Peru lawmakers could soon approve a bill that would legalize sports gambling in the country. A bill introduced by Percy Eloy Alcala Mateo of the Fuerza Popular party seeks to pave the way for Peruvians to participate in the increasingly popular gambling market. The bill, Bill 3397/2018-CE, has already been presented to Congress for consideration.
The legislative piece covers an array of topics related to sports gambling. In a move that would make sports gambling taxable along the same lines as casinos and lotteries, sportsbooks would have to pay a monthly tax of 12%, which would be calculated against the difference between what was taken in by the sportsbooks and what was paid out.
Currently, sportsbooks operate in the country, but are not legislated. As pointed out by Luis Felipe Cornejo, the general manager of Sportimba.com, sports gambling operators only pay an income tax and, for his part, the additional 12% is acceptable, as it would bring the tax rate in line with what is seen in other countries.
Cornejo added, “I do not think the measure will impact on the players’ prizes. If it were to impact the companies, we would receive the same income and the expense would be higher. But it is a manageable tax.”
The bill would also provide language to establish where sportsbook could legally operate, guarantees mandated to cover payouts and penalties for infractions. While most of the bill’s components are agreeable to those in the sports gambling industry, there are a couple of sticky points.
The bill wants to establish that all sportsbooks pay a guarantee of the equivalent of US$166,210 to cover payouts, which some consider too high. Cornejo has recommended that the guarantee be reduced to one-third of the suggested amount.
He asserted, “We are not in disagreement with the guarantee, but it is high. If the bar is set too high, it will hit the formal gambling houses and the informal ones will remain illegal.”
There are between 20-25 sportsbooks currently operating in Peru, either through an online or a physical venue. The industry has gathered a significant amount of attention over the last five year and many expect that Peru could see massive growth in the coming years. Says Cornejo, “Some large international betting houses are waiting for regulation to be made official in Peru to arrive in our country.”
The entire bill, in Spanish, can be found here (in pdf).