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Outgoing Puerto Rico Governor Signs Legal Sports Betting Into Law

Shortly before his planned resignation as governor of the unincorporated United States territory of Puerto Rico, Gov. Ricardo Rossello signed the the Betting Committee Act on July 29 before stepping down on August 2.

The act legalizes sports betting, horse race betting, fantasy sports and esports. In addition to Puerto Rico’s numerous casinos and one race track, the new law also legalizes off-track betting sites and mobile gaming.

“By signing this law, we are getting ready to witness the potential it provides to transform Puerto Rico into a vanguard jurisdiction, while benefitting the local economy,” Gov. Rossello said in a press release.
“With this legislation, the island will be able to market itself nationally and internationally as an attractive destination for sports betting events.”

Economy Boost Expected

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico House- and Senate-approved gaming act names the newly created Gambling Commission as the industry’s overseer.

Gaming rules and regulations have yet to be created, but tax rates on gross gaming revenue are expected to be 7% for retail sportsbooks and 12% for online platforms, the lowest of every U.S. state with legal sports betting other than Nevada.

Gov. Rosello advocated for legalized gambling last April, stating that it would attract more tourism to Puerto Rico, located in the Caribbean about 1,000 miles southeast of Miami, and help aid in recovery efforts from damages received during 2017’s hurricane Maria.

The Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce commissioned a study from the Innovation Group, which reported that the government could see tax revenue of $29 million in 2020, with increasing yearly tax revenues up to $87 million in 2024.

 

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