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Puerto Rico Looks to Tap Into Lucrative Sports Betting Field

Puerto Rico is looking to tap into the lucrative sports betting field with a new bill that aims to legalize the practice on the island, news outlet the Caribbean Business reports

The Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, announced Monday that a bill calling for the legalization and regulation of in-person and online sports betting has been introduced to the local Legislature.

The piece was authored by Rep. Néstor Alonso Vega, who chairs the House Tourism Committee. It was namely that committee the legislation was introduced to on Monday. In addition to online and in-person sports gambling, the bill, if approved, will also legalize fantasy sports and betting on eSports.

Commenting on Puerto Rico’s push to expand gambling, Gov. Rosselló said Monday that the introduction of the bill was prompted by a recent study by Spectrum Gaming Group, according to which the island could annually collect between $44 million and $66 million in taxes from regulated betting activities.

Addressing concerns that the introduction of new gambling services would cannibalize existing casino revenue, Puerto Rico’s top official said that sports betting has the potential to “capture a different demographic” than the one frequenting local casinos.

Licensing and Taxation

If the newly introduced bill gains traction in the Puerto Rico Legislature, it will result in the legalization and regulation of both in-person and online sports betting. The legislation would create a new Gaming Commission that will be responsible for regulating the newly expanded industry and issuing licenses to interested operators.

It will comprise seven members of the public and of the local private sector. While the Commission will be the regulatory body, it will be the Financial Institutions Commissioner’s Office that will be tasked with the oversight of the re-organized market.

As announced by lawmakers on Monday, the Puerto Rico Treasury will collect revenue from license fees and taxes on the provision of sports gambling services. Sports betting will be taxed at 6% on in-person bets and 11% on digitally placed wagers.

Existing facilities such as casinos and race tracks will, too, be able to apply for sports betting licenses. It was also announced on Monday that horse betting agencies will be offered a 50% discount on their sports betting licenses for a 10-year period.

Tax funds from legalized sports betting will be allocated to programs for preventing and combating problem gambling, promoting youth sports, supplying better equipment to the local police, promoting different educational initiatives as well as to cover costs of the new Gaming Commission, Gov. Rosselló said Monday.

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The post Puerto Rico Looks to Tap Into Lucrative Sports Betting Field appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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April 2019
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