Puerto Rico’s outgoing governor, Ricardo Rosselló, on 29 July signed the Betting Committee Act, which would legalize sports wagering in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Under the law, sports betting, horse race betting, fantasy contests and betting on esports will be allowed at casinos, at the island’s one racecourse, as well as at off-track betting parlors and online.
“By signing this law, we are getting ready to witness the potential it provides to transform Puerto Rico into a vanguard jurisdiction, while benefiting the local economy. With this legislation, the island will be able to market itself nationally and internationally as an attractive destination for sports betting events,” Rosselló said.
According to a report from the Innovation Group and commissioned by the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce, estimated revenues to the Government could be $29m for 2020, $51m for 2021 and should reach $87m by 2024.
The legislation was first proposed by Rosselló in April, when he said the law would help boost the territory’s tourism industry and allow for a smoother recovery following the effects of Hurricane Maria in 2017.
“Our administration is committed to new and creative ways to improve the lives of all Puerto Ricans, especially as we continue our reconstruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria,” added the outgoing governor of the unincorporated US territory. “This legislation, made possible by a Supreme Court decision last year, will make Puerto Rico an attractive place to visit, which will greatly benefit our tourism industry.”
The tax rate will be 7% on gross gaming revenue for retail sportsbooks and 12% for online, lower than every currently legal state US except for Nevada.
The bill’s signature will be one of Rosselló’s last acts as governor, having announced his resignation effective 2 August following leaked text messages that included jokes about the victims of Hurricane Maria.