The sports betting market in Puerto Rico is experiencing significant growth, but with expansion comes controversy. A recent lawsuit against the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission (PRGC) challenged the registration policies for sports betting operators, but the outcome was not as the plaintiff, The Stadium LLC, had hoped.
The lawsuit alleged that there was unequal and unfair treatment among sports betting operators. However, a judge dismissed the lawsuit last week, stating that The Stadium had not been able to establish the damages it had suffered from the PRGC’s policies. The judge emphasized that showing harm, whether financial or otherwise, is a requirement for injunction requests, and The Stadium had not met this requirement.
The controversy stems from the requirement for in-person registration for sports betting, even though both land-based and online sports betting are legal in Puerto Rico. The lawsuit claimed that the PRGC had overstepped its bounds by granting itself the power to determine player registration qualifications and authorize temporary registration points, which the lawsuit argued did not exist in the legislation.
The Stadium, which owns the WinIn brand and operates two sportsbooks in Puerto Rico, alleged that licensed operators like them never received a copy of the PRGC’s order, which ultimately gave an unfair advantage to Casino Metro. The lawsuit claimed that Casino Metro set up temporary player registration kiosks at its property during an exhibition game and operated them at other events, which The Stadium views as illegal action.
The judge’s ruling stated that the operation of satellite locations for player registration was detailed in the law, and that any operator with a betting license can take advantage of the PRGC’s policies. As a result, the judge concluded that Casino Metro did not gain an unfair advantage.
Ultimately, the judge sided with the PRGC and the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association, who had intervened in the lawsuit. The Stadium had expected to receive compensation for economic losses through the lawsuit, but the judge ruled that the company had provided “speculative” gains.
Despite the lawsuit’s dismissal, the debate over sports betting regulations in Puerto Rico continues, as the market faces the complexities of its growing industry.