Territories and states located outside the Continental United States are often overlooked when it comes to sports betting, but that doesn’t mean they’re lacking interest. In the past week, both Puerto Rico and Alaska have come up with legislation that would look to open up sports betting opportunities within their regions.
The first few days of April have been quite good for states hoping to expand the presence of sports betting within their borders. They’ve also been great for territories outside the Continental United States, locations that might not first come to mind when you think of the US. Two of these forgotten areas include the snowy state of Alaska and the sunny American territory of Puerto Rico. The bills each location have proposed are quite different, but they both support actions that are beneficial towards and could possibly lead to sports betting legalization.
Quite honestly, at the moment Alaska is as close to sports gambling as they are the rest of the United States. As a matter of fact, Alaska has been so distanced from gambling in general that they don’t even have any casinos. There are a few Indian gambling facilities, but they only offer basic games like pull tabs and bingo.
Having said that, the bill proposed just yesterday would change the gambling landscape in Alaska. The Bill, #103, will be voted on by the House, and stands to make card rooms, like casinos, legalized within the state. To make this possible, the bill also proposes that a gaming commission be created to oversee gambling within the State. These facilities would quite literally look and function like casinos – minus any obnoxious slot machines.
How this bill becomes relevant to sports betting is through the possibility of running sports betting operations in these card room facilities. They’re already designed for overseeing gambling, stretching into sports betting would be a very natural path of growth.
The bill still needs to be approved by vote, but it’s a good sign that there is at least some interest in sports betting within Alaska.
Puerto Rico is certainly interested in gambling of all varieties, but it’s motivated purely by revenue potential. The economy of the territory was ravaged by Hurricane Maria, which caused serious damage to the entire infrastructure of the area. The government didn’t even have enough money to pay for healthcare, and ended up having to shut down.
The hurricane hit in 2017, but Puerto Rico has certainly struggled to regain lost ground. The Governor, Ricardo Rossello, has an idea that he believes will fix the problem. The answer is simple – gambling. Rossello’s bill calls for full legalization of gambling, which also covers betting on any form of sports. The Governor believes that the potential revenue generated from gambling is invaluable, forecasting annual tax revenues in excess of $50 million dollars.
It’s unclear whether gambling can fix Puerto Rico’s economy, but recent action by the Governor makes it clear that sports betting is absolutely on the agenda for the near future.