BetMGM Inaugurates New Sportsbook at Puerto Rico’s La Concha Resort

Posted on: December 16, 2022, 09:11h. 

Last updated on: December 16, 2022, 09:43h.

This past February, legal sports betting arrived in Puerto Rico at the Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort. It was a joint effort with sports betting and iGaming company BetMGM, which has now added a full retail sportsbook to the property.

Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort
Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort at night. The casino launched a full BetMGM-branded sportsbook this week. (Image: Puerto Rico Go)

When it started, BetMGM accepted bets at the San Juan-based resort through 12 kiosks and five betting windows. They opened just in time for the Super Bowl, with BetMGM also planning on adding a mobile betting app in Puerto Rico to complement the rollout.

On Thursday, the BetMGM Sports Book Lounge at Casino del Mar opened to the public. It was the culmination of the almost year-long plan to help evolve Puerto Rico’s sports betting market and is the first of many that will enter the US territory.

Legal Sports Betting a Boost to PR’s Economy

Electronic sports betting is a new segment of the entertainment industry in Puerto Rico, with the potential to be an important source of employment and to create a number of commercial spaces for entertainment.

Following an economic downturn that’s lasted for several years, Puerto Rico has been looking for ways to turn things around. Sports betting and online gaming are just two of the options that are getting support from lawmakers.

The new BetMGM sportsbook is a $3.5-million investment that’s created 15 new full-time jobs to add to the casino’s existing 200-strong workforce. BetMGM and a coowner of the casino, Fahad Ghaffar, promise it will be an “innovative entertainment experience” for all patrons.

The sportsbook has 12 kiosks where customers can place their bets independently, as well as four stations where they can receive assistance from trained personnel if they need some help. It also has multiple viewing screens to catch all the action.

The BetMGM Sports Book Lounge operates Monday to Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. On Friday to Sunday, it opens at 9:00 a.m. and closes at 12:00 a.m.

In addition to the sportsbook, Casino del Mar also has kiosks available inside the casino that are available 24 hours a day. The sportsbook options are available only to members of Casino del Mar.

PR Casinos on the Rebound

Casinos in Puerto Rico are beginning to bounce back after COVID-19 shut them down. The combined revenue for fiscal year 2022 was more than $355 million, 38.69% higher than the $256 million a year earlier.

That’s a significant jump, considering how the overall economy has improved. It grew just 14.4% from 2021 to 2022, and the results of the gambling industry are why there’s a legislative push for expansion.

Any expansion implies the need for more controls, and that might be a problem. The recent case of a man who was caught manipulating a roulette machine in a casino has raised alarms about a lack of regulatory oversight.

Edgardo Lizardi, the president of the Association of Gambling Inspectors (AIJA, for its Spanish acronym), sees trouble ahead. Speaking to local media outlet Metro, he warned that similar breaches could occur because of the lack of inspectors with the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission (PRGC) in casinos.

Lizardi told the media outlet that the regulator needs to hire more inspectors. He singled out Alexis Berrios, a PRGC executive, for explicitly causing damage. Lizardi said that Berrios told inspectors to reduce the time they spend on the clock, even if it means foregoing proper inspections.

The PGRC hasn’t responded to the complaint.