The Puerto Rico Gaming Commission Approves Seven New Licenses
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About 1,000 miles southeast of Miami lives the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Caribbean Island that is also an unincorporated territory of the United States, and in 2019 like over thirty other U.S. states have done, Puerto Rico legalized sports betting as is their right to do.
Except due to governmental ‘changes’ and the recent worldwide pandemic, the Island of Enchantment’s legal sports betting market has never really taken off beyond its many casinos, but that might be changing based on what the PR Gaming Commission (PRGC) did last week.
According to PRGC interim exec. director Jaime Rivera-Emmanuelli, last week the regulatory agency authorized seven new companies to operate within the island’s sports betting market – three sportsbook operators and four service providers that will assist with the betting process:
· Ballers Puerto Rico Sportsbook LLC
· Liberman Media Group Gaming LLC (LMG)
· CCHPR Hospitality, LLC (Casino Metro).
· Continent 8 Technologies PR LLC
· Caesars Digital PR, Inc
· Swish Analytics Puerto Rico Inc
· US Integrity Inc
Industry insiders no doubt hope this means Puerto Rico is making serious plans to grow its lukewarm sports betting market by expanding its offerings, including by giving resident bettors the ability to place wagers from the comfort of their own couches via mobile devices.
Something they cannot do now, at least not yet.
There are over twenty casinos in Puerto Rico, retail locations where sports bettors can always place their bets, but without a mobile option, many bettors simply rely on unregulated offshore sportsbooks to take their action and all that money flows right off the island.
The U.S. sports betting market officially went legal state to state once the Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May 2018 thereby handing over that right to any state whose residents wanted it, and since then that united market has generated almost a $160 billion handle.
That much action fueled almost $12 billion in sportsbook revenue which broke down to about $1.9 billion in tax revenue that went to those participating states, a new income stream that Puerto Rico has access to if lawmakers and industry leaders begin to foster that growth.
By authorizing those seven new players, the PRGC has already generated more income for the state because those companies had to pay for those licenses they applied for and received, with operators spending $50k each, tech platform providers $15k, and service providers $5k.
However, Puerto Rico isn’t in it just for the money.
Sure, the sports betting tax revenue is nice, implies PRGC interim ED Rivera-Emmanuelli, but he also stresses the importance of that market as a source of employment and entertainment in addition to all that money, factors that make the growth of that industry even more critical.
Puerto Rico is home to 3.26 million Americans, a good many of whom enjoy putting a few dollars on the sports events they watch and root for, and PR is also a popular vacation destination filled with happy tourists who like to gamble, especially if it’s easy and legal to do so.
It looks like the PRGC’s goal is to create a new push for mobile sports betting market launch which is good news for the island’s gamblers since online sportsbooks like DraftKings are already set up there, ready and waiting for legal permission to start taking mobile sports bets.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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