The gambling industry in Colombia has seen substantial changes recently as the government attempts to modernize and regulate it. As a result, online gambling in Colombia is a massive development, with more rivalry among operators, new technologies being adopted, and cutting-edge goods and services starting to appear.
For a very long time, Colombia had a bad reputation. It was referred to be the "drug capital" or "the nation with the deadliest drug dealers and corruption." Fortunately, now Colombians are working to overcome its negative associations, concentrating on online gaming and tightening regulations on the gambling sector.
This article will examine the current situation of Colombia's gambling market while also looking at its past, present laws, players' preferences, and the future of this industry. We will also talk about how COVID-19 has affected the sector and give you valuable insights into one of the Colombian economy's most fascinating and dynamic industries.
Gambling History in Colombia
Gambling in Colombia has a long and complex history, dating back to the early 20th century when the government first authorized the operation of lotteries. However, it was in the 1970s that the industry began to take off, with the opening of the first casinos and bingo halls. Over the years, the industry has continued to evolve.
One of the key milestones in the history of Colombian gambling was the creation of Coljuegos, the country's national gambling regulator, in 2011. This was a dramatic change in how the government saw the sector as it tried to modernize and regulate it to raise tax revenues and safeguard consumers.
The market has grown and developed over time and now covers a variety of goods, including casinos, bingo halls, sportsbooks, and online gambling.
Coljuegos has shared the financial gaming statistics for the nation in 2022, a year in which the government gathered $175m from the industry, an 18% rise in comparison to 2021. Despite this expansion, the industry has experienced numerous obstacles, such as legal restrictions, tax rises, and the COVID-19 pandemic's effects.
According to the regulator's data, for obvious reasons, online gambling should have accounted for 85% of the entire turnover in 2020.
Casinos and bingo halls came in #1 on the list of verticals with the largest revenues in 2022, with $70.3M, despite the Colombian business being years ahead of other Latin American nations in its online market. This figure is up 33% from 2021, primarily as a result of computerized slot machines.
$56.1 million was wagered online, with Super Astro bringing in $26.4 million, Baloto $11.7 million, and promotional games $1 million.
Moreover, localized games brought in $8.8M, up 11% from the previous year.
Structure of Gambling in Colombia
The gambling industry in Colombia is divided into several structures and types depending on the type of games and operators providing services.
- Online gambling. It includes online casinos, online sports betting, and online lotteries. In Colombia, operators of online casinos must obtain a license from Coljuegos;
- Retail gambling. It includes physical casinos, betting shops, and lottery points of sale. Retail gambling operators also must obtain a license from Coljuegos;
- National lottery. It is a government monopoly and is controlled by the Ministry of Finance. The lottery includes regular and unique draws, such as the Christmas lottery.
In general, the gambling industry in Colombia is quite diverse and provides many different opportunities for players and operators.
Gambling Laws and Regulations in Colombia
It's not even a question is gambling legal in Colombia. Gambling is legal and regulated in Colombia. As we said earlier, gambling laws in Colombia are regulated by Coljuegos, who is in charge of granting gambling operators licenses, monitoring compliance with regulations, and ensuring the protection of players. In 2008, Colombia introduced several laws outlining the guidelines for running casinos and slot machines.
Due to law, operators must obtain a license from Coljuegos to offer their services. The licensing process is rigorous, and operators must meet strict financial stability, security, and fairness requirements.
Coljuegos regulates several gambling activities, including online gambling, land-based casinos, lotteries and sports betting. The commission also imposes strict regulations on advertising, responsible gambling, and anti-money laundering practices.
Colombia's legal gambling age is 18, and all licensed operators must verify the age of their customers and take steps to prevent minors from accessing gambling services.
Violations of gambling regulations in Colombia can result in fines, license revocation, and criminal charges. Coljuegos works closely with law enforcement agencies to combat illegal gambling and protect players.
Regarding Colombia's online gambling laws, we should mention the iGaming Act, which was approved in 2016. Since that time, Colombia's gambling sector has been very receptive to authorized procedures.
The Colombian iGaming Act established regulations to outlaw gaming websites violating necessary licensing requirements. A wide variety of regulations control the functioning of online gambling in the Colombian iGaming business, including those for Tragamonedas, sports betting and poker. Still, it also highlights ruleta by outlining all of this game's characteristics in all its variants. Therefore, operators won't need to obtain a different license for every form of gambling. To cover all gambling-related operations, they can select a single license. The majority of operators may also be required to pay a permit cost of up to $200,000 per year in order to conduct business legally in Colombia. Gross gambling revenue is subject to a 15% tax.
Gambling Regions in Colombia
The gaming sector is well-established in a number of Colombian regions, each with its distinctive features and offerings. Here are a few of Colombia's most popular gambling areas:
- Bogotá – The capital city of Colombia is a harbor for land-based casinos, shops, sports betting and lottery retailers. Bogotá is also the hub of the nation's online gambling market, where several authorized operators provide a selection of online games and sports betting alternatives;
- Medellín – One of Colombia's gambling hotspots, Medellín has some casinos and betting shops that welcome locals and visitors. Additionally, the city hosts many significant poker tournaments all year long that draw competitors from all over the world;
- Cartagena – Cartagena is a popular tourist destination and is home to several casinos, including the largest casino in the country, the Rio Casino. The city also hosts several annual gambling events, including the Cartagena Poker Open and the International Gaming and Betting Expo;
- Cali – Cali is known for its vibrant nightlife and entertainment industry. That's why there are a lot of casinos and sports betting shops. Cartagena Cali also hosts annual gambling events like the Colombian Poker Tour and the Cali Poker Championship.
Preferences of Colombia Gamblers
Colombian gamblers have diverse preferences, with many games and events available to them. Nearly 70% of Colombians enjoy gambling frequently. Nowadays, gamblers combine common offline and online games.
Here are some of the most popular gambling preferences in Colombia:
- Sports Betting – One of Colombia's most well-liked kind of gambling is sports betting, with numerous national and international sporting events being covered by authorized operators. Basketball, baseball, and tennis are the following four most popular sports among Colombian gamblers after football;
- Casino Games – Colombian gamblers like playing casino games like slots, blackjack, roulette and baccarat at both physical and online casinos. Various games, including those with large payoff percentages and jackpots, are available at several casinos. It's important to emphasize again that online casino in Colombia is legal;
- Lottery – Many Colombians often purchase lottery tickets, making Colombia's national lottery a well-liked form of gambling. Millions of people participate in and watch the results of the Christmas lottery live on television, making it a significant occasion in the nation;
- Poker – Poker is gaining popularity in Colombia, with several major poker tournaments held throughout the year in different cities. Additionally, the number of professional poker players in the country is growing; some are well-known and successful outside the country.
If we talk about the online poker sector, it was essentially prohibited in Colombia, but the government opted to control the game on foreign websites.
Future of the Online Gambling in Colombia
Colombia's online gaming industry has a promising future with much room for expansion and innovation. Many operators remain optimistic about the industry's future, citing Colombia's large and growing population, favorable regulatory environment, and increasing adoption of digital technologies as key growth drivers. And as the Colombian government recognizes the potential economic benefits of the industry, such as job creation and tax revenues, the gambling industry is likely to continue its growth under government control.
Colombia has already increased the variety of casino games it offers and established new, exciting patterns for better usage of online gaming. As technology advances, online gambling operators in Colombia must keep pace to remain competitive. As the industry grows, it will be essential to prioritize player safety and well-being.
In conclusion, Colombia's gaming business has a rich history and has undergone a lot of development. Thanks to the industry's well-organized framework, players can choose from a wide range of gaming options nowadays in both land-based and online contexts. The business is likewise closely controlled with rigorous laws and rules to protect players and encourage responsible gambling.
Colombian gamblers enjoy various games, including poker, casino games, online casino in Colombia, and sports betting. The future of online gambling in Colombia is bright, with lots of potential for development and innovation as technology advances.
Colombia's gambling industry plays a significant role in the nation's economy by creating jobs and raising money through taxes. The Colombian government and licensed operators are collaborating to establish a safe and fair gaming environment for all players, despite the industry's problems. The future of online gambling is bright and promising in many ways.
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