Colombian government supports legal online gambling due to its positive impact on the economy
It’s becoming more and more obvious that the Colombian online gaming landscape is turning into a thriving and very promising market. As the first country in Latin America to create a fully regulated online gambling environment, Colombia is regarded by both operators and players as a trailblazer in the gambling industry.
But the good news doesn't stop here. The Colombian government wants to take things one step further by teaming up with operators in order to promote legal online gaming. The authorities decided this is the best way to move things forward, considering the positive impact that the online gaming industry in Colombia has had on the country’s economy.
Then and now
Not so long ago, Colombia’s gambling environment was completely different from what we know today. It was once known as a market where corruption and illegal activities were the norm. Things have changed drastically over the past few years, and now the online casino industry in Colombia is without a doubt an example for all other countries in Latin America.
Although casino games were always highly popular in Colombia and people love playing a good game of ruleta or casino table games, there was little progress made in regulating these activities until 2016 when the eGaming Act was approved. This act establishes all the rules and regulations operators have to comply with in order to obtain a license and run their activities legally.
Since the act was approved, El Consejo Nacional de Juegos de Suerte y Azar (Coljuegos), the gambling authority in Colombia, started issuing licenses for operators that met the newly imposed standards. They also supervise all gambling activities, blocking casino websites that don’t follow the regulations in place.
The continuous rise of the online gambling industry
As it was expected, becoming the first regulated gambling jurisdiction in Latin America led to a spike in demand for online casino games such as ruleta, slots, poker, baccarat, blackjack and many others. This demand was met by a growing number of reputable casino providers like Codere flooding the gambling market.
It is estimated that almost 60% of Colombians engage in gambling activities regularly and are interested in casino games. With a population of almost 50 million people, it’s easy to understand why the online gambling market is on a continuous growing trend. The fact that most people have smart devices, access to the internet and prefer the convenience of playing casino games from the comfort of their home rather than going to a land-based casino, has also contributed to the rise of the online gambling industry in Colombia.
The impact on the economy
If we have to talk about the impact that the gambling industry in Colombia is having on the economy, we should start with some relevant numbers. First of all, we have to mention that the gambling sector continued to grow in Colombia thanks to online gaming and sports betting. There was a 10 to 20% growth registered last year in these areas which led to a revenue of more than 250 billion pesos. Part of the profits were directed towards the health sector, so gambling activities suddenly turned into a great way of giving back to the community.
We shouldn’t ignore the fact that Colombia is a top destination for tourists, with over 4 million people visiting the country each year. And since tourists are always in search of fun and adventure, the online casino environment in Colombia offers a very interesting entertainment option for them. The great variety of casino games offered by major operators like Codere make the gambling environment even more tempting for visitors. So, each year more and more visitors engage in casino games, providing a much-needed boost for the Colombian economy.
Paving the way for other countries
As we’ve mentioned previously, Colombia is the first country in Latin America to break the ice and regulate the online gambling environment. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only country in the region with huge potential in this sector. Other countries such as Brazil and Argentina also offer promising prospects for the development of a flourishing online gambling market. That’s mostly because they both have large populations and also because people here have a real interest in online casino games.
Admittedly, both Brazil and Argentina are far behind Colombia in terms of legislation and gambling regulations, and it’s going to be a long process until they can compete on the same level. But it can’t be denied that Colombia’s progress serves as a source of inspiration for all the other countries in the region and its success makes things a bit easier for the rest of them.
Online casinos vs land-based casinos
The advent of the internet changed the gambling world forever, and it’s a change everyone can benefit from. Even though many people feared that the rise of online gambling would lead to the extinction of land-based casinos, things aren’t going in that direction.
In fact, the rapid growth of the online casino industry brought benefits for brick-and-mortar casinos as well. That’s because the online casino environment has exposed a great number of people to the thrill and excitement of playing casino games and turned it into a mainstream activity. People who would have never stepped in a traditional casino before, are now much more open to the idea of playing casino games as a form of entertainment. So, land-based casinos are no longer regarded as a place where only avid players can spend their time and money. Gambling has become an activity everyone can enjoy without feeling judged or stigmatized.
It might be true that balance tips towards online gambling as it provides convenience, comfort, variety, safety and plenty of winning options for both new and experienced players. But that doesn’t mean online casinos and brick-and-mortar casinos can’t coexist. In fact, these two environments complement each other and as Colombia’s example shows, they can offer a great support for the economy.