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Puerto Rico keen to legalise gambling

Fri, Apr 5, 9:39am by Staff Writer

A United States controlled territory in the Caribbean could soon begin to offer sports gambling with a bill drafted that would allow both in person and online wagers in Puerto Rico that would also open doors for gambling on fantasy sports and esports.

According to an article in Caribbean Business, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosello announced the bill last Monday.

It was drafted by Representative Nestor Alonso Vega, the chairman of the House Tourism Committee, and Rosello believes that legalised sports gambling could attract anywhere from $44 million to $66 million in taxes each year.

The bill seeks to create a new Gaming Commission that would be responsible for creating the regulations for the sports gambling industry and for issuing licences to operators.

That commission would be composed of seven individuals from the public and private sectors and would work closely with the Financial Institutions Commissioner’s Office, which would be in charge of overseeing the market.

According to Rosello, “this industry has the potential to convert Puerto Rico into a jurisdiction in the vanguard of allowing the establishment of this new model, which will have a positive effect on our economy.”

“We have worked on aggressive legislation that aspires at being able to market the island at the international and national levels as an attractive destination for the millions of people who bet on sports events,” he said.

The tax rates to be assessed are in line with what has been seen in a number of American states.

In-person bets would incur a six per cent tax and online wagers an 11 per cent tax.

Any existing gambling facility, including racetracks and casinos, can apply for a licence.

Horse betting agencies are given a preferred status – they are provided a 50 per cent discount on the license for a 10-year period, according to the bill.

Tax revenue generated from sports gambling would go to programs to prevent problem gambling, as well as programs to promote youth sports.

In addition, the police would receive updated equipment and several educational initiatives would receive better funding.

Rosello added, “on the social aspect, the legislation provides for all the security safeguards to exist in order to guarantee that children under 19 do not participate in these games.”

“It will also firmly address the problems of gambling addiction that may arise. These matters are a priority, as well as providing adequate control to avoid money laundering and tax evasion,” he said.

Buenos Aires legalises gambling

Buenos Aires has recently approved a decree that lets the province legalise online gaming and betting services, according to European Gaming.

The newly approved piece of legislation authorises the provision of online slots and other casino games, lotteries, betting on virtual sports, betting on horse races, as well as sports betting and betting on non-sporting events.

The legalisation and introduction of rules concerning the practice falls under the purview of the provincial government.

The Buenos Aires Provincial Institute of Lottery and Casinos will grant licences to interested operators.

Under Decree 181, up to seven online gambling licences will be issued and a single operator will be allowed to hold only one licence.

Approved gambling operators will have to pay a 25 per cent tax on their revenue from the province.

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