The director of the Puerto Rico Gambling Commission, Orlando Rivera, is to head a new advisory group tasked with speeding up the groundwork ahead of a sports betting market launch.
According to local officials, legalised sports betting could bring in up to $87m in tax revenue for the small state, within just the first five years of operation. Puerto Rico’s governor, Pedro Pierlusi, declared that the advisory group would initiate analysis on the impact of sports betting, electronic games, and fantasy sports industries – with a view to securing $40m for local programmes.
The 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,” the order explains. “It is very important that the Treasury have access to these funds as part of our commitment to guaranteeing dignified retirement to our employees,” it continues, stipulating that half of all proceeds would go to such retirement funds.
The process was set in motion by the outgoing former governor Wanda Vazquez Garcez, who on her last day in office signed Senate Bill 1534 to legalise sports and esports gambling.
At the time of his inauguration, Rivera announced he would carry the mantle, with plans to launch betting in Puerto Rico before the beginning of the latest Major League Baseball season next April.
Rivera also said leagues should be given a cut of the sector via private contracts with bookmakers.
Puerto Rico seeks “new industries and businesses to create jobs” and “new sources of income to maintain government programs and essential services,” he said at the time.