On August 11, The Colombian Ministry of Health issued a resolution outlining health and safety policies that casinos and bingo halls must include in the adoption of their COVID-19 prevention plans, clearing the way for the launch of the first reopening “pilot programs”. In Bogotá, these programs will launch in September, with the reopening of 40 of the total 532 casinos and bingo halls in the capital city.
Evert Montero said many meetings have been held between local trade association Fecoljuegos and the Economic Development Secretary’s office and it has been decided that as from September casinos and bingo halls in Bogota will begin reopening under the pilot plans approved by the Colombian government, and the progress of these programs will depend on the evolution of the ongoing pandemic.
Montero added: "We have engaged in talks with local authorities. We have already held four meetings, in which we discussed the implementation of the pilot program. We proposed that the plan firstly launches in four venues and we have already visited them to check that the mandatory biosecurity guidelines are being complied with."
The head of Fecoljuegos pointed out that the Municipality of Cartago, Valle, is the only district that has been authorized to launch the first pilot program under which seven casinos and bingo halls have already reopened their doors to the public. The health and safety guidelines established by the Health Ministry include the use of physical barriers in-between machines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, enhanced cleaning of game elements after each use, and throughout the establishment every three hours and the ban of food and alcohol beverages within the premises.
In accordance with data released by Fecoljuegos, there is a total of 2,765 gaming venues in Colombia, located in 417 of the total 1,122 municipalities in the national territory.
Fecoljuegos unveiled that during the mandatory lockdown and consequent shutdown of casino and bingo halls, the country has lost COP 225,000 M in tax revenue, which in turn meant COP 150,000 M less in proceeds for the national healthcare system, the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.