Puerto Rico considers regulated sports betting


Lawmakers in Puerto Rico are considering a measure that would legalize and regulate sports betting in the island nation. It’s a move that could, potentially, generate tens of millions of dollars a year in tax revenue for the cash-starved country.
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló strongly supports the measure and believes it can deliver some economic salvation to the country that was ravaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017 and is still suffering from the after effects of the storm. In a statement reported on by CarribeanBusiness.com, the Governor described the potential of regulated sports betting saying, “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.”
The bill itself contains some pretty boilerplate language and ideas that can be found in sports betting language in most US States. For example, the bill sets up a gambling commission for the island and imposes a six percent tax on in-person wagers and an 11 percent tax on online wagers. Under the terms of the licensing scheme, anyone already in the gaming industry on the island can apply for a license and horse tracks can receive a 50 percent discount on the licensing fee (horse racing is hurting everywhere).
The sports betting bill also includes measures preventing underage gambling and addressing problem gambling.
The measures were introduced on Monday and are working their way through the legislature. So far there’s no word on when a final bill will be up for approval.