International edition
April 17, 2021

During a virtual conference held by SBC Digital Summit Latinoamérica

GLI delves into the business opportunities offered in Latin America

GLI delves into the business opportunities offered in Latin America
"We have Mexico and South America, where many jurisdictions already have legislation in force and regulators who oversee these activities, and where the gambling industry already represents a large part of the countries’ economy," Karen explained.
Brazil | 06/22/2020

Karen Sierra Hughes, Director, Government Relations and Business Development, LatAm and Caribbean, delivered a thorough presentation on the region, in which she reviewed some of the jurisdictions that currently offer business opportunities in the gambling industry.

"On the one hand, we have Central America, a territory where although there are chances for the development of regulations shortly, in most jurisdictions a gambling authority or regulatory framework for the development of an industry has not been established yet. Therefore, investors are not able to fully understand which activities are allowed or not, so their options to establish there are quite limited," Sierra Hughes began explaining.

"On the other hand, we have Mexico and South America, where many jurisdictions already have legislation in force and regulators who oversee these activities, and where the gambling industry already represents a large part of the countries’ economy," she added.

Sierra then went on to analyze the jurisdictions she considered to currently be the most recent and relevant markets.

Buenos Aires City

“Online gambling has been legalized and regulated in Argentina’s capital city, with the final guidelines for the grant of licenses being released in February,” she explained. “It is worth noting that the City of Buenos Aires has a population of three million inhabitants, and a land-based GGR worth USD 400 M.

“The tax rate was set in 10% of the GGR but there is an additional 6% fee charged by the City government. As regards players, as long as their wagers are placed within the territory, they can be Argentine or foreign citizens. The verticals allowed are the ones currently offered by land-based casinos, including, of course, sports betting.”

“There is an operators’ registry and certification requirements regarding both games and data security. Applicants must take into consideration that the licensing process provides for a series of “objectives” that have to be met and the regulator works together with the operator to get to know how the latter plans to comply with these “objectives” in a technical sense and based on this plan, the regulator outlines the project that will eventually be approved. Once the proposal is approved, the operator has three months to submit the final certifications. Responsible gaming is especially important in Buenos Aires City and the technical requirements are innovative and unique in Latin America,” she explained.


“Online gambling exists in Panama since 2003, but its regulatory framework was recently updated in March of this year. The country has a population of 4.1 million inhabitants; an annual GGR amounting to USD 390 million for the retail sector and 70% of Internet penetration in the territory.”

“The tax rate established for online gaming is 10% of the GGR; and both inland and overseas bettors are allowed to play, as long as operators are able to trace the location of those players.”

“Verticals which are not allowed include horse racing, and wagers on national league sports and both national and international elections.”

“The regulators have a series of requirements to issue a license that include the certification of the platform, the content, the games, and safety standards.”

“Once the regulator grants the license, the applicant has three months to begin operations or the permit will be revoked. It is worth noting that complying with all of the certification requirements is of the utmost importance to start operating. The operators are also required to have offices and a call center in Panama.”

Puerto Rico

“As regards land-based and online sports betting, Puerto Rico has a growth potential of USD 30 million in the first year and about 80 million in the following five years, with a population of 3.7 million inhabitants and an industry that already generates USD 305 million a year in GGR.”

Under the business model established in Puerto Rirco, there is an unlimited number of sports betting licenses available, as it occurs in Buenos Aires City and Panama,” she added. “The tax rate for retail wagers is 7% and for online sports betting is 12%.”

It is also worth noting that the regulation in place explicitly allows for betting on esports and Fantasy sports as the government is seeking to boost the creation of esport leagues and championships. Policymakers are even working on specific regulations for this activity.”

“Operators have to undergo a certification process to obtain a sports betting license, and we are currently working with the government of Puerto Rico on all of the requirements that will have to be complied with. Sports betting is expected to launch before 2021.”


“Brazil is set to be Latin America’s largest gambling market and we are all looking forward for it to open up”

“The gambling industry in Brazil is expected to generate USD 2,100 million in GGR. Lottery is the only vertical that has been regulated and sports betting has recently been legalized but the guidelines for its implementation are still pending. The legislation allows for fixed-odds betting on real sporting events. The number of licenses that will be available has not been defined yet but we know that they will be granted under a concession business model”. the BNDES —the Brazilian Development Bank— has been recently included in the regulatory process to help determine the financial, legal, and technical standards that will eventually be required to obtain a sports betting license.

According to Sierra Hughes, in Brazil’s regulations much emphasis is placed on sports integrity and match-fixing preventions, so operators are required to join an association or hire a company that monitors sports integrity.

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