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Puerto Rico Could Move to Legalize Sports Betting

Puerto Rican lawmaker tables two sports betting bills aimed to boost the nation’s casino industry

Legal sports betting could soon arrive to Puerto Rico if two bills on the matter gain the necessary approval by the island nation’s government, local news outlets reported earlier this week.

Both pieces of legislation were introduced by Representative Néstor Alonso Vega, a legislator from the New Progressive Party (Partido Nuevo Progresista, PNP) and President of the House Commission of Tourism and Social Welfare.

Puerto Rico’s move towards legal sports betting comes after the US Supreme Court struck down a long-standing ban on wagering on professional and amateur sporting events, commonly known as PASPA. Several US states have already moved to legalize and launch sports betting services, including New Jersey which was the state to lead the anti-PASPA effort. The state’s casinos and racecourses recorded “stunning” results in September, handling $183.9 million in wagers.

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated United States territory, located approximately 1,000 from the US East Coast. Encouraged by the buzz that sports betting has created across North America, the tiny island nation is now looking to create its own regulated sports betting industry.

As mentioned earlier the legislative push is led by Rep. Alonso Vega, who believes that the passage of his two bills and the legalization of sports betting at Puerto Rico’s casinos could bring additional revenue of $20 million to the gambling venues.

Details about the Two Bills

Rep. Alonso Vega’s pieces contain provisions about the legalization, regulation, and taxation of wagering at the nation’s casinos. Under the bills, 20% of gross income from sports betting would be contributed to Puerto Rico’s retirement system, while 80% would remain for casinos that provide the services.

The two bills also provide for the legalization of Internet gambling. If approved, the two legislations will thus allow Puerto Rico’s bettors to place wagers via desktop or their mobile phones. In order to be able to do so, they will have to register with the nation’s gambling venues as these will host the Internet wagering services. In comments regarding his effort to legalize betting, Rep. Alonso Vega has said that the move would boost the local land-based casino industry.

However, the industry itself has expressed doubts that wagering is what it needs. According to Miguel Vega, President of local hotel and casino developer and operator HI Development, Puerto Rico’s gaming market is already saturated and will not see any significant gains if sports gambling becomes legal. Mr. Vega is a former Chairman of the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association (PRHTA).

The Association is set to present Rep. Alonso Vega with a study on the current state of the nation’s casino industry and the potential benefits it could reap from the legalization of sports betting. The two sports betting bills have up to later today to be discussed and approved by the Puerto Rico government as it is the last day of its ordinary legislative session. In previous comments, Rep. Alonso Vega has expressed confidence in the success of his legislations.

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The post Puerto Rico Could Move to Legalize Sports Betting appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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