Columbia Crosses the Line into Regulation First in LatAmPublished July 9, 2017 by Lee R
The long-anticipated entry LatAm entry is official, but the first regulator may not be who you expected.
Rather quietly, Columbia has officially burst onto the iGaming scene.
Out of the LatAm Gate!
With minimal pre-indications leading to nothing more than general knowledge that Columbia was ready to regulate, Colombia has issued its first online gambling license concordant with official measures to actively block unauthorized operators from accessing Columbian players.
This Colombian regulatory body Coljuegos gaming issued the first license to a Medellin-based game machine operator Aquila Global Group, whom disclosed plans to operate in Columbia under brand name Wplay.co.
Aquila Global’s further plans call for a three-year stepped investment of COP 15b (US $4.9m) in online operations while benchmarking the goal of attracting 1m new Columbian customers in a country whose population numbers approximately 50m.
The Columbian regulation calls for a 15% tax on gross gaming revenue along with annual fees of roughly $200k per licensee; with the first year of regulation projected to bring in approximately COP 8b ($2.6m) in the first year of regulation.
Columbia did bear the distinction of being the first Latin American jurisdiction to approve online gambling legislation, as of last October. Questions then grew over the progress of the follow-up.
Growing interest was reconfirmed earlier this month at Juegos Miami when new Coljuegos business head Liliana Viveros announced over 60 inquiries received from interested applicants. She further estimated that at least seven online licensees to launch locally licensed sites by year’s end.
As for rampant unregulated activity in the area, Coljuegos published a list in March of approximately 325 international unauthorized online gambling domains serving the Colombian market. Those domains have been tabbed for blockage beginning Friday.
The effectiveness of mass-blocking measures depends on measures such as the effectiveness of coordination of regulators with the state police and the defence ministry.
As the first jurisdiction to regulate in South America, the effectiveness and progress of Columbia will surely be monitored closely by other Lat Am nations, especially with Brazil and possibly Mexico set to regulate shortly as well. The task may not be easy, but some trial and error evidence at this point may be what LatAm needs most at this point to start addressing the common remaining obstacles to legal gaming activity.