Colombia’s online gambling market to grow 83% in 2019


colombia-online-gambling-2019Colombia’s regulated online gambling market is on track to grow by 83% in 2019, according to the local Coljuegos regulatory body.

Wednesday saw Coljuegos hold its annual ‘Accountability’ presentation for local media, in which it details its activities over the past year, celebrating its achievements while bemoaning its challenges. This year, Coljuegos boss Juan B. Pérez Hidalgo was particularly proud of his country’s online gambling progress.

Hidalgo said Coljuegos expects full-year 2019 collections from its online gambling licensees will total COP69.4b (US$20.6m), which would represent an 83% rise over 2018’s online returns. That rate of growth is significantly higher than the 63% growth that Cojuegos reported in the first six months of 2019.

The fight against unauthorized online gambling operators also continued unabated in 2019, with Coljuegos claiming to have blocked an additional 2,000 international gambling domains this year. The regulator also celebrated the confiscation and destruction of 4,362 illegal land-based gambling devices in the 12 months ending October 31.

Since Colombia approved regulated online gambling in 2016, Coljuegos has issued 18 online licenses, the most recent recipient being Grupo Vinnare SAS, which recently launched its site. Grupo Vinnare was one of only two online licenses issued in 2019, following the launch of Betjuego in February.

Evert Montero Cárdenas, president of local gaming operator association Fecoljuegos, recently said he expected Coljuegos would issue another two online licenses in 2020, after which he expects Colombia’s online market to “remain more or less stable as the market itself determines which platforms will remain in force.”

Colombia was the first South American jurisdiction to expressly authorize online gambling in 2016 and the country has been held up as a model for other LatAm markets to follow. Brazil is currently putting the finishing touches on its online sports betting regulations, although its plan to impose a 3% tax on betting turnover isn’t winning many fans (at least, not amongst prospective licensees).