The topic was debated in the GAT Virtual Expo forum

Esports immersed in LatAm’s sports betting arena

Chile, Peru and Puerto Rico are already analyzing different options for a regulatory framework for esports betting.
Reading time 1:50 min
During the GAT Virtual Expo, many important voices in the industry analyzed the esports segment and its growth. Regulators from Peru, Chile, and Puerto Rico, for example, said they are following esports closely as well as the legislation aimed at regulating this activity.

In a particularly interesting segment of the conference on the future of land-based and online casinos, Rodrigo Ajenjo, on behalf of Chilean gambling regulator Superintendencia de Casinos de Juego, said: "In Chile, we have noticed that online gambling isn’t as popular as retail casinos, but still, there has been considerable growth not only in sports betting but also eSports, iGaming. Odds are offered not only on football leagues but also on Fornite or FIFA Online championships. Those segments are experiencing exponential growth and probably, they will eventually surpass land-based gaming."

Consultant and expert José Miguel Chueca, who served as moderator, added that esports is something quite new for the sector. "Not so long ago —just a few months— the sports betting platforms’ offering was limited to just one or two esports leagues and that has been expanding significantly."

"In Peru, for instance, we can find the Movistar league, the Claro league, and some private events in esports arenas," he explained. "Unfortunately, technologic advances occur at a faster pace than the enactment of legislation does, posing an enormous challenge to regulators."

Ajenjo said: "We are not capable of regulating this. We are experts in land-based casinos, we know a few things about technology and gambling machines, but with esports, we have many doubts as to how results are generated… so we are faced with a huge challenge here, legislation must be clear about this, in terms of which type of games and rules will be open to the market."

According to Manuel San Román, General Manager of Mincetur Casinos, in the case of Peru, "the regulatory process has begun with online gambling and will slowly expand to include esports."

"We are still considering it, we are not closed to any kind of gambling expansion," San Román said. "But we want a law to regulate this vertical, not an executive order."

José Maymo Azize, Head of Puerto Rico’s gambling regulator, explained that "the government has been committed to this sector since way before the law that created the local regulator was enacted and the new structure includes different betting verticals."

"An advisory committee has already been created to deal with online gaming, which shows the government is committed to promoting esports in Puerto Rico," José Maymo Azize said. "In fact, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have doubled our resources to speed up the creation of the necessary regulation aimed not at legalizing esports, which are already allowed in Puerto Rico, but to introduce wagers on that activity, together with traditional and fantasy sports betting."

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