Disclosure: GoodLuckMate is reader-supported. We may earn a commission if you sign up to a casino via links on our site. Find out more.
Puerto Rico – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations
Originally seceding from Spain back in 1899, Peurto Rico was declared an unincorporated U.S. territory at the conclusion of the Spanish–American War. US citizenship was granted to all residents of the Caribbean island, which allowed for free travel between Puerto Rico and the rest of the states. Despite Peurto Ricans having been legally considered US citizens for over 100 years, there remain a lot of discrepancies between their rights and those of the rest of the US. For example, Peurto Ricans are only subject to the fundamental rights laid out in the US constitution and federal income tax is not applied to them. There has also been a lot of contention between the amount of representation that the territory is afforded. That hasn’t stopped the beautiful island from being an excellent location for gambling enthusiasts around the world.
More information about Puerto Rico – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.