Puerto Rico Gaming Revenue on Solid Ground and Expected To Grow

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Puerto Rico's fans celebrate their team's victory after the FIFA 2026 World Cup CONCACAF, Group F qualifying match between Anguilla and Puerto Rico at Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, on June 11, 2024. Miguel J. Rodriguez Carrillo / AFP

2023 turned out to be a very good year for Puerto Rico’s gaming and betting industry. It generated $186 million in revenue, according to Juan Santaella, Interim Director of the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission. That’s a 15% increase in casino revenue compared to the previous year.

The casino sector on the island accounted for the majority of this amount, specifically $177.3 million. Notably, Puerto Ricans predominantly place their bets online, similar to the trend on the U.S. mainland. Santaella mentioned that at Casino Metro and Casino del Mar, the split between online wagering and in-person betting is approximately 80-20.

Tourism Helping Generate Big Casino Numbers

Puerto Rico’s casino industry has a rich history, having been the second U.S. jurisdiction to legalize casinos back in 1948. It has seen significant growth and is now contributing to the island’s economy.   

Factors driving this growth include rising tourism, innovative gaming options, and effective marketing campaigns. New casinos have also played a key role in attracting diverse customers, from high-rollers to casual gamers.

The success of the casino sector has had a ripple effect on the wider economy, creating job opportunities, boosting local businesses, and generating tax revenue for the government.

Gaming Revenue Invested in Tourism

During the Ibero-American Gaming Summit in San Juan last month, Santaella emphasized the importance of investing in Puerto Rico’s booming casino industry. Not only do these casinos offer gaming experiences, but they have also transformed into entertainment centers, hosting artistic events and other attractions. 

The industry benefits from tourists who visit Puerto Rico, spending money and enjoying the local offerings. As part of this, a portion of Puerto Rico’s gaming proceeds contribute to the government’s efforts in developing and promoting the island as a tourism destination.

Horse Racing Also Big on the Island of Puerto Rico

Not to be outdone is sports betting and horse racing on the island. 

Although sports betting in Puerto Rico generated a modest $500,000, horse racing had a big year, bringing in nearly $9 million

Even though sports betting was approved by the legislature in 2019, the sports betting market only opened in early 2022, with online sports betting becoming available last year.  

There are six licensed online sports betting operators in Puerto Rico, but only two are active: BetMGM in partnership with Casino del Mar and Caesars in partnership with Casino Metro.

Puerto Rico’s only horse racing track is located in Canóvanas, only 30 minutes away from San Juan. Races are run every afternoon from Thursday to Sunday.

Growth Expected To Continue in 2024

The gaming business is only expected to get better on many different levels. 

Latin American gaming companies aiming to enter the U.S. market benefit from Puerto Rico’s strategic position and bilingual population. Similarly, U.S. companies can use Puerto Rico to test their products in a largely Hispanic market, leveraging a familiar regulatory and legal framework.

Industry experts are optimistic about Puerto Rico’s gaming industry, foreseeing continued revenue growth and sector expansion. With its diverse gaming options, world-class resorts, and breathtaking natural beauty, Puerto Rico is poised to become a premier gaming destination in the Caribbean and beyond.