Sports betting could generate more than $40m in Puerto Rico

Pedro Pierlusi, Governor of Puerto Rico, has announced the creation of a group to advise on the sports betting, electronic games and fantasy sports industries. According to official estimates, these sectors could contribute more than $40m to local coffers.

This group will “advise the Gambling Commission and the Governor of Puerto Rico on this new industry, and collaborate in the development and implementation of initiatives aimed at fostering and promoting its growth,” according to the executive order shared by local media Metro.

Additionally, it stresses that 50% of the revenue from betting and DFS activities would be used to contribute to the retirement funds of public employees.

“As part of our commitment to guarantee a dignified retirement to our employees, it is extremely important to ensure that the treasury has access to these funds,” the order details.

Orlando Rivera, director of the Gambling Commission of Puerto Rico, will be part of the advisory group along with other five members, who will be in charge of issuing reports every three months and sending them to Pierlusi, to the Secretary of the Department of Economic Development (DDEC) and the Commission.

Rivera, upon taking office, had commented that Puerto Rico hoped to launch its sports betting market before the start of the latest Major League Baseball (MLB) season in April.

The director also said that in case the leagues accept being included in sports betting offerings, they would have their own agreements in place with bookmakers and would receive money from them, although it’s still unclear if it would be a percentage of the bets made.

This is possible thanks to former Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced who signed into law the Senate Bill 1534 in her last day in office, paving the way for the activation of sports betting and esports in the country. Puerto Rico seeks “new industries and businesses to create jobs” and “new sources of revenue to sustain government programs and essential services”.

Furthermore, Rep. José Rivera Madera said: “The fact that our projections indicate that the profits from these activities represent an estimated revenue of $87m over the next five years for the Government, without a doubt is a paradigm for the economic situation that the island is facing.”