Puerto Rico: The Gaming Commission warns of an increase in sports betting games

The Gaming Commission of the Government of Puerto Rico, through its Sports Betting Bureau, warned of an increase in the number of bets made in the land-based sports betting vertical.

According to the Puerto Rican media Metro, the director of said office, Eric De La Cruz, indicated that two important sports events boosted the plays in the operators licensed for face-to-face plays: the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, known as March Madness, and the World Baseball Classic.

The official pointed out that, although his office does not know the precise amount of gambling generated in Puerto Rico, the regulator detected the increase due to the increase in tax revenues generated by these games.

“The operators are the ones who have the data of the plays. […] What we receive is the tax established by the Law, but the operators’ data is supposed to be quite detailed”, said De La Cruz.

It should be noted that in the United States, sports betting is only done in person and from casinos. Meanwhile, the executive director of the Gaming Commission, Jaime Rivera Emmanuelli, recently said that the process of evaluation and authorization of online gambling operations is “very advanced.”

Jaime Rivera Emmanuelli, Puerto Rico's regulator

“Once certain final details are clarified, the door will officially open to online gambling from anywhere, using mobile devices such as smartphones and computers. […] Puerto Rico has the security, controls, and regulations that the United States requires of its jurisdictions,” Rivera said in March.

At that time, the Gaming Commission authorized seven new companies to operate sports betting on the island; three of them are operating companies, and the other four are service providers that assist in the betting process.

From the operators

For his part, Casino Metro’s General Manager, Ismael Vega, pointed out that its sportsbook – inaugurated last December – experienced “a milestone” during March on the back of a steady growth pattern.

“Since we opened in December, every month, we have been in double digits in bets. That doesn’t mean that we have increased our earnings in double digits because it all depends on how the events develop, but we have grown in participation since MetroBets has become a favorite among Puerto Rico’s clientele,” Vega pointed out.

Similarly, the Casino del Mar sportsbook – also launched in December 2022 – registered “an upward trend in players” in this vertical.