Online sports betting has landed in Puerto Rico, marking an exciting new chapter in the island's gaming industry.
Four years following the legalization of both online and in-person sports betting, Puerto Rico has unveiled the first digital sportsbook in the region, spearheaded by BetMGM.
This development comes after considerable delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which stalled the process of establishing rules and issuing licenses for sportsbook operations.
In 2019, the Puerto Rico Legislative Assembly passed House Bill 2038, which legalized sports betting, including wagering on esports and fantasy sports contests.
The Puerto Rico Gaming Commission, responsible for regulating all forms of gambling in the region, finally began issuing retail sportsbook licenses last year.
BetMGM, which was the first operator to start retail wagering on the island, recently received the green signal from the local government to take its operations online.
The BetMGM Sportsbook, located inside Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort in San Juan, offers an extensive range of betting options for patrons.
"BetMGM is thrilled to be the first operator to introduce mobile sports betting to Puerto Rico," stated BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt. "Our collaboration with local officials and Casino del Mar offers a secure, responsible, and entertaining product accessible from anywhere on the island."
Despite the convenience of online betting, Puerto Rico's law mandates that players must register in person at a retail sportsbook before placing bets online. This move is to ensure that only individuals aged 18 and older can access the online sportsbooks.
While BetMGM has taken the lead in bringing online sports betting to Puerto Rico, other significant players like DraftKings and FanDuel are not far behind.
Both companies have already secured partnerships on the island, paving the way for them to apply for online sportsbook licenses.
Recently, the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission announced the approval of two additional online sports betting operations - Casino Metro and Stadium (Winnin).
Casino Metro will operate in association with Caesars Entertainment, while Stadium will use IGT's betting platform.
"With these three operations, we officially kick off a new stage of sports betting in Puerto Rico. This will stimulate the growth of this market, generating tourism activity, economic benefits, and significant revenue for the government," said Jaime Rivera-Emmanuelli, the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission's executive director.
The Gaming Commission has issued 30 licenses so far, including five operator licenses and 25 service provider licenses.
Two of the five licensed operators are currently undergoing an evaluation of their internal operating controls. The commission has predicted that sports betting will garner over $4 million in revenue for the government in the next fiscal year.
Companies must pass a two-stage approval process to be endorsed to operate online sports betting in Puerto Rico. This process involves demonstrating fulfillment of tax obligations, delivering financial statements, and ensuring compliance with 18 daily operation standards, including accounting and tax payment procedures, measures to prevent money laundering, and ensuring timely payments to players.
As Puerto Rico welcomes the era of online sports betting, the future seems promising - both for the gaming industry and for the island's economic landscape.
With companies like BetMGM, Casino Metro, and Stadium leading the way, this new chapter in Puerto Rico's gaming history is sure to be an exciting one.