Colombia has issued its eighth online gambling license to Spanish gaming operator Luckia, while another online licensee got some unwanted attention via a tennis player who should have known better.
On Thursday, Colombia’s Coljuegos gaming regulatory body announced that Spanish operator Luckia’s local subsidiary Luckia Colombia S.A.S. had been awarded the eighth online gambling license since the country liberalized its online market in late-2016.
Luckia already has a retail sports betting operation in Colombia via a collaboration with the National Corporation of Entrepreneurs of Luck and Chance Games (Cornazar). The new Luckia.co website has been approved to offer both sports betting and ‘luck and chance’ games, although its website currently displays only a splash screen featuring the Spanish phrases ‘stay close’ and ‘soon’.
Luckia’s new online license is valid for five years and cost the company COP 11.2b (US$3.9m), making it the priciest of all eight Coljuegos’ online deals to date. The next highest license fee was the COP 10.9b paid by local operator Colbet last October.
Coljuegos president Juan B. Pérez Hidalgo said Colombia’s licensed sites had registered nearly 213k customers as of last December, and that 95% of these customers were deemed to be active. Hidalgo has said Coljuegos hopes to have 20 online licensees taking wagers from Colombian punters by the time the FIFA World Cup kicks off this summer.
Meanwhile, one of Colombia’s first licensees finally had the official launch of its site last week. To boost awareness, Corredor Empresarial’s BetPlay brand launched a promo campaign it dubbed MiPasión, and enlisted the help of a number of figures from the world of sport, including Mario Yepes, former captain of Colombia’s national football team.
But the campaign went a bit awry after Colombian doubles tennis player Robert Farah tweeted, then quickly deleted, a photo of himself on a gym’s exercise bike holding his mobile, on which the Betplay site was displayed. The photo was accompanied by text promoting Betplay, concluding with Farah saying “I already bet, you too.”
It’s unclear what formal relationship Farah has with Betplay, but tennis has always had an uneasy relationship with betting, reflected in stats that show the sport consistently ranking highest among incidents of suspicious betting patterns. Best stick to football tie-ups, guys.