Gambling in Colombia
There is thriving legalized gambling in Colombia, a country of over 48 million inhabitants, which is promoted by the Colombian authorities themselves through regulatory bodies such as Coljuegos and the National Council of Games of Luck and Chance (known in Colombia as the CNJSA) that are responsible for the regulatory compliance of companies operating within or related to the gambling industry. Moreover, these governmental organs actively promote the growth of the gambling industry in Colombia in accordance with principles of responsible and honest gambling. Currently, the most popular games in Colombia are lotteries and raffles, especially International Games Technology's (IGT) 'Baloto lotto' which itself has been running for 16 years and in which 5 numbers between 1 and 43 are chosen. There is also a super-draw with numbers between 1 to 16 which regularly presents prizes of millions of pesos, the local currency. Colombia has a significant market presence in online sports betting and considerable work is being carried out to secure an increasing market share of the online slot sector and of classic online casino games such as roulette and card games like blackjack. It should be noted that the revenue from legal, organized games of chance in Colombia are then provided to the health service. There are 355 legal gambling operators working within the country, with more than 2,500 establishments in total and over 82,000 authorized electronic slot machines, over 465,000 million pesos in bets placed and more than 83,000 million pesos made available to the nation's Health Fund. Gambling legislation in Columbia is evolving rapidly as the state strives to maintain the speed with which the industry is progressing.
Casino Games in Colombia
The legalized gambling industry in Colombia is in the process of expansion offering a tremendous variety of sports betting, including live betting, online slot machines, roulettes and blackjack games on online gaming platforms. The most poplar online games in Colombia are: RF Big Catch, Draconia, Flamy's Roulette, Game of Chapas, Eastern Dream, The Iron Mask, The Game of Chronos, Troy and Plasma Fusion. Many commentators fully expect a rapid increase in the number of themes and titles available in the not-to-distant future.
In Colombia most games of chance have been legalized, with emphasis given to casino table games such as poker, roulette and blackjack as well as electronic slot machines, bingo, betting on racing, virtual sports, horse races, the Lotus Baloto, Baloto Revancha, Super Astro, Live Sports, online gaming, the lottery, national raffles promotional draws and Chance. These games are only available in authorized legal and licences casinos, bookmakers, gambling halls, specific hotels as well as licensed online casinos and slot providers.
The decentralized company 'Coljuegos' has been responsible for regulating the gaming sector in Colombia since April 2012 as the Industrial and Commercial Company of the State Administrator of Monopoly Revenue of Games of Luck and Chance and is linked to the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, replacing the previous Etesa, Dian and the National Superintendent of Health. Coljuegos has as its object the use, administration, operation and issuing of rules of gambling games and is responsible for the following games: games played at physical locations: casino table games, electronic slot machines, bingo, betting in races and virtual sports, new games including: Baloto/ Baloto Revancha, Super Astro, sports and online games and national raffles and promotional draw. Coljuegos' legal responsibilities and obligations are specified in article 5 of Decree 4142 of 2011.
National Council of Games of Luck and Chance (CNJSA)
Another regulatory organ relevant to games of chance in Colombia is the National Council of Games of Luck and Chance (CNJSA), under the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, whose technical secretariat is exercised by the Vice President of Organizational Development of Coljuegos. The CNJSA is responsible for the approval and issue of regulations of the different modes of games of luck and chance. Furthermore, they are responsible for the following draws and games of chance: Lottery, Chance and Betting on horse races. The CNJSA is itself regulated in accordance with law 643 of 2001 and Decree 4144 of 2011, which modifies article 47 of Law 643 of 2001 and the decree 3034 of 2013.
The requirements needed to operate an establishment in which betting games are held in Colombia are set out and administrated by Coljuegos and the CNJSA. Companies must first be formed before the Chamber of Commerce of Colombia; all license applicants must make submissions to the mayor's office of the municipality in which it wishes to operate outlining the benefits of their proposed business activity which must be favourable to that municipality after which Coljuegos Web page may be consulted as to a full list of detailed requirements to be fulfilled in order to obtain a license.
Development of the Gaming Market in Colombia
Market research shows that the three main motivations for Colombians' participation in games of luck and chance are: to win, seeking success in the competition, to obtain new identities and to get away from the problems. These three motives for playing are seated in the desire to have the power to better control the players' own lives, seeking a sense of accomplishment, self-esteem and stress reduction as well as wishing to win money, change their lives or even share free time socializing with friends and family, as in the case of bingo, for example. Games of luck and chance market in Colombia, promoted by Coljuegos, currently has the objectives of improving transparency within the industry, to make visible not only the winners but also the people who wish to enjoy responsible gaming, to provide tangible benefits of the revenue generated from the industry to, for example, the many public health projects available in the country, as well as providing mechanisms by which compliance is carried out in conjunction with the operators. Furthermore, to increase the potential of the games development sector within the country, seeking to make the territory increasingly attractive to world leading games developers. Moreover, their aim is also to simplify the process of gaming generally and assist players in becoming more familiar with the game as well as eliminating the term 'bet' given its negative tone and replacing it with "play" or "win" and above all improve negative associations within the sphere of gambling.
Studies also reveal that the most popular games in Colombia are Chance, the Baloto, raffles and the lottery in general, while casino games such as bingo, card games and physical slot machines are still being actively promoted and show signs of promise so far as potential for further expansion is concerned; currently holding 15-5% of the total market share, although it is precisely on casino tables and casino slot machines as well as card games, where plays invest more money at any one time. To improve the figures for participation it is vitally important, among other actions, that online gaming platforms have the hallmark of Coljuegos, which provides the consumer with the necessary guarantees and confidence to participate in games and the games providers to extend their product range.
Games Software Developers
The Colombian authorities make considerable efforts to encourage the creation of games software to place the country on the map as a centre for world developers. As a result of this and other pro gaming policies, a number of developers have either sprung up in or been attracted to the region, such as Efecto Studio (formerly Immersion Games), which was the first developer in Colombia, as well as other companies like TeraVision, Brainz and Below The Game. Efecto Studio has in its catalogue products like Ark, Chavo Kart or Monster Madness; Brainz and was the creator of the successful Audio Ninja game. However, these products are mostly prominent in the U.S. and Mexican markets, while online gaming operators authorized in Colombia include Recreativos Franco S.A.U. among others, while Baloto and Baloto Revancha are creations of IGT.