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Colombian gambling regulator apologises to licensed casino amid crackdown

| By Richard Mulligan
Coljuegos, Colombia’s gambling regulator, has issued a public apology to the owners of a licensed gambling establishment for “inappropriate procedures” by agents earlier this month.
Coljuegos Colombia

Coljuegos issued a statement admitting “wrong conduct” by officials at the Casino Dallas in the city of Cartagena. It said the conduct came about during surveillance and control activities carried out in early May.

While not commenting on the specifics of the behaviour, Coljuegos chose to confirm that Casino Dallas is licensed and has full authorisation to offer gambling services. It apologised to the establishment’s owners, Antonio Chaurra Parra and Lucas Betancur Salazar.

“We reiterate our commitment as an entity to prevent this type of inappropriate procedures from being repeated during control activities against illegal operations carried out subsequently,” said Marco Emilio Hincapié, president of Coljuegos.

“We also highlight the important contribution that gambling and gambling entrepreneurs make to the health of Colombians. For this reason, we insist on our commitment to work hand in hand with authorised operators to continue our frontal fight against illegal betting.”

Crackdown on illegal gambling

The incident featuring Casino Dallas coincided with a clampdown on illegal activity at the start of this month. In a statement issued on 2 May, the regulator announced that it had destroyed more than 1,000 pieces of equipment linked to illegal gambling. It also warned that it would continue to destroy elements in other parts of the country in the coming days.

At the time, Hincapié said: “We continue to strike illegality with forceful actions. We are telling those who operate games of luck and chance without a concession contract to comply with the law and contribute to the health of Colombians.

“We are providing all the facilities to those who do want to be legal. On the other hand, we will continue to be implacable with those who insist on operating without authorisation and without providing resources for health.”

Coljuegos estimates that illegal gambling organisations in Colombia are failing to pay the state around $1.5bn annually for exploitation rights.

Last month, Coljuegos extended the deadline for operators to implement responsible gambling (RG) actions to August. Resolution 7,624 of 2024 means that operators with an ongoing concession contract with Coljuegos now have until 1 August to put into effect actions to promote RG in Colombia.

The Colombian congress passed Law 643 in 2001, enacting the Gambling Act as a result.

Colombia became the first LatAm country to regulate igaming with the Egaming Act in 2016. The act also legalised online sports betting.

For operators with a return-to-player (RTP) rate of 83% of stakes, tax stands at 15%. For those with an RTP rate exceeding 83%, meanwhile, tax contribution is 17% of GGR.

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