With sports betting getting approval in several US states, Puerto Rico may be looking at getting a bit of the market share by legalizing online sports betting.
Ricardo Rosselló, Governor of Puerto Rico, said on Monday that a bill which seeks to legalize and to regulate both in-person and online sports betting had been brought up for discussion with the lawmakers.
The new bill is drafted by Rep. Néstor Alonso Vega who is also the chairman of the tourism committee. While the new bill seeks legalization of both in-person and online sports betting, it also will legalize fantasy sports and eSports betting.
Explaining the motivation behind bringing in a bill to legalize sports betting, Gov. Rosselló said that he was convinced by the reports that estimate an annual tax revenue of up to $66 million if sports betting was legalized on the island.
Amidst the new developments, there have been critics who have questioned the new bill saying that it will lead to a decrease in the revenues from existing casinos and gambling facilities and therefore, in the long run, it is going to be counterproductive in terms of revenue.
However, Rosselló said that sports betting appeals to a different demographic group and is not likely to impact revenues from casinos and other adult entertainment gambling operations.
Once the bill is passed, a new Gaming Commission would be constituted with the task of regulating the sports betting activities. The proposed Gaming Commission will have seven members, both from the public and the private sector.
According to the announcement made on Monday, there will be a 6 percent tax on in person sports betting and 11 percent on the bets placed online.
The existing operators and facilities will not be able to apply for sports betting licenses; however, the horse race tracks will get a 50 percent discount for the next ten years on their sports betting licenses.