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2 more online betting operations approved in Puerto Rico

The executive director of the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission, Jaime Rivera-Emmanuelli, has announced the approval of two new online sports betting operations. This decision, along with the one approved a week ago, underlines the steady growth of the emerging industry on the island.

“A few weeks ago, the commissioners approved the first online betting operation for Casino del Mar and its business partner, BetMGM, which provides the electronic betting platform,” Rivera-Emmanuelli said. “Today we announce the approval of two more establishments: Casino Metro, which will operate in partnership with Caesars Entertainment, and Stadium (doing business as Winning), which will use the IGT betting platform.”

“With these three operations, we officially begin a new stage of sports betting in Puerto Rico, and with it, we will see the growth of this market, which will generate tourism activity, economic benefits and solid revenue for the government, among others,” he added.

To date, the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission has issued 30 licenses, comprising five operator licenses and 25 service provider licenses. Out of the five licensed operators, two are currently undergoing an evaluation of their internal operating controls. The licensing process will promote the development of professionals specialized in this field, Rivera-Emmanuelli said.

The regulatory body projects that the government will collect more than $4 million in revenue from sports betting in the next fiscal year. 

The official further noted that the global interest in digital betting platforms is a trend that Puerto Rico has successfully integrated into. 

“This new form of entertainment offers a wide range of plays in sports such as basketball, baseball and the NFL, which includes the Super Bowl event, and possibly special events like Miss Universe, among others,” Rivera-Emmanuelli said.

The official explained that the three licensed companies have met the parameters set by local law and regulations in their internal controls, qualifying them to launch their online operations and make their mobile applications available to the public for downloading and placing bets from anywhere, and on any electronic device.

“One of the advantages of online betting sites is their high level of security,” he assured. “In Puerto Rico, the Gaming Commission is responsible for regulating, overseeing and controlling the activities of online betting operators, ensuring that users have a satisfactory gaming experience.”

Rivera-Emmanuelli explained the difference between in-person bets made at casinos and electronic bets: “Until now, players had to go to a gaming center, in this case, a casino, and place their bets from there. Once those betting centers met the requirements established by the Gaming Commission, they were able to move on to the new phase of online betting,” Rivera-Emmanuelli said.

For a company to obtain authorization to operate online, it must meet the commission’s two-stage approval process. The first stage involves obtaining the operator’s license, whether it is a casino or another type of establishment. This stage evaluates whether the entity and its main partners or shareholders meet the requirements to belong to the highly regulated industry. They must demonstrate that they fulfill their tax obligations and provide the corporation’s financial statements, among other criteria.

The second phase ensures the operator’s internal controls comply with around 18 daily operation standards. These include accounting and tax payment procedures, measures to prevent money laundering, ensuring timely payments to players, preventing conflicts between players and gaming establishments, preventing hacking attempts, and ensuring that players reside in Puerto Rico.

Rivera-Emmanuelli said there are almost 50 license applications pending at the Gaming Commission, mostly to provide services to electronic platforms and operators.

He also pointed out that the new industry will generate additional revenue for the government that would otherwise not enter the public coffers, and assured that Puerto Rico’s economy will benefit from the entry of specialized companies that will inject new capital. 

“Our employees, suppliers and all of us who work in this industry will gain knowledge and skills from those with years of proven experience in other jurisdictions,” he said. “This emerging industry of international significance will also foster the creation of new human capital and well-paid jobs. Legal and marketing advisers will be necessary, as well as programmers, technology platform developers, and even journalists specializing in gaming and technology applicable to this field. New professions and new jobs will emerge, and the door will be open for the retraining of the workforce, which needs to evolve to retain their jobs.”

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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