The governor Puerto Rico has announced the drafting of a bill permitting online and land-based sports betting in the US-controlled Caribbean territory, predicting annual tax revenue of between $44m and $66m.
Supported by chairman of the House Tourism Committee Nestor Alonso Vega, the bill would also create a new Gaming Commission of seven members, working with the Financial Institutions Commissioner’s Office to regulate the industry and oversee licensing.
“This industry has the potential to convert Puerto Rico into a jurisdiction in the vanguard of allowing the establishment of this new model, which will have a positive effect on our economy,” said Ricardo Rosselló.
“We have worked on aggressive legislation that aspires at being able to market the island at the international and national levels as an attractive destination for the millions of people who bet on sports events.”
The bill, which would also lay groundwork for the legalisation of fantasy and esports gaming, would introduce six percent tax on in-person bets, and an 11 percent tax on those made online, with any existing racetracks and casinos able to apply for a licence.
Preferential consideration, however, would be given to horse betting agencies, as well as a 50 percent reduction in the cost of the ten-year licence, with funds directed toward youth sports porgrammes.
“The legislation provides for all the security safeguards to exist in order to guarantee that children under 18 do not participate in these games,” added Rosselló. “It will also firmly address those problems of gambling addiction that may arise.”