Puerto Rico Sports Betting Market Could Launch April

The new executive director of the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission, Orlando Rivera Carrión, has expressed his hope that the country’s sports betting market will be opened by April, although he has warned that a few more steps still need to be taken to be completely prepared.

According to the new director, as El Nuevo Día reported, the aim is to open the market before the beginning of the new MLB season. On 17 February, the league is scheduled to begin practices, while the first day of the 2020/21 season will take place on 1 April.

The Senate Bill 1534 was signed into law in one of the last days in charge of the government by former Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced, 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.”

Budget to finalise the legislation

Until the market can make its debut, however, it is important to create a budget to finalise the legislation, which also needs to be included at the moment in the changes made at the end of 2020.

The executive director said: “The Sports Betting Division has no budget. We need to provide one in order to finish the regulation.”

Tournaments for sports betting

In addition, Rivera Carrión assured, amid the opposition from various industries, that each professional sports league will be able to determine if its tournaments can be used for sports betting.

If the leagues decide that they are included in sports betting offers, they will have their own agreements with bookmakers and earn cash from them, but it is still uncertain if a proportion of the bets made would be made.

Additional revenue

In addition, Rivera Carrión spoke about the opposition to sports betting due to reputation threats, and assured that “for the local athlete it’s hard to give in [to those risks],” and emphasised that this sector would represent additional revenue for the industry, much higher than what they earn from video games machines.

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