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September 3, 2020, GMT+0000, 6:15 am

Sports Betting a Step Closer in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico smoke flag

Sports betting fans in Puerto Rico could be soon be able to bet on their favourite sports following the approval of new legislation by the island’s lawmakers. 

Bill PC2038, which would make it legal for terrestrial gambling venues to offer sports betting, has been passed by the  has been approved by the Puerto Rico legislature, and now awaits the approval of Governor Ricardo Rossello, who has to decide whether to sign it into law. 

If it is approved, the bill will make it legal for casinos, racetracks and off-track sites to provide sports betting products to Puerto Rico residents. The bill proposes a tax of seven percent on gross gaming revenue for terrestrial operators, while online sportsbooks will be charged twelve percent. According to the proposed licencing rules, operators would have to pay between $2,500 and $50,000 for a licence, depending on the size of their betting operation. 

It has been estimated that sports betting in Puerto Rico could generate as much as $87 million in tax revenue, which would be used to fund pensions, policing, education and other public priorities, while a fraction of the revenue would be diverted to help fund treatment of problem gambling. 

Under the terms of the bill, sports gambling in Puerto Rico would be regulated and controlled by a Gambling Commission that would be run by a Board of seven officials. Their responsibilities would include ensuring that sports betting facilities were not offered near religious sites, educational facilities or where individuals were being treated for gambling addiction. 

Rossello has spoken positively about the potential for sports betting to boost the Puerto Rican economy and turn the island into a destination for sports bettors, which suggests he will be happy to sign the bill into law, although the scandal involving Rossello, which broke over the weekend may yet delay the passage of the bill onto the statute book.    

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