Puerto Rico is entering the online sports betting arena with the recent approval of two new licenses by the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission (PRGC). For many, this looks like an opening to even more opportunities for everyone–the license, Puerto Rico, and online betting.
With these additions, there are now three gaming operators in the online space, and the government anticipates significant financial gains in the next fiscal year.
Puerto Rico: Receiving approval in the online betting world
First, Casino del Mar and BetMGM received approval a few weeks ago, making them the pioneers in the online betting market. Then, just this week, the commission granted licenses to Casino Metro with Caesars and The Stadium (operating as WinIn), which will utilize IGT’s gaming platform.
This is an exciting development for Puerto Rico as WinIn becomes the first authorized operator outside a casino. The PRGC’s executive director, Jaime Rivera Emmanuelli, draws inspiration from the performance of US sportsbooks, where approximately 80% of sports betting is conducted online.
Based on this data, the PRGC predicts around $4 million in tax revenue and potentially an additional $300K from licensing products.
The tax percentages for sports betting differ depending on whether it is conducted at retail locations or online. There is a 7% tax on retail bets and a 12% tax on online wagers. Emmanuelli clarifies that the tax is based on the house’s earnings rather than the total bet.
Emmanuelli assures that all three licensed companies have met the necessary requirements outlined by local laws and regulations. This allows them to launch their online operations and provide mobile applications for placing bets from any location and electronic device.
PRGC’s growth as it starts embracing online
Looking ahead, the PRGC has received a considerable number of applications for licenses. Currently, they are reviewing approximately 50 applications, with most of them coming from service providers. For now, BetMGM, Caesars, and IGT will have a stronghold on the market while the regulator evaluates internal operating controls of the remaining two licensed operators.
Emmanuelli emphasizes that the licensing process will foster the growth of a responsible industry. Online betting platforms offer a high level of security, enabling the PRGC to monitor and control their operations. The commission can gather real-time data on popular betting areas and transactions, providing valuable insights to operators and regulators. This could be used to know their next steps, as well as interact with their players more.
But overall, this growth for the PRGC is great news. Soon, they could be a hotspot for many licenses like that for Curacao. They also believe that their partners for now are great in what they do, which could attract even more providers in the long run.
It’s worth noting that online gambling is limited to an area within five nautical miles off the coast of Puerto Rico, including the island of Mona and the municipal islands of Vieques and Culebra. For legal purposes, the licensee’s power would not hold outside of these boundaries. This geographic boundary ensures the regulation and oversight of online gambling activities in the region.
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