Sports Betting Bill Moves Forward in Puerto Rico

Former Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced signed Senate Bill 1534, allowing sports betting and esports in the state. It was one of the last things Vázquez Garced was going to do as Governor in her 16-month stretch in office after replacing Ricardo Roselló, who resigned last year.

The bill will supersede the previous gambling law in Puerto Rico, “allowing new industries and businesses to create jobs.” The law will take the Law of the Gambling Commission of the Government of Puerto Rico.

Signing the bill will help Puerto Rico’s overall economy by creating jobs thanks to the new industry’s launch. Gambling is big in the country, and sports betting should also see great success from the get-go once the industry officially goes live.

What Happens Now?

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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.

The process is still easier said than done moving forward.

José Maymó Azize, Executive Director of the Gaming Commission, said in an interview, “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.”

Puerto Ricans will have to create sports betting accounts in person instead of online and using mobile betting operators. There are obstacles that the Gaming Commission will have to overcome but should be able to get through in 2021.

According to the government, Puerto Rico could bring an estimated $87 million in taxes in the first five years from sports betting and egaming, which will be a huge boost to the country.

A Long Road Before Going Live

In July 2019, the former Governor Ricardo Roselló signed the Betting Committee Act. This became significant for Puerto Rico in moving forward with legalizing sports betting and go beyond to expand on horse race betting, fantasy sports, egames, off-track betting sites, and more.

However, a few days after the bill was signed into law, Roselló was hit with a scandal forcing him to resign and putting the gaming expansion in the state on hold until further notice. Then, the Director of Gambling for Puerto Rico’s Tourism Board, Jaime Alex Irizarry, resigned in April 2020, pushing everything back further.

Now, it looks like Puerto Rico might have some stability with moving forward with sports betting. Although former Gov. Vázquez Garced passed a sports betting law in one of her last days in office for the proceeding Governor to take care of, it is better than having a Governor resigning just days after passing a bill.

Now, the political office can look over everything and take the best action to expand the countries gaming industry. Sports betting will be huge in Puerto Rico, but it is also important that Gov. Pierluisi to create the best plan so Puerto Rico can finally go live with sports betting and have no major setbacks.

I fell in love with handicapping right away. Sports betting is a lot more enjoyable when going through advanced data to find an edge on a Vegas line. Situational plays is a focus of mine and study stats and data analytics to go along with certain situations to make myself a more well rounded capper. College football and college basketball are my favorite to bet.

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