Colombia issues first online gambling license to


colombia-wplay-online-gambling-licenseColombia has issued its first online gambling license as it prepares to block unauthorized operators from accessing local punters.

This week, Colombia’s Coljuegos gaming regulatory body issued the country’s first official online gambling license to a subsidiary of Medellin-based electronic gaming machine operator Aquila Global Group. The company plans to operate online in Colombia using the brand.

Aquila Global said it expects to invest COP 15b (US $4.9m) in its online operations over the next three years and has set a goal of signing up 1m customers over that span, an ambitious target in a country with a population of only around 50m.

Last October, Colombia became the first Latin American jurisdiction to approve online gambling legislation. Online licensees will pay 15% tax on their gross gaming revenue and annual fees of roughly $200k. The government hopes to raise COP 8b ($2.6m) in the first year following its online market launch.

Speaking at the Juegos Miami conference earlier this month, Coljuegos’ head of new business Liliana Viveros announced that the regulator had received over 60 inquiries from interested applicants and Coljuegos expected seven online licensees to have launched their locally licensed sites by the end of 2017.

Other local operators are expected to join in short order. Recent weeks have seen local lottery and betting operator Corredor Empresarial ink online gambling technology deals with suppliers R Franco Digital and Kambi Sports Solutions.

To ensure its local licensees have a fair shot at attracting a sufficient volume of customers, Coljuegos published a list in March of some 325 international online gambling domains that it deems to be serving the Colombian market without authorization. Coljuegos will compel local internet service providers to begin blocking these domains as of Friday (30).

Similar domain-blocking schemes have been imposed in other gaming jurisdictions with limited success. Coljuegos president Juan Pérez Hidalgo acknowledged that technological workarounds made the task ahead difficult but said the regulator would coordinate with state police and the defense ministry to give the blocking scheme a fighting chance of success.