The Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (AAFAF) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking a consultancy firm to provide advisory services to the new Puerto Rico Gaming Commission.
The winning party will work with the Commission to draft regulations governing gambling in the US territory, as well as support the regulatory body with respect to activities under its jurisdiction such as sports betting, fantasy sports contests and esports.
The consultancy will also be responsible for developing ways for the Commission to carry out its key duties, modelled on the processes employed by regulators in other US jurisdictions. In addition, the successful bidder will deliver interim progress reports.
“This process will serve to identify qualified firms that meet the essential requirements to develop such regulations, thereby reinforcing the current public policy of Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced, which authorizes sports betting, fantasy contests and electronic games,” AAFAF executive director and chief financial officer of the government, Omar Marrero, said.
“These activities are new legal forms of betting and represent a new source of revenue and economic activity for the government.”
Department of Economic Development and Commerce Secretary, Manuel Laboy Rivera, added: “There is great interest among local and foreign entrepreneurs to penetrate this market in Puerto Rico. Therefore, it is important to select a firm with the expertise required to guide us in the process of drafting the regulations of the Gaming Commission in order to develop, as soon as possible, a solid and comprehensive document.
“This economic sector represents a great opportunity for Puerto Rico. Projections indicate that the government of Puerto Rico could collect approximately $87m from this activity within a five-year term.”
Interested parties have until March 13, 2020, to submit their proposals to the AAFAF.
The RFP comes after the Puerto Rico government last July came close to formally legalizing sports betting. Former Governor Ricardo Rosselló signed the Betting Committee Act on July 29, which would legalize sports wagering in Puerto Rico, but resigned from his position days later.
However, Rosselló stepped down as Governor following leaked text messages that included jokes about the victims of Hurricane Maria. This meant the legislation was halted and the future of sports betting has been in limbo ever since. Wanda Vázquez Garced took over as Governor shortly after the departure of Rosselló.
The Betting Committee Act set out a series of measures, including that sports betting, horse race betting, fantasy contests and betting on esports would be allowed at casinos, at the island’s one racecourse, as well as at off-track betting parlors and online.
The tax rate was set at 7% on gross gaming revenue for retail sportsbooks and 12% for online.