here.
There is no dedicated Gambling Authority operating in Puerto Rico. The government here faces considerable difficulty in collecting large amounts of revenue from gaming establishments.
Sports betting is not legal inside Puerto Rico. This territory is under the same federal jurisdiction as US states, and until the summer of 2018 (when PASPA was finally thrown out) sports gambling was illegal throughout most of the country. Puerto Rico can now begin regulating this extremely popular form of gambling.
It’s an exciting time for sports fans on this Caribbean island. If these plans are officially approved, the entire gambling industry here will get a major upgrade. Let’s look at the specifics of this bill.
Details on Bill to Legalize Sports Betting in Puerto Rico
A bill drafted by Nestor Alonso Vega, a Chairman of the House Tourism Committee, was presented this week. This bill sets specific guidelines to legalize and regulate online and land-based sports gambling inside Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosello, is publicly supporting the bill, claiming that sports betting could bring in more than $60 million in taxes every year.
“This legislation, made possible by a Supreme Court decision last year, will make Puerto Rico an attractive place to visit, which will greatly benefit our tourism industry,” Rosello told the media.
The sports betting tax rate is unknown. Most analysts list it somewhere between 5-10% on all sports gambling operators.
This bill would do more than just legalize sports betting. Vega’s bill will also establish a Gambling Commission on the island. These groups license gambling companies and collect revenue earned through gaming. A Gambling Commission would significantly help this country regulate its gambling industry.
The Upside of Legalized Sports Gambling
Governor Rosello’s enthusiasm for this bill is a great sign. With no laws against legal sports betting, this territory has every right to begin regulating the industry. The big test comes at the Legislative Assembly.
There’s no doubt that Puerto Rico needs a revenue boost. The territory owes more than $80 million bond debt. That number may be even higher due to the destruction of Hurricane Maria in late 2017. Hope is that a legal sports betting market will generate massive tax earnings from locals and tourists.
The success of New Jersey may be influencing lawmakers here. The Garden State legalized sports betting back in mid-2018. Gambling revenue here has increased by over 50% since that time. Some feel that governor Rosello may be overestimating how much money may actually come into Puerto Rico from sports betting.
There’s a very good chance that sports betting in Puerto Rico will soon be legalized. If the Legislative Assembly agrees, and Rosello gives final approval, we may see sports betting here by 2020.
Do you think legal sports gambling will help Puerto Rico? Will the government here approved the bill? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!
A longtime sports and gambling enthusiast, Kevin looks to present up-to-date and reliable information for readers. If he’s not writing, he’s probably watching MMA or playing blackjack. ...
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