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First Ever Online Gambling License Granted in South America
The nation of Colombia has officially become the first country in South America to issue an online gambling license. The move comes after legislation was past last year to open up what is projected to be a legal market valued at up to $8 billion.
The new taxation regime calls for 15% of gross gaming revenue (where the player has a 83% or larger expected return) to be funneled into the government’s coffers. In addition, the hope is that legalization will bring greater player protections.
“With this initiative we seek greater resources for the health of Columbians,” said Juan Perez Hidalgo, president of gaming regulator Coljuegos.
Leading Global Brands Frozen Out
Although the legislation legalizing online casino gaming was passed last year, little had been done to force operators out of the market. That all changed with the issuance of the first license to Wplay.co, a subsidiary company of the Aquila Global Group.
Once the license became active, ISP’s in the country began cutting off access to all other online gaming companies. The total tally of blacklisted sites came to 325, with leading global online gaming brands PokerStars, Betfair, William Hill, and Ladbrokes all getting the ban hammer.
What Will the Future Bring?
Whether or not these operators will seek to enter the market, or what the market will look like in the future, remains unknown.
That being said, people cannot help but to be optimistic about the future. South America as a whole has a strong culture of gaming, and seeing the first licensed and regulated online casinos is a welcome sign for both players and regulators alike.
However, there are still huge practical considerations – such as the effect of taxation amounts and payment processing abilities – which still need to be examined before calling the legislation a success.