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Gambling law: New types of games of chance to be offered to Colombian players

There are only a few Latin American countries that can compete with European regulated markets when it comes to having legislation adapted to the needs of gambling operators and customers. Colombia is one of them. Or, it will soon be thanks to Coljuegos’s latest decision on authorizing the possibility of adding new games of luck and chance.

More precisely, the national Colombian regulator has issued an important agreement that states that article 51-2 of the Online Gambling Law in Colombia is added the possibility for online gambling providers to provide Colombian gamblers with new authorized games of change.

Thanks to this new announcement, the Colombian online gambling market will be able to provide, through Coljuegos, new entertaining games for players. However, the games must be provided by authorized operators in the country and need to be permitted by the regulator and subject to the regulations that exist in the country. The regulator also shared that authorized providers can market their new games of luck and chance using their technological platforms, which, thanks to the new regulations, will be considered a sales channel.

When it comes to the requirements related to promoting other games on the platform, they are similar to those that are already established for marketing regulated games like poker, sports betting, or slot machines (so called “maquinas tragamonedsa divertidas” in Spanish).

Who exactly is Coljuegos?

Coljuegos is the national gaming authority in Colombia. The regulator has a very effective autonomy allowing it to develop the industry by issuing new rules, decrees, agreements, or resolutions to allow new games to be regulated and offered in the online gambling operators’ portfolios. So far, Colijuegos has awarded 18 concession contracts and has authorized new forms of gaming in the country.

Thanks to the national gaming authority’s autonomy to issue such supportive solutions for the operators in the industry, Colombia has become a regional reference on how to regulate online gaming throughout entire Latin America.

The national regulator successfully created a market with legal stability for investors and an environment where their investments are protected by a regulator with a pro-operator attitude.

Colombia’s gaming market: an overview

In September 2016, Colombia was the first country in South America to regulate online gaming. The country did so by adopting a resolution that established the formal application process for operators to apply for licenses.

In 2017, the country already began its activity in the world of online gambling, closing the year with a turnover of $60 million. The online gambling market grew extremely quickly in the years to follow, closing 2018 with a $555 million turnover and 2019 with a $1.4 billion. What’s more, experts believe that in the next 4 years, Colombia’s online gambling market will see an about $6 billion turnover.

This is a massive increase in just a few years! It can be a sign that the national regulator has done a great job creating an industry that favors operators, such as Colbet, while also providing an enjoyable and safe gambling experience to Colombian players.

When it comes to how many Colombian players are in the country, find that over 55% of the country’s population bets both in online and land-based casinos.

One essential thing to know about the online gaming industry in Colombia is that it is a direct contributor to the well-functioning of the public health system in the country. More precisely, Coljuegos uses the resources obtained from exploitation rights to fund public health services in the country. Thus, the gambling industry is a key strategic sector for the Colombian government precisely because the revenue streams obtained from the market are used for the health sector, improving healthcare services for all Colombian citizens.

National vs. regional level offered games

In Colombia, so far, the online casino providers in the country can offer a pretty complex list of entertaining games. More precisely, Coljuegos, the national gaming authority, permits games like poker, blackjack, bingo, roulette, baccarat, slot machines, virtual games, sports betting and e-sports, non-sports-related real events, and live casino games.

However, in the country, the games of luck and chance regulated and authorized by Coljuegos are offered at national and regional levels.

More precisely, Colombian players can play games like regional lotteries, permanent betting, instant lotto, and horse betting at a regional level. On the flip side, the games offered at a national level include land-based casinos (where players can enjoy casino and bingo games), novelty games (includes online gaming, online lotto, baloto, and sports betting), and promotional games and national raffles.

Yet, since 2020, due to the pandemic, which increased the number of Colombian players engaging in online gambling activities, the national regulator decided that it is time to encourage new developments in the country’s industry. As one of the strategies to encourage developments in the industry, Coljuegos aims to allow online casino providers to develop and include new products in their portfolios.

However, the new games that operators in the country will offer need to be authorized by the regulator so that they don’t affect the revenue of verticals that are already regulated in Colombia.

In 2020, the Coljuegos made another extremely supportive and effective decision: it allowed online operators to use their platforms as a channel to sell these new games that they are allowed to develop and offer to the Colombian players. This move was extremely beneficial for those operators who were affected by the pandemic.

The regulator also revised the technical requirements and homologation for slot machines (so called “máquinas tragamonedas para jugar” in Spanish). Yet, no decision has been made as operators claimed that some of the requirements imposed by the regulator neglect their financial and technical capacity to comply. So far, the only move that has been made regarding METs is for the Colombian Ministry of Finance to propose for the granting of operation permits to be offered by local authorities.