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Puerto Rico Begins 2021 With New Relaxed Online Wagering Bill for Bettors

Written by: Larry Gibbs
Updated October 14, 2022
8 min read
Puerto Rico 2021 Relaxed Wagering Bill
  • Senate Bill 1534 better defines sports wagering rules for future Puerto Rico bettors
  • The goal of the new legislation is to create new jobs and generate tax revenue
  • Government officials feel new laws & regulations are in harmony with Puerto Rico’s culture

The new rules for Puerto Rican sports bettors make the countries existing sports wagering laws much easier and convenient, and were passed into law thanks to the signature on Senate Bill 1534 by outgoing Gov. Wanda Vaquez Garced.

The main purpose of the law frees up online gambling registrants, amending the onsite, in-person registration mandate to “only if the individual does not have the option to register online.

New legislation was accomplished with the purpose of providing new jobs for the gaming sector and to create new sources of revenue.

In commenting on her approval and signing of the bill, Vaquez 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.

Implementing the New Gaming Laws

While the bill has been signed and passed, it still must go through further congressional betting before becoming official, according to Pedro Pierluisi, the new Governor of Puerto Rico. Pierluisi will oversee 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 ways 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 complicated process, full of obstacles. But some regulations are ready to be presented, they will define the sports betting and fantasy sports activities.

The Puerto Rico Gaming Commission selected Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) to be a consultant and to advise on sports wagering regulation in May. Taxation will include a 7% gross gaming revenue tax on land-based betting, a 12% tax for online wagering and a tax equal to 12% of entry fees for fantasy sports wagering. For onsite wagering opportunities all casinos, hotels without casinos, horse wagering agencies, and potentially shops are all expected to offer sports betting.

As per government estimates, Puerto Rico could bring an estimated $87 million in tax revenue in the first five years from sports betting and eGaming.  Although they would like to mirror the success many US states are currently enjoying from new sports wagering legislation, officials say they prefer Puerto Rico regulations to be more harmonious to reflect the island’s culture.

New Laws in Line With Old Culture

Department of Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Manuel A. Laboy Rivera said:

We must ensure the regulations product of this process are in harmony with the public policy of promoting innovation, as well as the economic development of Puerto Rico, by responsibly adopting sports betting, electronic games, and fantasy contests.

Signing the bill was among the final moves of Vasquez Garced before stepping down from office after almost a year and a half of leading the government after replacing Ricardo Rosello, who resigned in 2019 amid scandal. Sports wagering was initially legalized in 2019, however, no official laws were passed.

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Larry Gibbs

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Larry Gibbs is both a seasoned journalist and a respected online gaming industry consultant. His wry commentary & sharp analysis have appeared in numerous top gaming and sports wagering publications. He has also served as Vice President of US Gaming Services, a marketing research organization with 15 years of experience in US online wagering. He has spoken at noted gaming industry conferences including G2E, GiGSE, and NCLGS.

Email: [email protected]

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