Colombia opens consultation on online gambling regulations, standards

coljuegos-colombia-online-gamblingColombia’s gambling regulator has opened a consultation on launching a regulated online gambling market.

This week, Colombian regulator Cojuegos published a brief note on its website indicating that it had posted three draft documents covering regulatory and technical requirements for online gambling operations. Cojuegos has invited public feedback on the documents, which can be accessed here.

The drafts would allow licensed online gambling operators to offer RNG casino games including slots, roulette, blackjack, baccarat and bingo, plus poker (cash games and tournaments).

The draft also would authorize sports betting (real and fantasy), with fixed-odds, parlay and exchange wagering all getting the green light. Live in-play betting would also be permissible. However, online horse betting appears to be forbidden, proving once and for all that the entire horseracing industry is irredeemably contrarian.

There doesn’t (yet) appear to be any limit on the number of online licenses Coljuegos plans to issue. Operators would have to establish a .co domain and all other gambling domains will be considered to be operating illegally. Operators would be allowed to advertise their products, although Coljuegos may limit the number and types of bonuses operators can offer.

Operators would pay a minimum tax rate of 17% on gross gaming revenue (15% on betting products that offer a minimum 83% return to players). Operators will also pay Coljuegos an administrative fee of not more than 1%.

The draft also stipulates that licensed operators “additionally will pay eight hundred and eleven (811) monthly statutory minimum wage, which will be canceled during the twenty (20) working days of each year of operation.”

For the record, the statutory minimum monthly wage in Colombia as of Jan. 2015 is COP 644,350 (US $200), so assuming the draft means 811 x the monthly minimum wage, that’s around $162k, although how often this sum must be remitted isn’t clear.

Colombia’s move to regulate online gambling follows hot on the heels of Brazil’s recent push to regulate its own market. It doesn’t hurt that both countries’ economies are sinking like a stone – Colombia is heavily dependent on oil exports, so its economic model has collapsed over the past year – and thus previously gambling-shy governments are now looking to any grab any potential new revenue stream.