hile Karen Sierra Hughes provided insights into jurisdictions such as Buenos Aires, Puerto Rico, Panama, and Brazil, Georges Didier dealt with three key markets in the region: Colombia, Peru, and Paraguay.
“The gambling market in Colombia represented a watershed for the industry in the region, thanks to Coljuegos, the country’s gaming authority, the regulatory process’ evolution, which began with an interconnection system for slot machines and peaked with the country’s big break in 2016, the implementation of Agreement 4, which regulates online gambling,” Didier explained.
“Agreement 4 details the requirements that operations must comply with, which include a series of technical, legal, and financial conditions. Since 2016, gambling has been constantly adapting to the new circumstances and the gaming offering has expanded, as Coljuegos is always seeking to stay at the forefront of the industry. Its latest innovation is the addition of live casinos.”
“This modality has new specific requirements, such as the certification of the technical conditions set under the new regulations, a minimum return of 83% of the bets and a live broadcast streamed from a studio or land-based casino within or outside the Colombian territory.”
“We see plenty of growth opportunities for content providers. The gambling authority, through the regulations' updates and enhancements, is increasingly including new games. Content suppliers must undergo certification processes concerning their products and their potential integrations with licensed operators.” “There are currently 16 licensed operators in Colombia. The government has recently issued Decree 808, which regulates temporary games and is effective from 2020 to 2021. This piece of legislation essentially provides for two opportunities: electronic scratches which can be offered online and retail scratches offered by lotteries and betting shops. The guidelines for the implementation of this activity are still pending, but given the health crisis we are currently experiencing, these modalities provide for a great alternative.
“Additionally, the Colombian government has included within the scope of Decree 808, the bingo vertical for operators of this type of betting. Odds will be offered through delivery, retail shops and weekly or monthly draws which cannot be operated or sold online.”
“Peru is a key market in the region as well and its slot machine regulations have also represented a milestone in Latin America. Sadly, online gambling has not been regulated yet.”
“However, in Peru, whatever the law does not explicitly forbid is considered to be allowed, so this activity is not illegal but the operation of igaming falls under a “grey” area,” Didier said.
“Several bills have been submitted in Congress but none of them have moved forward. The regulator is currently working on a proposal to regulate this vertical.”
“The gambling authority in Peru has always been very open to dialog and willing to share their regulatory plans. The tax rate is expected to be 12% of the GGR; both online and land-based operators will likely be required to pay a deposit to cover the eventual non-payment of prizes and fines. The authorities are also evaluating the certification of kiosks’ components, and some restrictions related to the offering of slot games in retail shops”
“The regulators are also looking to create a registry of suppliers and operators, as they intend not only to oversee the operators’ actions but also the suppliers.”
“Although Peru has no official gambling numbers, it is estimated that GGR amounts to USD 70 million. As regards the online sector, 80% of players prefer sports betting while 20% choose slot games. However, in the retail sector, sports betting represents 70% of the market share.
“For now, operators are not required to pay license fees or taxes but if they do want to operate a retail shop, they must comply with certain municipality requirements. Currently, there are around 1,000 betting shops in the territory, without taking into account points of sales located, for instance, inside supermarkets”.
“We hope Peru regulates online gambling soon so this sector becomes as appealing as the country’s land-based market.”
“Paraguay is an interesting market despite its size (it has a population of 7 million inhabitants). There is currently only one sports betting operator and five casino operators, of which three are already live online, paying 7% of their GGR. An amendment to the law is currently being promoted to expand gaming offering,” he concluded.
Towards the end of the presentation, Sierra Hughes added about Paraguay: "the opportunities there are related to expansion, favored by recent lockdown measures, and operators looking for new lines of business and expanding their offerings."