Gamblers may be able to wager from their phones in Puerto Rico very soon. It has been about 2.5 years since Puerto Rico legalized gambling, and it has been 18 months since retail betting began in the U.S. territory and now finally digital betting may happen in less than a month. It is being reported that Caesars Sportsbook, which is connected to Casino Metro, has received preliminary clearance and is awaiting a start date. GeoComply acknowledged that it has been licensed but has not yet been given a go-live date for when to start its surveillance. Another company with preliminary approval is BetMGM, which has a sportsbook in Casino del Mar in the La Concha Resort. Since December of last year, Caesars has offered in-person betting, while BetMGM has done so since February of this year.
Seven providers and vendors, including Kambi, received licenses from the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission in March. Although neither DraftKings nor FanDuel presently offers betting in Puerto Rico, both companies have established relationships in Puerto Rico. In 2022, DraftKings established a partnership with the Foxwoods El San Juan Casino, and in 2020, FanDuel announced a partnership with CAGE Sports BV for access to markets around the Caribbean and South America, including Puerto Rico. When digital betting is launched, bettors will have to open their account in person. Nevada is currently the only other state where that is required.
Tax revenue is generated through retail gambling. The Puerto Rican government received about $416,000 in tax revenue through mid-May in the roughly 18 months that retail wagering has been available, according to EGR North America, with a spike in wagering beginning in March at the start of the World Baseball Classic and the Major League Baseball season.
Online betting will be subject to a 12 percent tax in Puerto Rico, while retail betting is taxed at 7 percent of adjusted gross income. The original rates for sportsbook operators were envisioned to be 12% but retail sportsbooks pay a 7A% tax. Puerto Rico betting sites is regulated by the Puerto Rico Gambling Commission. That commission was established in 2019 and it regulates casinos and sports betting.
It is expected that when online sports betting gets rolling in Puerto Rico that there will be a number of online sportsbooks. When the license in Puerto Rico was first granted, it was expected that as many as 10 sportsbooks would look to enter the market. While it would be great for bettors if there were 10 different books offering online sports betting, the reality is that there will be far fewer. It takes time for sportsbooks to get everything in place to offer online sports betting in a new location, so look for online sports betting to start in Puerto Rico with just a few operators, with more coming online as time passes.