Online casinos in Colombia

In Colombia, Monopolio Rentístico JSA (Monopolio Rentístico de los Juegos de Suerte y Azar) operates when income from gambling activities is used for a social purpose – financing health care. The organization, management, control and operation of a monopoly is determined by Law No. 643 of January 16, 2001 (LEY 643 DE 2001, hereinafter referred to as the Law). Coljuegos Colombia (hereinafter – Coljuegos) is the national regulator of the gambling industry. Instead of a license, the operators receive a concession (an agreement between the authorities and a private entrepreneur).

The legalization of best online casinos colombia in Colombia took place in 2016. Domain of legalized internet top casino sites colombia must end with. You can check casino online colombia for a concession agreement on the Coljuegos website. Here you can find information about the company name, a link to an authorized site, an agreement (available for download) and contacts of the Player Support Service.

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Obligations of the Regulator

Coljuegos (Empresa Industrial y Comercial del Estado Administradora del Monopolio Rentístico de los Juegos de Suerte y Azar) is a state-owned industrial and commercial company that administers the national games that are part of Monopolio Rentístico JSA. Works under the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit of Colombia.

Main responsibilities:

  • audit of concession agreements for gambling activities;
  • prevention of illegal gambling activities;
  • development of rules governing games at the state level;
  • coordination and support of organizations and competent authorities in the fight against unlicensed Internet gambling companies;
  • control over the fulfillment of contractual obligations by online best casino sites colombia operators.

Coljuegos activities are supported by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Colombia No. 4142 dated November 3, 2011 (DECRETO 4142 DE 2011 ).

Colombia legalizes online gambling:

  • roulette;
  • baccarat;
  • slot machines;
  • poker;
  • bingo;
  • sports betting.

Colombia’s licensed gambling sites may offer bonuses / jackpots for participating in an online casino or making a deposit (the participant must be sure to read the terms and conditions). The player’s personal data is updated annually. If there is no activity for 6 months, the account will be blocked.

Colombians can play in online casinos that have an international license. To register on the authorized page of Colombia online real money casinos in colombia, you must be of legal age (18 years old) and reside in the country.

Measures to protect players

The main goal of Coljuegos Colombia is to prevent the development of the shadow sector of online casinos in the country and to protect entertainment participants from fraud. With the support of the Ministry of Information Technology, cyber police and local providers, the regulator has already blocked more than 2,000 illegal online colombian casino site that served Colombian members without a license. You can submit an authorized or anonymous complaint on the regulator’s website.

Online casino operators in Colombia must prominently display information for players on: 

  • risks associated with gambling addiction;
  • responsible gambling limited to minors.

Participants can take advantage of the self-exclusion procedure. It is carried out by the gambling operator. After applying for self-exclusion, the player will not be able to place new bets or purchase credits for games until the restriction period has expired. You can set limits on the amount that is deposited from the card, for a day, week or month.

Colombia: new life for online gambling

Unlike most Latin American countries (LatAm), Colombia does not have many official restrictions on gambling. It is considered the most progressive market in the region.

In 2016, the Colombian authorities legalized almost all types of online gambling. And a recent decree, approved by the Coljuegos regulator, made the online casino, poker and all types of bets (including racing) market available to operators.

Back in early 2017, the situation on the Colombian iGambling market looked rather depressing: the lifting of bans, coupled with the lack of a well-developed regulatory framework, led to the growth of offshore. The list published by the government of Colombia included 325 online operators operating in the country without a license.

However, by the summer the situation had changed. The new licensing system, backed up by government measures to control illegal gambling, has borne fruit.

As a reminder, Coljuegos ordered every iGambling company in the country to obtain a license 13 months ago; at the same time, a unified tax rate for the gambling business was approved at a rate of 15%. Six months later, the government took active measures to block offshore companies.

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Issuance of licenses

The first official Coljuegos license was issued in June 2017. It was received by the local betting operator Wplay (AQUILA GLOBAL GROUP SA S). At the same time, its official representative was the Kambi Group, a large provider of software for bookmakers from the UK.

In early autumn, a license to operate online betting,
colombia online roulette and slot machines was approved for Corredor Empresarial.

And in October and November, the international company GAMING1 (casino and bookmaker products), the Colombian betting operator Colbet and the world famous Codere confirmed their right to legal iGambling in Colombia.

There were also rumors in the press about PokerStars’ intentions to legalize its business in the country, but no official confirmation of this was provided.

Coljuegos President Juan B. Perez Hidalgo stressed: “We will not rest until we put an end to illegal gambling in the country.”

In his November 3 interview with the independent publication iGambling Business, Hidalgo noted that progress in the country would end illegal gambling activities.

With 59% of the population engaging in gambling and new investment regulations, Colombia will become the leading country in the region. What are the market constraints and the challenges it will face in the future?

If we analyze the progress made by the Colombian gambling industry and compare it with other areas of activity, we can conclude that the country has huge potential for growth and expansion. The government’s regulation and initiatives coordinated by Coljuegos aim to foster growth and competitiveness and the diffusion of innovation to keep pace with developments in this dynamic and evolving industry.

Our goal is to stay in sync with the most promising and thriving jurisdictions in the industry and stay at the forefront of the sector. The inevitable advancement of technology opens up great opportunities for interacting with a new generation of users. When it comes to market constraints, I believe they are directly related to a country’s ability to embrace change and innovation. At Coljuegos we focus our efforts on driving innovation across the industry and I think we did a great job. We successfully passed the Baloto Revancha (lottery) legislation, strengthened our lottery offering, accelerated processes for land-based games, and started rolling out online gaming licenses.

You were talking about a new, tech-savvy generation. But there is another segment of the market, more conservative, that continues to bet on traditional games. Aren’t you worried that the regulation of the online gambling market will lead to the takeover of land-based casinos?

Both sectors are currently in strong demand. Extensive research by Coljuegos demonstrates that there is plenty of room for growth in both directions in the country. Neither land-based nor online gaming is at risk from unfair competition. On the contrary: our current regulatory regime allows all sectors to grow at a sustainable pace.

There have been many rumors about the number of licenses Coljuegos plans to issue. Four operators * are already operating in Colombia. How many licenses do you plan to provide by the end of the year? And what are the goals for the next one?

In an effort to stimulate local and foreign investment, Coljuegos plans to issue at least two licenses before the end of this year. We strive to provide a fair and transparent environment for users and stakeholders by raising awareness among Colombians of the importance of placing bets on licensed and regulated sites. We will not rest until we put an end to illegal gambling in the country.

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Colombia still has over 325 illegal gambling domains blocked, including PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker room. In this regard, the Stars Group announced their intention to apply for a license. Have you received any suggestions from them?

We are in continuous dialogue with all parties interested in obtaining a license to operate in Colombia. The new regulation came into force in October 2016, and since then we have urged unlicensed operators to comply with local laws, leave the market and apply for a gambling license in accordance with the requirements of the country’s legislation. Our message to offshore operators is clear: Colombia is committed to transparency and accountability. We currently have four licensed online game operators with several more on the way.

Malta’s Executive Chairman for Gambling has lately commended Colombia and its regulatory efforts, citing your actions as an example for other LatAm jurisdictions. Are you planning to follow in her footsteps in legitimizing cryptocurrency in the industry?

Colombia is LatAm’s undisputed leader when it comes to being forward-thinking and pursuing forward-thinking innovations. However, Coljuegos does not have any authority to regulate cryptocurrencies. Colombia’s Treasury and Treasury Department is dealing with this issue, and therefore we cannot comment.

Have you received offers from European companies looking to expand their influence in the regulated online gaming market in Colombia?

We receive inquiries from all over the world and Europe is no exception. Coljuegos works hard to develop the industry by creating an environment that provides all the necessary conditions for both investor companies to thrive and to protect consumers (users).

Current situation and prospects

Earlier, Coljuegos said that the new licensing system, which aroused the interest of several international operators, could bring up to $ 7 billion to the budget in the first year of implementation. And the legalization of the last “undeveloped” segment – online casinos and poker rooms – is associated with the desire to finally oust offshore operators from the market.

In its policy, Coljuegos is guided by the experience of France, Spain, Portugal and Italy – these are the markets that demonstrate high growth rates.

It is worth noting that legislators and regulators strictly adhere to the approved norms, not giving concessions even to “giants” like Poker Stars and 888Holding. In particular, one of the prerequisites is the placement of servers on the territory of Colombia. As a matter of fact, this question became a stumbling block in the relationship with the “star” poker room.

Interesting fact: in April of this year, 31 people were detained in connection with allegations of corruption. Among them were the former president of Coljuegos, Rodrigo Velez, and six other employees of the regulatory body. According to the head of the anti-corruption department of the Colombian prosecutor’s office, these people have been under surveillance since 2016, when they were suspected of illegally issuing licenses to “one-day” firms. Corrupt officials were arrested after raids on gambling establishments, who were offered patronage in exchange for bribes.

And in practice, this categorical approach justifies itself. A squall of operators in the country has not yet been observed, but the set goals are being met. And many operators are positive about the tactics of the Colombian authorities.

For example, BetConstruct CEO Anna Shahbazyan called the Colombian market a good role model for regulatory tactics. And Gaming1’s Victor Araneda views Colombia as a country with a comprehensive regulatory framework and is ready for an initially low growth in the region: “Coljuegos must continue its commitment to stop illegal operators. We are patient and confident in our proposal and strategy and are focused on building a strong position in the first year of operation. ” With small but confident steps, Colombia is firmly established in the iGambling market.

It can be assumed that as early as next year the majority of large operators will be forced to adopt a policy of regulation of the country in order to strengthen their positions in the region: all existing domains of “illegal immigrants” are blocked, and entry to the market becomes available only through a license. Another entry point could be a partnership with another licensee, as the Kambi Group, for example, did. However, one way or another, the development of its own network of ground and chain establishments will require compromises on the part of businessmen. If this happens, Colombia will become an unconditional LatAm dealer and will be able to compete with Europe.