Gambling in Uruguay
Gambling in Uruguay is legal. The development of gambling in the country did not encounter either religious or political oposition. A regulated gambling market has been operating on the territory of the state for more than a hundred years. It presents all types of gambling services, casino table games, slots, betting and lotteries. Online gambling laws do not provide legal status to online gambling is legal in the Uruguay in respect of online casinos but are not expressly banned leaving them to operate in a so-called 'grey market'. The country with a population of 3.4 million people supports the development of the gambling business in conjunction with tourism. In Uruguay, most casinos are parts of hotel complexes with a developed infrastructure. There are also separate rooms with slot machines. The annual income of the state from hotels with casinos for 2015 amounted to 212.7 million USD, 36.5 million USD of which was thanks to slot machines.
Gambling Games in Uruguay
Playing in online casinos in Uruguay was not banned until recently. However, the online gambling market was not regulated. Today there is no legislative and legal basis for the creation of national gambling websites. Nevertheless, the government did not forbid the local population to play on Internet portals of foreign operators for a long time. The national language of Uruguay is Spanish, therefore, most international online casinos offer an interface with this language. On July 26, 2017, the government of Uruguay announced that it was developing draft laws restricting the access of citizens to online casinos of foreign operators. Such measures are necessary to increase the attendance of ground-based gambling institutions.
Slots in Demand
Various models of slot machines are offered in land-based and online casinos of Uruguay. Novomatic, IGT, Bally, WMS and many other developers are successful here. Among online slots, Uruguayans choose modern five-reel slot machines lots of bonus features: Aliens (NetEnt), Cash Stampede (NextGen), Germinator (Microgaming), Aztec Treasures (Betsoft) and Iron Man (Playtech). Slot machines with digital table games are also in demand - video poker, roulette, scratch cards and many others.
Most of the gambling games are allowed on the territory of Uruguay. They include: sports betting and sweepstake, slots, lotteries, roulette, card games, dice and online table games. These entertainments are freely provided in tourist areas within hotel-casinos, gambling halls and poker rooms. Games like lotto and bingo are also allowed. These types of table games are not considered gambling and are classified as social and charity. As a rule, bingo is organised by the church and charity organisations. Gambling regulators and laws that regulate gambling Only by the authorities of Uruguay have right to provide gambling services in the country. However, the management bodies (in particular, the Ministry of Finance) can provide private individuals with a concession permit for organising gambling business. Permits are issued in accordance with the list of legislative acts:
- Act № 9630 was adopted on December 22, 1936. It allows organising gambling in the city of Rivera for the purpose of developing tourism.
- Act № 9994 was adopted on December 26, 1940. It allows opening gambling institutions in Villa del Rio Branco.
- Act № 13931 was adopted on November 30, 1970. It defines six additional gambling and tourist zones in Uruguay where private companies can open casinos.
- Act № 14335 was adopted on January 2, 1975. It describes how private entrepreneurs can obtain a concession agreement for the provision of gambling services and what is the role of local authorities in managing casinos.
In addition to the described laws, Uruguay has a number of additional acts governing the provision of a number of gambling services or the organisation of gambling business. They are:
- Act №14841 defines the list of gambling games and limits payouts
- Act №15716 establishes a state monopoly for holding lotteries and allows private companies to organise lotteries on state grants
- Act №17006 regulates placing bets on horse racing which take place at the National Hippodrome Maroñas
- Act №17166 defines other forms of competitions and drawings that are conducted by natural persons and require a separate permit from representatives of the Ministry of Finance
Laws about the provision of online gambling services do not exist to this day. Acts prohibiting online gambling have not been developed as well.
The right to organise gambling in the territory of Uruguay is given to private companies. In order for the Ministry of Finance to approve the petitioner and issue a concession, the enterprise must meet a number of requirements:
- The applicant must have a starting capital for organising gambling activities (including the construction of a building and the creation of a tourist infrastructure)
- A company wishing to act as an operator should have money to purchase a concession agreement
- Organisers of the gambling business must invest in the development of tourism and the economy of Uruguay
To date, there are seventeen casino hotels in gambling and tourist zones in Uruguay. They offer a wide range of gambling entertainment which include: Poker, Baccarat, Blackjack, Roulette, Craps andSlot machines, video poker and digital table games.
Developerment of the Gambling Market in Uruguay
There is no own production of technical solutions and digital games for land-based casinos on the territory of Uruguay. All equipment found in gambling halls is imported. Companies that have concluded a concession agreement with the state are in charge of the purchase and transportation of equipment for gambling institutions. Prospects for development of gambling business in the country Experts in the sphere of gambling forecast the growth in demand of gambling in Uruguay and increase in annual incomes received from land-based casinos. So, in 2016 gross income from casinos increased by 6.5% compared to the previous financial year. The revenue from slot machines increased by 9.5%. Given the difficult situation in the gambling business in the Latin American market, the demand of gambling and tourist zones of Uruguay will only grow. It is likely that in the near future the government of Uruguay will develop draft laws governing online gambling. This segment of the gambling market can increase revenue from the whole sphere with the right approach. However, to date, the legalisation of online casinos in Uruguay remains a secondary issue. The government cannot determine exactly how the benefits of online gambling can be applied in the tourism industry. The gambling business in Uruguay is one of the main engines of the economy. Today gambling is allowed in six tourist zones and two major cities of the country. There are 17 casinos in hotel complexes on the territory of the state. Online casinos are not regulated by law. As a consequence, there are no prohibitions on visiting foreign gambling portals.