BetMGM Launches as Puerto Rico’s First Legal Online Sportsbook

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BetMGM has launched its online sportsbook in Puerto Rico this week, becoming the first operator to do so in the unincorporated US territory.

The US-based international casino giant is now offering online and mobile sports betting services, in partnership with local casino operation Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort in the island’s capital of San Juan.

Related: Our expert review of BetMGM online casino

Great Collaboration

MGM has operated a retail sportsbook at the Casino del Mar venue since 2022. The Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico legalized retail and online sports betting when it passed House Bill 2038 in 2019.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic stalled those plans for several years. The island’s regulator, the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission, started issuing licenses just last year.

“BetMGM is ecstatic to become the first operator to deliver mobile sports betting to Puerto Rico,” said BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt. “This great collaboration between local officials and Casino del Mar provides a safe, responsible, and entertaining product accessible from anywhere on the island.”

“In addition to being an attraction for sports fans, this will have a positive impact on the revenues of the Treasury,” Casino del Mar’s General Manager Sigfrido De Jesús said in a joint press release from the two operators.

“Creating this technological alliance with a company of BetMGM’s caliber has allowed both Casino del Mar and the government to learn about innovation in the betting industry.”

Puerto Rico’s regulators have also taken a couple of interesting twists on the usual legal states sports betting framework.

Players wishing to use online sportsbooks must be 18 or over. But they also have to register at the operation’s retail location before they can place online bets.

“Prior to placing any sports bet, whether in person or online, the player must register in an authorized location,” the legislation states.

Puerto Rico sports betting rules also include a specific clause on cockfighting bets, a sport that is completely banned in every other US territory, with law enforcement actively shutting down events.

In Puerto Rico, a federal court decision imposed a ban on cockfighting in 2019. However, many formerly licensed venues continue to operate in defiance of the law, attracting big crowds of bettors.

First of Many

BetMGM may be the first online sportsbook to launch in Puerto Rico, but competition is very likely to soon arrive on the scene.

Caesars is the only other operator to currently offer retail sports betting on the island, taking wagers at Casino Metro. It is currently licensed for an online sportsbook, but awaiting a launch date from regulators.

Meanwhile, national sports betting market leaders DraftKings and FanDuel are in the process of applying for a license from the Gaming Commission.

DraftKings has negotiated a deal with Foxwoods El San Juan Casino to open a retail sportsbook on its site, pending regulatory approval. Once the site is up and running, it can apply for an online license.

Foxwoods San Juan is owned and operated by The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut. It is the tribe’s first casino venture outside its native state. It spent $12.5 million renovating an existing casino property on the site before opening in 2021.

The tribe has an existing relationship with DraftKings, which operates sports betting in Connecticut in partnership with local casinos.

Meanwhile, FanDuel inked a partnership with physical casino game and lottery terminal developer The Cage Companies in 2021. The Cage Companies focus on the Caribbean and South American markets, and has a gambling license in Puerto Rico.

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