Earlier this month, Corredor Empresarial’s Betplay.co site won approval from Colombian regulator Coljuegos and became the second brand to receive an online gambling licence in the South American country.
While Colombia is currently the only Latin American nation with a fully-regulated online market, there are five others with a single gambling authority: Mexico, Peru, Paraguay, Chile and Bolivia. Brazil and Argentina are other focus areas for the industry.
Looking across the region, we take a look here at how iGaming in Latin America is changing, presenting opportunities for operators and also affiliates.
Colombia became the first country in Latin America to establish a local licensing regime last September. Wplay.co became the first operator to be awarded an online gambling licence in June before being joined by Corredor Empresarial.
These are the only two brands to obtain licences so far, but it’s likely that others will follow. SBC News reported that Ladbrokes and Grupo Cirsa Spanish market joint-venture Sportium plan to expand within South America, which could lead to other international brands doing likewise.
Lawmakers have been trying to legalise at least one form of gambling in the fully-restricted Brazilian market for a number of years, along with creating regulatory framework to liberalise the market. The Senate’s PLS 186/2014 proposal was discussed again last year. However, the expected final vote has not occurred to date.
As Casino New Daily also recently reported, around 200,000 residents are estimated to travel across the border to Uruguay to gamble at local casinos. The market’s potential is huge and there will likely be an equally high demand for iGaming offerings. There’s almost certain to be plenty of eager operators and affiliates too, who will hope that legislation changes sooner rather than later.
Mexico is also pushing for a fully-regulated online gambling market. Despite the lower house of the country’s Senate passing a comprehensive gambling bill in late 2014, a vote on the bill by the upper house has not yet taken place. The legislation’s passage is unlikely before next year.
However, with a large number of English-speaking residents and a business-friendly environment, Mexico offers the right market conditions for player acquisition and retention. Brands looking to potentially expand into the Lat Am region soon should keep their eyes peeled for changes in legislation in the country just below the Rio Grande.
Argentina is complex. There are currently 24 gambling authorities – one per jurisdiction. Meanwhile, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) is the only entity that’s permitted to offer sports-betting.
In July, Argentine president Mauricio Macri hinted at the possibility of a new federal regulator.. The introduction of a legal and regulated sports-betting market in a country known for its sports culture has been discussed and could prove lucrative for operators and affiliates by attracting consumers to bet on safe, verified sites.
In the future, there will be plenty of potential iGaming opportunities in Latin America. Mexico and Brazil are the two markets many expect to regulate before too long, and both would attract big business from operators and affiliates alike. To make obtaining a licence easier and also gain an advantage on potential competitors, preparatory work should begin as soon as possible.