Colombian regulator Coljuegos has updated its gaming regulation to help the sector weather the effects of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The update includes authorisation for two new gaming modalities: instant-win scratchcards (physical and digital) and hybrid online-offline bingo games, where online players participate alongside in-person participants. It also allows lotteries to provide additional prize draws and promotional games to help ‘reactivate’ the sector.
The update is intended to stimulate gaming activity, with the hope that instant-win products will prove popular among lottery players, and that video bingo will be able to breathe life back into Colombia’s land-based gaming industry while maintaining social distancing protocols.
“We are going to authorise the operation of video bingo as a measure to reactivate the operation of local gaming,” Coljuegos president Juan B. Pérez Hidalgo explained. “Our operators will be able to sell physical bingo cards and broadcast the game so that it can be played from home. We are also taking measures so that business owners can reactivate their businesses with promotional games.”
Under the new rules, lotteries will also be allowed to run two additional prize draws per year, provided they take place in different months. Another key update sees operators able to draw up payment plans with their distributors to pay off the costs of decreased business throughout 2020.
The decree was produced collaboratively between regulator Coljuegos, industry associations Fedelco, Asojuegos, Fecoljuegos and Cornazar, Colombia’s National Gaming Council (Consejo Nacional de Juegos de Suerte y Azar – CNJSA) and local operators, with the National Federation of Departments representing local governments across the country.
Hidalgo described the update as “a measure to guarantee the recovery and sustainability of territorial [gaming] companies, and, of course, collect more resources towards the health of Colombians”.
The country directs the tax collected through gaming to its healthcare system.
According to the president of Asojuegos, Juan Carlos Resterepo: “What is in play are the resources with which the health of the Colombian people is financed, and for that reason we’ve brought together associations, operators and government to work collaboratively on measures which will provide relief in the sector”.
The update represents the second change this year aimed at helping the gaming sector recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. In April, live dealer casino games were authorised in an effort to increase gaming revenues and therefore the funding for Colombia’s healthcare system.