BetMGM inks deal to join Puerto Rico's online market

Jon Pill
Posted on: September 02, 2021 16:46 PDT

BetMGM is expanding once again. According to a press release dropped today, BetMGM is partnering with the Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This partnership will allow BetMGM to provide mobile sports betting to the whole island and a retail sportsbook at the La Concha resort itself.

Online poker remains an unregulated (but not illegal) industry in Puerto Rico, as it is in most of the U.S. So, for now, it seems that BetMGM will not be expanding that particular service in Puerto Rico any time soon.

However, other forms of gambling are popular on the island—including live poker and live and online sports and table gaming. There's even legal cockfighting, making PR one of the few places to legalize and regulate the sport outside of the Philipines, where it is known as sabong.

BetMGM is a collaboration, putting together the expertise of Entain plc and the access to the U.S. market of the MGM group. This is the company's first foray beyond the bounds of the continental United States.

"This marks a major milestone for BetMGM," said Adam Greenblatt, the CEO of BetMGM. "As we share plans to bring our sports betting platform outside of the U.S. mainland for the first time, La Concha Resort is an ideal partner, and together we look forward to bringing BetMGM's retail and mobile sports betting experiences to sports fans across Puerto Rico."

With its foot in the door, BetMGM is now in a position to capitalize should anything change in Puerto Rico's regulation.

Flying down to Rico

The press release marks out the parameters of a large and mutually beneficial deal between the resort, BetMGM, the Puerto Rican authorities, and the local tourism and entertainment infrastructure.

The General Manager of the Casino del Mar at La Concha is Sigfrido De Jesús. He emphasized the benefits to the local community as well as tourism.

Jesús said, "Sports fans in Puerto Rico will now add excitement to their pastime with the possibility of winning more than just a game by their favorite team."

The La Concha Resort is operated by Paulson & Co. Understandably, the company is thrilled to get into bed with a big player in the industry like BetMGM.

"Paulson & Co. is always in search of innovation in services and entertainment for our properties and guests, that is why we are very excited for this agreement between Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort and BetMGM," said John Paulson, the President of Paulson & Co. "Sports are part of the everyday life in Puerto Rico, with a huge following and a passionate fan base in almost every sport. As such, it's natural that we are the first market outside the continental United States in which our guests will be able to place bets with BetMGM."

Online poker regulation

The Isle of Enchantment has about 3.3 million people on it. That's a population a little higher than Connecticut and a little lower than Nevada, both of which have regulated online poker. Though of course Puerto Rico has only a fraction of Vegas's gambling-tourist turnover. It's also about six times the population of Wyoming, into which BetMGM has also just moved.

Orlando A. Rivera Carrión of the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission added the government's line.

"The Government of Puerto Rico welcomes this partnership for the economic development of our island," Carrión said. "This new project will promote and encourage the growth of the gaming industry in Puerto Rico. All while implementing a public policy that encourages the development of new jobs and maximizing the income and resources of the Government of Puerto Rico. I trust in the success of this partnership and reiterate my total commitment to this initiative."

Whether this will help push the gambling commission to reconsider the rules on online poker on the island remains to be seen.

Featured image source: Flickr by Jeff Giannina