Online Gaming Jurisdictions – South America

Online Gaming Jurisdictions – South America

Football is undoubtedly the number one sport in South America – and many fans can’t imagine going to the stadium without having a bet on the outcome. Many online sportsbooks and casinos have naturally spotted all the interest and plenty of them are now open for business in South American countries, with the legislative authorities struggling to keep up with the pace of the market.

That’s why the situation regarding the legality of online gambling is still very murky in many South American countries, although it seems that players aren’t facing any big difficulties getting their wagers and bets on in most of them.

Brazil

Until 2014, there were no notable laws regarding online gaming in Brazil, with most players flocking to whichever online casinos and sportsbooks were able to take their bets. The Internet Bill of Rights was passed in April of that year, however, making foreign online gaming operators subject to Brazilian law and giving the government tools to block sites that it deemed illegal.

That didn’t stop Brazilians from playing at offshore companies, however, and, since the economic situation has taken a turn for the worse, the country started to consider a massive liberalization of the market in 2015, hoping to get nice chunks of tax cash in exchange for official licenses.

Interestingly, citizens caught gambling in the public were punishable at the time of writing, so make sure that you aren’t going to bet from any of the internet cafés while in Brazil.

Argentina

Online gambling has always been legal in Argentina, although operators have also always been asked to acquire official licenses from the local provinces. Some popular bookmakers have done so and Ladbrokes, for example, even opened brick-and-mortar betting shops across the country, while others have decided to stay in the gray zone and not operate openly despite still allowing Argentinians to enjoy their online casino games and betting offers. Thus far, Argentinian authorities have been unable to block websites or transactions, so the market is basically a free-for-all contest at the moment.

That may well change in the near future, however, as the country seems to be seeking to unite all the provinces under a single national regulator. A state-sponsored gambling company was launched in December 2015 as well, prompting many speculations about the country possibly aiming for some sort of a state monopoly. In any case, there was nothing preventing players from accessing the most popular online casinos from Argentina at the time of writing and chances are that things are going to stay that way for quite some time.

Colombia

At the time of writing, the situation in Colombia was very similar to the situation in Brazil. With the plunging oil prices hurting the local economy, the government decided to examine ways of liberalizing the market and getting new sources of income from an industry towards which it is yet to take a clear stand.

In December 2015, the Colombian national regulator launched a consultation process that should result in new rules and laws, under which licensed online gambling operators would be able to offer casino games (including the increasingly popular slot games), bingo, poker and sports betting products in all shapes and sizes. It seems that there will be an exception for online horse betting, however, for reasons that we are unable to fully understand.

The suggested tax rates are reasonably high, especially in comparison with some of the ones that are being enforced over in Europe, so, if things do indeed proceed as expected, we think that we’re going to see plenty of operators getting the Colombian license. They will probably have to run their operations from a dedicated .co domain, however.

Until the changes come into force, players should be able play as freely as before, with plenty of online casinos and sportsbooks being open to Colombians.

Venezuela

Strangely enough, Venezuela has been among the first South American countries to adopt specific laws regarding online gaming – and, as you might have guessed, those laws aren’t particularly liberal, with the state ruling the industry with an iron fist.

Even land-based gambling is limited to only a few bingo halls and a small number of casinos, so it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that, at the time of writing, there were just three online casinos holding the special Venezuelan license. Only those are legal, of course.

We would love to say that it’s easy to play at offshore online casinos from Venezuela, but it seems that it might actually be quite hard to do so, with plenty of providers deciding to stay away from the market completely. That’s understandable, of course, especially since it isn’t a particularly big one, but it’s also quite unfortunate for all the Venezuelans that love their games and sports betting.

Peru

Sports betting has become incredibly popular in Peru in recent years, which means that plenty of online casinos and sportsbooks are now eyeing the market as a great opportunity for expanding into South America. The good news is that online gambling has always been considered legal and that we haven’t seen any efforts from the government to stop players from enjoying their favorite casino games and sports betting products, so chances are that the country will remain to be one of the better ones in South America as far as online gaming is concerned.

We should also add that the authorities started to look into the possibility of a mass-scale liberalization of the online market in 2015. The proposed rules might not be great news for the players, however, as the government has also proposed that it’s going to closely monitor all the online transactions in the same way as it currently monitors all the transactions that are taking place at land-based casinos.