Puerto Rico Moves Closer To U.S. Sports Betting DFS And eSports

Recently the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission (PRGC) announced the start of a 30-day public consultation period. The PRGC says questions and comments from the general public are to be considered and potentially discussed before the next meeting of the commission, scheduled virtually for August 19 at 9 a.m.

Last year Puerto Rico passed sports betting, DFS and entertainment rules. The bill provided authority to the PRGC to control the gaming activities and to grant licenses for eligible operators.

PRGC Executive Director Jose Maymo-Azize added that COVID-19 made it all the more imperative to legalize sports betting, DFS and sports, as casino resorts across the territory have lost tens of millions of dollars in revenue as a result of significantly reduced tourism.

Puerto Rico is subject to the powers of Congress under the territorial clause provided for in Article IV, Section 3 of the United States Constitution. U.S. federal law therefore applies to the sovereign state located about 1,000 miles southeast of Miami.

The May 2018 US Supreme Court ruling that the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was in violation of the Tenth Amendment’s anti-commandeering provisions granted states and territories the freedom to decide their own sports betting rules.

Puerto Rico called on the PRGC in its initial legislation to authorize online and land based sports betting. Sportsbooks will share with the government six percent of their brick-and – mortar gross gaming revenue (GGR), and 12 percent of their mobile sports win.

Sports betting would be allowed at various businesses, including casinos, casino-free hotels, inns, racetracks and any other establishment PRGC considers viable and secure.

DFS operators must pay a tax of 12 percent on their entry fees collected for the contest.

Tourism is a important contributor to Puerto Rican economy. Yet the coronavirus has dealt a devastating blow to the industry, one that could last for months, if not years.

Puerto Rico is Spanish for “rich port,” but in the near future, its busiest port is going to be anything but wealthy. Every year the Port of San Juan receives over 1.4 million annual cruise passengers. More than 40 cruise ships reported cases of coronavirus until they suspended operations.

Puerto Rico is home to nearly two dozen casinos, many located at resorts. They have suffered, also, because the pandemic has halted international air travel.

Puerto Rico formally initiated a campaign last month declaring the reopening of inbound tourism, effective July 15. Yet after an spike in new COVID-19 incidents, the government reimplemented restrictions and ordered the closing of casinos, restaurants, gyms, marinas and theatres.