If the people can’t go to the casinos, then the casinos will go to the people. This is essentially the determination of Colombia’s gaming regulator, Coljuegos, which has approved a measure to bring live-dealer online casinos to the country. The move is being made following an extensive study into the revenue possibilities of the activity, and Coljuegos is going to make things easier for operators to get going as it has authorized a deferral on fees associated with the virtual gambling action.
The decision to move forward with the plan comes, in part, in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has forced the global casino industry to a standstill. Coljuegos, which launched online gambling in 2017, drew its plans from studies that have been conducted on similar efforts in the U.S., the U.K. and Spain, and which found that live-dealer iGaming introduces an additional revenue stream instead of cannibalizing existing options.
It goes without saying that the new initiative will still have to meet all existing regulatory requirements. But the good news is that gamblers will now have a more interactive gaming experience involving live dealers, and the country will have access to additional financial resources, as well as additional employment opportunities. External operations will be permitted, as well, as long as they meet the country’s regulatory and technical guidelines for online gaming.
To help get things off the ground, and to offset the financial pressure being caused by COVID-19, Coljuegos is going to make things easy on operators of both live and virtual casinos. The brick-and-mortar operators will be able to pay their March and April fees over a six-month period and will need to temporarily cut the number of gaming devices they offer for the same period. Virtual casinos will still have to make monthly payments for March, April and May, but these have been reduced by 50%. As an extra measure of assistance, contractually-obligated minimum profit levels or guaranteed gross income contributions are waived through the end of the year.
Rush Street Interactive (RSI) is thrilled with the measure. It entered Colombia in June of 2018, the first U.S.-based operator to do so, and began introducing online casino games and a sportsbook. It is now going to bring in live-dealer blackjack and roulette to complement its offerings, relying on gaming solutions provider NetEnt for the endeavor. The GM of RSI Colombia, Omar Calvo, voiced his satisfaction with the extended partnership, adding, “NetEnt’s Blackjack and Roulette games are already among the most popular table games on our sites in the U.S. and we know players in Colombia, who appreciate top quality table game content, will love playing these games online at RushBet.co.”