Outgoing Governor of Puerto Rico Wanda Vázquez Garced has signed Senate Bill 1534 into law, which will allow the launch of sports betting, remote betting and eSports in the country.
Project 1534 would allow for local retail betting with remote sign up for online sports betting approved in the 2019 bill. Anyone looking to place a bet for the first time would have to visit in person a land-based retail betting facility to register and then be able to partake in mobile and online sports betting.
The bill effectively amends the previous Gambling Law with the aim of "allowing new industries and businesses to create jobs" whilst "creating new sources of revenue to sustain government programs and essential services," G3 Newswire reports.
Vázquez Garced said: “It is with great satisfaction that I sign the PS 1534, as it leads the esports and sports betting industry in encouraging businesses and jobs in this sector. This amendment will complete and launch a new industry with the potential to create thousands of jobs.”
Although the bill has been signed and passed, it still needs to go through more congressional vetting before it becomes official. Pedro Pierluisi, the new Governor of Puerto Rico, will be in charge of implementing the new gaming laws for sports betting and egames.
Speaking to local media Primera Hora, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Gaming Commission, José Maymó Azize, said: “Project 1534 amends the law in some aspects that needed to be changed. The most significant change is the fact that under the original law, players could register online and in person. Now, with this amendment, the first registration is required to be in person. It has been a very complicated process, full of obstacles. But some regulations are ready to be presented, they will define the sports betting and fantasy sports activities.”
The Gaming Commission selected Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) as a consultant to advise on sports betting regulations in May. Expected taxation includes a 7% gross gaming revenue tax on land-based betting, a 12% tax on online betting and a tax equal to 12% of entry fees for fantasy sports. Casinos, hotels without casinos, racetracks, horse betting agencies, and even shops are all expected to be able to offer betting.
According to the government, Puerto Rico could bring an estimated $87 million in taxes in the first five years from sports betting and egaming.
The signature was one of the final moves of Vázquez Garced before stepping down after almost a year and a half of leading the government after replacing Ricardo Roselló, who resigned in 2019. Sports betting was legalized in Puerto Rico in 2019 but no official laws were passed.