Exclusive interview with Juan B. Pérez Hidalgo, President, Coljuegos

“We expect four more companies to get Coljuegos licenses in the upcoming weeks”

Mr. Pérez Hidalgo said he felt "optimistic" about the growth potential of the online gaming market in Colombia.

Colombia 
| 21/09/2017

In an interview granted to Yogonet, the Colijuegos official said E Total Gaming, Colbet and Codere have applied for Wplay and Betplay licenses, the two online gaming operators that that have been given regulatory approval to go live in Colombia.

How has the Wplay experience been so far?

No reports have been filed about the site's functioning so far. Online gaming companies are operating completely normal. Operations went live as soon as the license agreements were signed. We hope more operators come join such an innovating industry.

"We have blocked 325 illegal domains and we are keeping a close watch on the market"

Now that companies have been authorized to run in the country, what are Coljuegos' controls?

We carry out full monitoring process in order to oversee online gambling activities. In fact, there is a special office in charge of validating operations and the transparency of platforms. The online market is beneficial because of this: everything can be measured and audited, which makes controls and follow-up easier.

What is Colombia's potential for the online gaming market?

We don´t have an estimated limit of how many companies could go live in the country. The Colombian market offers tremendous potential if we consider that 59 percent of people here gamble and that internet connection is available practically across the whole country. Conditions are set for us to become a first-class market.

“An increasing number of the population, there is no secret in that, is going for games offering the most technological improvements. Is is there that the online gaming opportunity lies”

When should we expect to hear news about new operators in the Colombia?

Besides Wplay.co, Betplay.com.co has also signed a license agreement. We are hoping four more companies to get permits in the upcoming weeks.

What does research say about the amount of potential players in Colombia?

59 percent of Colombia's population gamble, mainly in areas like the Atlantic Coast, Antioquia, in the center of the ountry and a part of the Pacific. Once again, I am optimistic about the market's growth potential.

How would you describe Colombia's gamblers?

There is a traditional segment that prefer land-based gaming: Baloto, Super Astro and lottery. This is basically the adult population. There is an increasing number of the population, there is no secret in that, that is going for games offering the most technological improvements. Is is there that the online gaming opportunity lies”

“59 percent of Colombia's population gamble”

According to information you provided, there are seven operators working with offices that have been certified by Coljuegos while Codere, Luckia and Sportium have made public their interest in Colombia. Any other companies you could mention?

To the date only Aquila Group and Corredor Empresarial have got permits to operate. Colbet, Codere Colombia and E Total Gaming have so far requested to subscribe license agreements. Only the above companies are currently carrying out license procedures to operate online.

How are you fighting illegal gamblin websites?

Positively. We have managed to block 325 illegal websites as part of our strategy to battle illegal activities, keeping also a permanent watch along with the National Police to identifty new websites that might be operating illegally. Legal gambling is to bet on Colombians' health, it's our motto.

“The online market is beneficial because of this: everything can be measured and audited, which makes controls and follow-up easier”

What is the licensing process like? How long does it take?

We are reviewing applications with celerity because we understand how important this market is. There are technical, financial and legal requirements that must be addressed and the application process depends on them.

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