Finance

Colombia collects COP2.8tn in gaming taxes since 2015

2 minutes read
Results published by Colombian regulator Coljuegos show that the government has collected over COP2.8tn (£559.8m/€621.2m/$723.4m) in gaming taxes since 2015.

When broken down, the figures show a contribution of COP668bn from the industry in 2019, up 76% from the COP380bn collected in 2015.

Despite a significant negative impact caused by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, particularly for its land-based sector, the nation has collected COP254bn as of September 2020.

Land-based gaming venues were forced to close in March in response to the pandemic, however local governments are now authorised to permit the reopening of venues in accordance with Covid-safe guidelines. Casinos in Bogotá, Medellín and Floridablanca have all been allowed to reopen.

Colombia’s gaming industry has undergone significant modernisation in recent years, having legalised and regulated online gambling in 2017. Since then, Coljuegos has seen the number of regulated games grow from 35 to 1,408.

Coljuegos president Juan B. Pérez Hidalgo stressed the economic significance of the sector. He pointed out that the gaming industry generates over 100,000 jobs; occupies more than 20,000 commercial premises where rents are paid, and contributes over a trillion Pesos in exploitation rights, of which more than COP668bn come from sales tax.

He went on to explain how the economic reactivation of the sector was taking place based on three approaches: the reopening of land-based gaming with enhanced safety protocols; financial relief, tariff reductions and interest-free payment agreements for operators; and the expansion of online gaming with additions such as live casino and remote player bingo.

According to Coljuegos, 347 concession contracts with the regulator are currently active, with 2,737 establishments, 84,462 slot machines, 14,860 seats in 80 bingo halls and 428 casino tables in operation.

Pérez Hidalgo stated that following its reopening, the sector has had a faster recovery than many other sectors of the economy. He also looked forward to the rest of the year, explaining: “In the month of October, we are aware that the Super Astro game will break sales record and Baloto Revancha recorded the highest prize pool in history, with COP58bn.”

The regulator has continued working to remove illegal operators from the sector, with blocking orders reported for 4,296 websites. Illegal operations have also been removed from the land-based sector.

“From 2016 to October 2020, a total of 1,141 control actions have been carried out that have allowed the withdrawal of 12,382 gambling elements that operated games of luck and chance illegally,” Pérez Hidalgo added.

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