Puerto Rico makes first step towards legalizing sports betting, adding esports and DFS betting in the process.
Puerto Rico Eyes Legal Sports Betting
Puerto Rico is planning to get in on the sports betting race. Governor Rosselló Nevares has announced that Puerto Rico will seek to introduce legal options to wager on the outcome of sporting contests.
According to Nevares, the legalization of verticals such as electronic sports, regular sports, and daily fantasy sports will bring in as much as $68 million in a single year – a very good overall figure.
To carry on with the plans, Governor Nevares will seek the creation of a special overseeing entity, the Gambling Commission, which will be run by industry experts and publicly elected figures to guarantee transperancy.
In order to avoid overlapping with the existing Administración de la Industria del Deporte Hípico and the Division of Gaming, which oversees horse racing, the new Commission will absorb the aforementioned. Nevares had this to say arguing the case of legal sports betting in the territory:
This industry has the potential to turn Puerto Rico into a state-of-the-art jurisdiction, which will allow us to establish a new market that will have a positive effect on our economy.
The mention of electronic sports has also been an interesting point. The only sportsbook to offer competitive video gaming odds to this date remains Unikrn which has recently obtained an Isle of Man license. Nevares demonstrated remarkable prescience, making the following statement:
Esports is a growing segment, with a global audience estimated at over 400m people and [attractive to] a demographic younger than the typical casino player. It is estimated that this industry will have a global economic impact of over $3bn by 2023.
Mr. Nevares had clearly done his homework well in providing these numbers as he was referencing Newzoo’s most recent esports outlook and growth report.
Puerto Rico to Address Potential Gambling Issues
Mr. Nevares is equally prepared to tackle other urgent issues, including gambling-related harm. The territory and the newly-found Commission will focus on illegal money, tax fraud and other drawbacks that often-come hand-in-hand with gambling today.
Puerto Rico will also focus on distributing the tax money well, targeting old people programs and youth sports initiatives.
Puerto Rico is one of the least likely supporters of sports betting, but the progressive and pragmatic Mr. Nevares has seen an opportunity to legalize a market that otherwise allows unregulated offshore sportsbooks to claim the bulk of the revenue, often at the expense of the customer.