Sports Betting Signed into Law in Pureto Rico

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  • Outgoing Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Roselló signed the Betting Committee Act on July 29th
  • Estimated revenues to reach $87m by mid-2020; hopes aimed at a softer recovery from hurricane Maria
  • Newly appointed Gambling Commission yet to set out gambling regulations

The legislation, signed into law this Monday, makes sports betting an authorized activity in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. It was already proposed by the governor earlier this year in April. At the time Ricardo Roselló had pointed out that he sees this step as an opportunity to find a creative solution for the country to attract more tourists, as well as to recover from 2017’s hurricane Maria. Now, two days before his resignation comes into effect and after nearly two months of negotiations with the House of Representatives, Rosselló sees his proposition come to fruition.

The upper circles of the House of Representatives have called for a conference committee to be appointed, integrated both by Representatives and Senators. Its goal? To create the law of the gaming commission and create new policies in regards to both land-based and online sports betting.

One thing that everyone’s caught sight of, though, is the unduly lengthy use of language in the document, especially at this initial stage of launching the new law into action.

Puerto Rico’s Sports Betting Perspectives

Innovation Group were commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce of Puerto Rico in order to conduct a report on the estimated revenue, which the new bill would eventually generate. Estimates point to $29 million in the first year, $51 million for 2021 and by 2024 – $87 million.

“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.” Rosselló said. He also exclaimed his utmost confidence in the creative capabilities of the country’s administration in absorbing the new sports betting legislation.

Expected legal tax rates on gross gaming revenue stand at 7% for retail sportsbooks and 12% for online services, making for a rate lower than that of every legal state of the US save for Nevada.

 What the future holds

Two active figures during the negotiations among the House of Representatives were Antonio Soto and Néstor Alonso Vega. Their concern raised questions such as what types of services would the new legislation allow for. Earlier this year Soto emphasized on the fact that the language of the bill is subject to wide interpretations. One of the examples given states that there is no regulation on where electronic Sportsbook terminals may be placed.

Vega, on the other hand, has been the one appointed to draft the new law and in his views the regulation of the new industry would be key to the way it can benefit the entire country.

This comes just a few days before governor Roselló steps down from his post due to his pre-announced resignation, which will come in effect on the 2nd of August.

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