What are iGaming regulations in Colombia like?
Colombia’s iGaming market has been showing exceptional growth and success ever since its launch in 2016. As of right now, there are many local and offshore operators running businesses in the country, providing multiple types of games and casino offerings. This stability and success has not always been around though when taking a peek at the country’s history with iGaming.
Before the market launch in 2016, Colombia did not have a licence for iGaming, so all operators who were offering iGaming services were operating illegally. In 2015, a successful operator in the country, GTECH, starting planning the launch of a new online service the following year after its app received lots of success. This was a turning point in the local market as the government decided to regulate the country’s iGaming market and provide solutions for operators to operate legally within the borders.
Colombia and its population are both passionate about gambling as the statistics reveal that almost 60% of Colombian adults have taken part in more than one type of gambling. The militias controlled the country’s many industries for a very long time until the government was able to assume control again post-1991.
The country’s main regulation and the law that lead to the opening of the Colombian iGaming scene is Law 643a of 2001. Before this law was imposed, all casinos in the country were owned and run by criminal organizations. This law was set forth in order to regulate the industry and pinpoint all the casinos who were operating independently and unifying them into one solid industry. The Empresa Territorial Para la Salud was the body that was in charge of regulating the land-based casino scene. However, Law 643a did not actually help much with preventing illegal gambling, a still prominent part of the industry even past 2008. Illegal bets made up over 20% of the total wagers in the country with over 20,000 unlicenced slot machines in the country.
The real regulation of the industry came when licences were brought about. The first ever legal iGaming operator was Wplay.co, who acquired an iGaming licence back in 2017. Colijuegos has handed out tons of licences since that day, as it is now trying to get rid of all illegal operators in Colombia and allowing for the entry of licenced and legal ones. Nowadays, all those who are guilty of running illegal gambling businesses online in Colombia are faced with 8 years of prison time. More improvements are on the way for the country’s iGaming sector too in the near future.
Colijuegos, as mentioned above, is the governing body that is assigned with providing gambling licences and regulating the country’s gaming scene. The Colombian gambling licences is valid for five years, and operators who meet all the conditions and requirements mentioned in the Law and eGaming Act of 2016 will be able to receive it. The operators undergo a procedure in which Colijuegos makes sure that it thoroughly reviews the applicant and their files to make sure that they fit all the requirements, then award the operator with a licence. Another review takes place annually to make sure that the operators are still abiding by the rules, and those who are violating them will risk huge fines and even have their licence taken away.
All operators who are eligible to acquire a licence in the country need to pay a fee of $200,000 on a yearly basis, as well as tax revenues. What sets the Colombian licence apart from other countries is that it incorporates all types of gambling, such as casino and sports betting. This means that operators only need one licence, and not a different one for each type of gambling.
Ever since the imposing of Law 643 in 1991, Colombia has been on a nonstop hunt to regulate its iGaming scene and offer new possibilities and opportunities. This ended up in the 2016 eGaming Act, with the country now paving the way for many of its bordering countries to try and do the same in their respective industries as well. It is hoping to do what Europe has done with its different iGaming markets, and really let the local scene flourish.