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More information about Puerto Rico – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations

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Find the Best American Casino Online

The unincorporated nature of Puerto Rico from the rest of the US means that the island has been able to integrate its own gambling laws that have proven themselves far more liberal than most US states. While online gambling activities remain largely restricted across the US, Puerto Rico has consistently remained liberal in its gambling legislation meaning that the territory now enjoys a fully regulated market with all of its advantages attached. For players this means having extra safety nets like legal recourse and government oversight, giving more freedom to find the best value sites out there with the minimal amount of risk required to do so. That doesn’t mean that players should be carefree though and asking yourself a few questions to establish the legitimacy and value of an operation is a great start to getting the best experience possible.

  • Is the casino fully licensed?
  • What is the reputation of the licensing body?
  • Are your preferred payment methods accepted?
  • Does the site offer any special promotions for Peurto Rican players?
  • Is a clearly defined loyalty program featured?

You might not be able to find all of the answers given to you directly on-site and therefore you may need to do some of your own online research. Keeping it here at GoodLuckMate provides you with instant access to valuable casino reviews and other industry-relevant articles that you can use to enhance your gaming experience.

Gambling Regulation – Games of Chance Act of 1948

Peurto Ricos liberal gambling laws first came into being with the Games of Chance Act of 1948, which was the catalyst for the island becoming a prime Caribbean gambling destination. Almost all forms of land-based gambling are legal and regulated in Puerto Rico, even cockfighting was a regulated activity until its ban in 2018 mainly due to animal cruelty concerns. Casinos, betting shops, horse racing, greyhound racing, and lotteries are still very much commonplace across the main island. 

Unfortunately, online gambling still remains in a relative grey-zone in Puerto Rico. Recent changes in US laws over the past decade have allowed individual states to open up their own local online casino operations. States like Pennsylvania and New Jersey have been enjoying these additional freedoms for years now. Peurto Rico could have also taken up this opportunity to regulate their own online poker and casino market, but instead chose to opt-out of making any advancements on the agenda. As such there are currently no laws prohibiting residents from playing online nor are there any additional safeguards to protect them when doing so.

Localized Online Casinos

While most of the industry remains restricted from providing their services to US players, online casinos are already set up in a way to be very suitable for US players. Most online casinos are based in Europe and therefore have to deal with a multitude of various languages, cultures and currencies. As it is not achievable by most organizations to cater to all walks of life, defaults are instead put in place to reach the widest demographic of players. The vast majority of sites therefore use English language options by default and major US events like the Superbowl are also widely represented, due to their worldwide appeal. 

The main issues that US players face are regarding payments (more on that below) and promotional content. Online casinos often have no problem offering their services to people living in an unregulated territory, but directly offering them marketing material can easily catch the attention and displeasure of the sovereign government.

Gambling with US Dollars

For the same reason that English is prevalent across almost all online casinos, so to are US dollars. Often used as a substitute for currencies that the operation is not equipped or incentivized to support, the US dollar sits side by side with the euro as being the standard default option offered by casinos for players to deposit and play with. Finding an online casino supporting US dollars is therefore incredibly easy, but making a successful payment may be less so. US banks tend to block transactions that are suspected as being made for gambling-related activities. That is why many players instead use e-wallets or cryptocurrencies, as these offer quick and easy alternatives to making payments online. These payment methods are very popular with players and casinos alike with e-wallets being especially common.

Casinos in Puerto Rico

As most forms of terrestrial gambling are permitted and regulated within the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, you can expect to find plenty of locally operated establishments when visiting. Legally organized cockfighting also used to be a popular gambling event throughout the island until its recent ban. The around 20 casinos, as well as the horse track and various betting shops available regularly take in visitors from around the world looking to play with the pristine backdrop offered by the Caribbean. The gambling industry has provided the region with a valuable source of income that can only be improved upon with the implementation of regulated online gambling. While we may not see this happening in the near future, it is expected that the gambling industry will continue to flourish in Puerto Rico and people already playing online will essentially be able to keep doing so under the same conditions.

  • A gambling license is intended to protect players, and one of its main functions is to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes when they come up. If you have a dispute with a casino, and the casino is being unreasonable, the gambling authority will help you. For many licenses, this means you can contact the gambling authority to get help processing your withdrawals, claiming money the casino has debited from your account, or resolving other disputes that might arise. The likelihood that the gambling authority will help you in ways that are effective, however, depends on the procedures they have in place for this. This is yet another reason why choosing to play at a casino that has a safe license is important.

    Getting help directly from the gambling authority is not always necessary, or even an option. A lot of regulators have now enforced third-party dispute resolution. This means casinos must have an agreement with an arbitrator who will look into disputes on the behalf of players from a particular casino. This ensures your dispute will be reviewed by an objective third party. All trusted online casinos have information about arbitration on their websites if they use this option, or they’ll have the contact information for the gambling authority you should consult. However, you should always try to resolve your issues with the casino first, and a lot of casinos have separate email addresses specifically for handling complaints.

  • If you’re worried about the security of the transactions you’re making at a casino, you should look for a logo with the acronym PCI DSS. This stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and this is something the payment industry has created. If you see this logo, it means the casino can be trusted for safe money transactions since they follow all of the rules set by the payment industry. Information about this can also be found in an FAQ section on the casino’s website.

    Another thing to look out for in terms of payments is where your money is kept while you play. Some gambling authorities, all of the best ones actually, regulate what the casino can do with your money while they are holding it. Your money shouldn’t go into a general bank account held by the casino; it should go into an account that is strictly for holding player funds. This means that as long as you have the money in your player account, it can’t be spent by the casino. Your deposit will be kept separate from the operating funds of the casino until your player account is empty, which will happen if you make a funds withdrawal or if you lose the money while playing.

  • The best known system tool for ensuring that a casino offers fair games is eCogra; however, there are other providers that also offer these kinds of systems. You want to make sure that the casino is using a certified third-party control system to ensure that the games of chance you’re playing are actually based on chance and not on other types of metrics. Rigged games are ones that have been set up to pay out less than they claim to or ones that give some players a greater chance of winning than others.

    The eCogra logo can often be found in the footer of the casino’s website, but not all casinos choose to display it. If you can’t see this logo, go to the FAQs and see if you can find information about random number generators. If there are no FAQs on the site, check out their terms and conditions or contact the casino’s support and ask how they ensure their games are safe.

  • An SSL-encrypted website should be mandatory for any casino, and very few casinos operate without this or similar safe encryption features. Always keep in mind that you are giving the casino quite a bit of sensitive information, including your payment details. When you’re uploading and sending documents to verify your identity, you want to make sure that no unauthorized third-party has access to them. Site security, therefore, doesn’t only include the website itself but also what the casino does on the backend. You should always look into a casino’s data security. You’ll normally find information about this in their terms and conditions and their privacy policy. If in doubt, contact their support and ask for more detailed information.

    Most trustworthy casinos have information about site security in the website footer, so simply scroll down and look for the logo of a well-known security system.

  • The gambling license a casino operates under will have a big impact on your security. Not all licenses are equally safe for players for the simple reason that they are issued by different gambling authorities that work in different ways and have different rules. The rules and regulations may be quite similar, but the way they are enforced is a different story entirely. For example, if a casino doesn’t comply with the regulations, some gambling authorities may just issue a fine while others may revoke the casino’s license outright. How often gambling authorities show up for an unscheduled inspection or control will also vary.

    The biggest differences between a safe, high quality gambling license and one that isn’t as good will usually show up in the areas of fair gaming, dispute resolution and the rules and systems for identifying and handling problem gamblers (responsible gambling). If your country of residence has its own gambling authority, playing at casinos that are licensed by them will be the safest option for you. Other international licenses that can be trusted are issued by the Malta Gambling Authority and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. Curacao eGaming is getting better at protecting players whereas licenses from Panama and Costa Rica, for instance, are considered less safe. The worst option is obviously a casino with no license whatsoever.