Caesars Expands Puerto Rican Sportsbook Into the Digital Space

Posted on: June 28, 2023, 07:28h. 

Last updated on: June 28, 2023, 10:33h.

Caesars Entertainment already had an established sports betting presence in Puerto Rico thanks to its partnership with Casino Metro. It’s now extending that agreement into the digital realm with the launch of an online sportsbook.

The Sheraton Hotel and Casino Metro complex in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at dusk
The Sheraton Hotel and Casino Metro complex in San Juan, Puerto Rico at dusk. The Caesars Entertainment-run sportsbook at the casino is launching an online sports betting platform. (Image: TripAdvisor)

With the approval of two new sports betting licenses by the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission (PRGC), there are now three gaming operators in the online space. Those three alone, if the government’s figures are accurate, will produce big rewards for Puerto Rico during the next fiscal year.

A few weeks ago, commissioners approved the first online betting operation for Casino del Mar and its business partner, BetMGM, which supplies the electronic betting platform. This past Monday, the commission announced the approval of two more venues, Casino Metro with Caesars and The Stadium (under the WinIn brand), which will use IGT’s gaming platform.

Gambling to Boost Puerto Rico’s Coffers

Of these two new online sportsbooks, WinIn is the first authorized operator outside a casino. It and IGT began their journey in Puerto Rico two years ago when they first teamed up.

In May, Puerto Rico’s sports betting market saw $470K in sports bets, all of which were in-person since the first online sportsbook wasn’t approved until then. The government expects this to change with the entry of online betting, and puts revenue projections in the millions.

The executive director of the PRGC, Jaime Rivera Emmanuelli, bases the forecast on the performance of US sportsbooks. He explained that 80% of the country’s sports betting handle comes through the online segment, which was used to calculate the new figures.

There’s a 7% tax on retail bets and 12% on online wagers. Emmanuelli explained that the data, adjusted for Puerto Rico’s potential market, means around $4 million in tax revenue, and possibly another $300K in licensing products.

The percentage of the tax on sports betting isn’t based on the total bet, but is instead based on what the house earns.

The PRGC boss pointed out that the three licensed companies have complied with the requirements required by local law and regulations. This has allowed them to launch their operations online and make mobile applications available to the public that may be used to place bets from any location and electronic device.

More Sportsbooks to Follow

To date, the PRGC has issued 30 licenses covering five operators and 25 service providers. Of the five licensed operators, two are in the process of evaluating internal operating controls. Neither has been identified.

Emmanuelli has said that the regulator is currently reviewing about 50 applications for licenses. The majority of these are for service providers, which means BetMGM, Caesars and IGT will, for now, control the market.

Emmanuelli is confident that the licensing will promote the development of a responsible industry. He stressed that one of the main advantages of online betting platforms is their high level of security.

One of the requirements for operators is to implement geofencing to create a virtual geographic betting boundary. The technology includes software that triggers a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area.

This will allow the PRGC to control where platforms operate. It will also be able to compile data on which areas are more popular with bettors. As a result, operators and the commission have information in real time about the transactions.

The geographic limit for online gambling is five nautical miles off the coast of Puerto Rico. This includes the island of Mona and the municipal islands of Vieques and Culebra.