Previously known only for its lush beaches and vibrant nightlife, the country of Colombia in South America is quickly becoming one of the biggest economic pillars of the region, especially for the way it has used the gambling industry to generate revenue in uncertain times. Last year, the Colombian Government, in partnership with several licensed casino operators, discussed the huge economic potential of relaxing restrictions in the gaming sector.
Previously to the talks, casinos had already doubled their revenue and brought over €60 million to the economy, so the move didn’t really come as a surprise. Last year in Colombia, the number of people who played games online grew by an incredible 125%, and almost €20 million were generated by sports betting (which is quite the achievement, considering that sporting events were on hold for several months during 2020.
Regulatory changes – one of the primary reasons why online gambling is trending in Colombia
Colombia didn’t always have a good relationship with online gambling or casinos in general. Before 2016, the status of casinos was quite murky, and the legislation rather confusing. But that changed in 2016, when the national gambling authority, called El Consejo Nacional de Juegos de Suerte y Azar, introduced the Colombian eGaming Act. The Act focused mostly on regulating the activity of local casinos, and on offering a safe experience to casino enthusiasts. The fees that casinos had to pay were standardized, and a new set of regulatory measures was introduced to encourage operators to declare gambling as their main activity.
Attention was also paid to responsible gambling measures, and a national database was created so that people could look up casinos and see if they followed the best practices. These regulatory changes helped physical casinos thrive, but the change was also noticed in the online sphere. Today, playing games in Colombian casinos online is a pleasant experience, and users can check various resources to make sure the platform is reliable. As a result, the number of online players reached 1.7 million in 2018 and grew even more in 2020.
Naturally, that also led to more competition, and when more operators are competing for player attention, standards are bound to be lifted. For example, more online activity for casinos meant that players paid more attention to cybersecurity. In order for players to pay online safely, operators need to invest in security measures and offer a wide enough variety of online payment options. People no longer deposit funds via their bank accounts. They also have PayPal, Skrill, or even prefer paying with crypto, and operators need to adapt to that.
Apart from online payment improvements and basic stability improvements, casinos also focused a lot on bonuses and promotions. Colombian casinos have quite a lot of those, and the good news is that they aren’t exclusive to local players. If you want to have fun and also make a profit, Colombian online casinos welcome you with all sorts of offers, such as welcome bonuses, match bonuses, free spins, and more.
What are the most popular games in Colombian online casinos?
Needless to say, card games remain some of the all-time favourites in Colombian online casinos. Poker tables are very easy to find, including live dealer ones. And, of course, we couldn’t talk about card games without mentioning Blackjack, which to this, remains one of the most popular casino games, uniting players from all over the world.
One of the biggest misconceptions about online casino games is that you need a laptop or desktop computer to enjoy them. While that may have been the case a few years ago, when browser-based games were pretty much the only option, now screen size is no longer a problem. Mobile gaming has become a major global phenomenon, so that today, most casino operators have both a website and app where you can play their games. Or, at least, they have a responsive website and you can enjoy online slots, roulette, or poker on the go.
What is the outlook for the Colombian casino industry?
The future of the online Colombian casino industry is mostly positive. One of the most interesting things is that, unlike many other countries, both land-based and casinos seem to thrive. For example, in many cities in the United States, smaller casinos are having a hard time competing with online operators and have had to close down. Meanwhile, in Colombia, many casinos are just opening their doors because the legislation finally favours it and there’s increasing demand for such venues.
At the same time, online casinos are growing in popularity too, as Colombia stands out through one of the highest rates of digital transformation in South America. Experts forecast that, at least for the foreseeable future, online and land-based casinos will happily coexist, which means more fun and more opportunities for players. And Colombia isn’t the only country that has managed to reach this balance.
Similar developments were reported in countries such as Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands, making many experts believe that, in the following five years, the casino hotspots will move to Europe, South America, even some parts of Asia.