Thursday, December 2, 2021

Sports Betting Agreement Announced

By on November 17, 2021

IGT PlaySports to Power WinIn Sportsbooks

Editor’s note: This report was first published in the Nov. 18, 2021, print issue of Caribbean Business.

As the Puerto Rico government gets ready to kick off the island’s sports betting industry before the year ends, The Stadium LLC, which owns and operates WinIn—a Puerto-Rico based company that has partnerships with leading eSports companies and the Roberto Clemente Baseball League and plans to expand into the nascent market—signed an agreement with International Game Technology (IGT) Play Sports so bets can be placed in such places as casinos and sports bars and through different platforms online. 

Under the terms of the agreement, IGT PlaySports technology and trading advisory services will power all of WinIn’s future online and retail sportsbooks in Puerto Rico.

IGT PlaySports is considered one of the biggest betting companies in the world, WinIn Chief Operations Officer Grace Santana told Caribbean Business. The company is in more than 100 countries and has about 11,000 employees. 

“This agreement will allow for all types of bets to be placed outside of casinos, which is allowed in the Sports Betting Law regulations,” Santana explained. “The goal is that we can open different facilities where people can entertain themselves and bet on their favorite sports or activities.” 

Santana said the fact that Puerto Rico can count on IGT’s platform represents the vast potential of the sports betting industry on the island and the capacity that this market has in providing players with a diversity of options to place bets reliably. 

“As the sports betting market in Puerto Rico takes shape, WinIn is well-positioned to deliver world-class online and retail sports betting thanks to our technology and services partnership with IGT. IGT’s PlaySports platform continues to prove its capacity to scale with new market opportunities and give players a seamless omnichannel experience that they can trust,”  Santana assured. 

“IGT PlaySports is highly experienced at helping operators such as WinIn successfully establish competitive sportsbooks in newly regulated jurisdictions,” IGT Sport Betting President Joe Asher said in a press release. “The prospect of adding Puerto Rico as a territory with PlaySports-powered sportsbooks is another exciting step in our effort to further expand our footprint across North America.” 

Santana also said that under the purview of the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission, which was established by Act 81 of 2019, WinIn will provide the platforms to place bets, not only in mobile apps, but “we will also provide the service so individuals can place bets from their computer or in person at an establishment.” 

The commission finished drafting sports betting regulations, which it recently submitted to the State Department, and betting houses may soon be able to apply for a license to take wagers placed on sports events, esports or fantasy sports, Santana said.

“The Gaming Commission will publish the request for licenses so that we can make the request to be able to receive the bets,” she said. “The process is similar to when a casino requests a license to be able to operate.” 

Betting on Jobs

“We have been working on this since the beginning, when the bill was being evaluated by the Legislative Assembly,” Santana said. “Our goal is to create local jobs and to create an experience for the person placing the bet, for an entire family to sit down and enjoy watching a boxing match.” 

She said the company is already in talks with casinos to open the WinIn sportsbooks at these establishments. 

“At the WinIn sportsbooks, you will see TV screens showing the different sports events, and people can also place a bet on esports,” she said. “The demographic we will be taking to the casino is people who don’t normally go to a casino. So, we will attract a new audience that today does not go to the casino. And then, during the Super Bowl halftime, for example, that person can go and bet at a casino table or hit the slot machines because it has been proven that the person watching a game stays until it is over.” 

Furthermore, Santana said, WinIn plans on opening high-end sports bars and different kinds of establishments across the island to make the experience even more attractive. 

In essence, the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission authorizes sports events betting, online video games betting, fantasy sports or esports betting, while creating rigorous standards, including strict regulations, protection of the “player” and the consumer and a tax structure that is expected to reap significant revenue.  

Former Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock said in a radio interview that he expects the sports betting industry to go into effect shortly. 

“Some 15 percent of monies generated from the gaming industry are destined for the Police Department’s pension system,” McClintock said. “If in the first year, only $200 million is generated, you have $30 million, which is equivalent to [an additional] $100 a month that will go to the police officer who is already retired.”