BetMGM Entering Puerto Rico, First Sports Betting Market Access Outside Mainland US

Posted on: September 3, 2021, 10:23h. 

Last updated on: September 3, 2021, 03:42h.

BetMGM and Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico have announced the gaming company is bringing mobile sports wagering to the territory, marking the first access agreement outside the 50 states.

BetMGM Puerto Rico
La Concha Resort in Puerto Rico towers above the beach below. Its Casino del Mar will be home to a BetMGM sportsbook. (Image: La Concha Resort)

The Caribbean island is an unincorporated territory of the US. Puerto Rico passed sports betting, daily fantasy sports (DFS), and esports legislation in 2019. That paved the way for the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission (PRGC) to set regulations and standards and issue permits to operators.

As part of the agreement and subject to regulatory approvals, BetMGM will offer both retail and mobile sports betting, with the opening of a retail sportsbook at the San Juan-based beach resort and the launch of the BetMGM mobile app throughout Puerto Rico,” according to a statement.

Puerto Rico’s sports wagering regulatory process has been slow-moving and the territory missed out on the 2021 Major League Baseball (MLB) season — a blow to revenue-raising efforts because baseball is one of the most popular sports there.

BetMGM and La Concha Puerto Rico’s regulated sports wagering market is expected to commence early next year.

For BetMGM, Potential in Puerto Rico

BetMGM, a 50/50 joint venture between MGM Resorts International and Entain, is, by the operators’ estimates, the second-largest US online sportsbook operator.

Regarding Puerto Rico, the market is potentially compelling for operators like BetMGM. It’s home to 3.28 million residents, making it larger than several states where sports betting is legal, including Iowa, Arkansas, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, just to name a few. Additionally, the island is home to about two dozen casinos, all of which operate out of resorts.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Puerto Rico was a major cruise destination with the Port of San Juan annually welcoming 1.4 million visitors from cruise ships.

Combine a vibrant tourism industry (assuming a rebound from COVID-19) and locals’ embrace of American sports, such as MLB and the NBA, and Puerto Rico is a market with some positives for gaming companies.

Plus, the sports betting tax situation is friendly. Operators will pay six percent of gross gaming revenue (GGR) from sports wagering at retail sportsbooks and 12 percent on bets place online or on mobile devices.

BetMGM Odds and Ends

The deal with Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort extends a busy stretch of market access agreements for BetMGM. In recent weeks, the gaming company announced it’s adding Arizona, South Dakota, and Wyoming, among others, to the roster of states in which it’s operational.

Earlier this week, BetMGM joined FOX Bet, PointsBet, and WynnBET as NFL-approved sportsbook operators for this season.

La Concha Resort is owned by John Paulson’s Paulson & Co., a hedge fund that was previously a major investor in MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM).