BetMGM, which operates under parent company MGM Resorts, has partnered with La Concha Resort’s Casino del Mar to launch sports betting on the island of Puerto Rico.
This is the first sports betting partnership for BetMGM outside of the U.S. mainland. Casino del Mar and BetMGM have an operating agreement at this time, and will need to receive licensing and regulatory approval to launch sports betting in Puerto Rico.
Sports betting is legal on the island, which is a U.S. territory, but regulatory approvals have yet to be firmed up, and no legal sportsbooks are operational as of yet.
According to details of the arrangement, BetMGM will seek to offer both retail and mobile sports betting in Puerto Rico, with the retail sportsbook located within La Concha Resort, which is located in San Juan. Current regulations allow for mobile and online sportsbooks to be available anywhere on the island.
Orlando A Rivera Carrión, Executive Director, Puerto Rico Gaming Commission, added: “The Government of Puerto Rico welcomes this partnership for the economic development of our island.
Understanding Online Sports Betting In Puerto Rico
As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico was impacted by the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision in 2018 that swept away the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA, which had limited or banned sports betting in the country since 1992.
In 2019, the Puerto Rican legislature approved a bill that allows both land-based and online sports betting. They also legalized daily fantasy sports and esports gaming. Lawmakers in Puerto Rico prohibited betting on amateur sports in the territory.
Implementation of the sports betting law was slowed in 2020 by COVID-19, as well as economic hardships on the island which lies roughly 1,000 miles southeast of Miami and has a population of 3.3 million. Most leaders in the territory support legalized sports betting as a means to generate revenue for an island that has faced unemployment and income disparity. Others are concerned that sports betting will negatively impact the poorest in the territory, who cannot afford to lose money in what can be an addictive behavior.
In 2020, Puerto Rico held a statehood referendum during their November general elections, which asked citizens if the island should become a U.S. state. The results revealed that 52 percent of Puerto Rico voters answered yes. It was the fourth official referendum vote in the history of the island, and received the most support.