Proposed PR sports betting legislation could bridge the debt gap in Hurricane Maria's aftermath.
When the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, allowing legalized sports betting in the US, that also included Puerto Rico. And after nearly a year since PASPA was overturned, steps are finally being taken to legalize sports betting in Puerto Rico.
Governor Ricardo Rossello has announced plans for a proposal to start a complete package of sports betting in Puerto Rico, which would legalize online sports betting as well as live sports betting, and cover daily fantasy sports, as well as Esports. Gov. Rossello exclaimed that after the destruction and massive debt that Hurricane Maria caused to the island, it was time for Puerto Rico to tap into a potential revenue stream that could increase tourism and revenue for the country. Representative Nestor Alonso Vega, a chairperson of the House Tourism Committee, was tasked with writing the bill that details the creation of a Gambling Commission that would oversee their current horse racing operations.
Two Commissioned Studies Predict Large Revenues For Puerto Rico Sports Betting
Based on two studies contracted by the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce and carried out by The Innovation Group and the Spectrum Gaming Group, PR sports betting revenues seem rather promising. The Innovation Group predicted five years of sports betting revenue and PR online sports betting revenue starting in 2020, ranging from $29 million in 2020 to $87 million in 2024. Spectrum Gaming Group estimated that Puerto Rico could stand to collect anywhere between $44 million and $62 million.
Some of this revenue is based on the possible influx of betting on Esports in Puerto Rico, something that much of the continental United States has not taken advantage of. This would allow Puerto Rico sports betting to skew toward a younger demographic that comprises much of the Esports audience compared to the average age of a casino player.
Puerto Rico Sports Betting Would Take Place In Many Betting Facilities Across The Island
Lawmakers announced that the Puerto Rico Treasury would net revenue from the license fees as well as a six percent tax on land-based PR sports betting and 11 percent on Puerto Rico online sports betting. A deal would be struck where current horse betting facilities in Puerto Rico would get a discount on their sports betting licenses at 50% for 10 years.
In addition to PR online sports betting, these horse betting locations, casinos, racetracks, and former cockfighting facilities that were banned by the US Government in 2018, would be able to feature sports betting in Puerto Rico.
Now that the proposal has been drafted, the legislation must pass through Puerto Rico's legislative assembly and be approved before it lands on the Governor's desk to be signed into law.