South America comprises a dozen independent countries that combine for a total population of around 500 million. By population, the top nations include Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Chile. Gambling laws in South America depend on local or provincial jurisdictions. Most countries operate in a legal “grey area”, while offshore casinos, such as casinos in New Zealand , are a second choice for land-based operators.
Colombia became one of the first nations on the continent to legalize online gambling at the federal level in 2016. (Although Peru began issuing licenses for online casinos in 2008.)
In February 2022, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies voted 246-202 to legalize online and offline gambling. The legislation allows for licensing at the federal and state levels while blocking unlicensed foreign operators. Peru began preparing its legislation in 2022 to regulate online gambling and sports betting. The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism expects to generate more than $40 million in tax revenue per year from the possible reform. These measures seek to collect taxes from gambling companies that operate in tax havens.
The current situation of online gambling in South America
Much of the region’s online gambling comes from offshore methods. It’s hard to put specific numbers on it. However, the popularity of online gambling in the region stems from a variety of games, convenience, and affordability. Mobile gaming allows players to place bets on their favorite games from anywhere. Widespread access to smartphones coupled with a stable internet connection creates an environment for natural growth.
Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism pegged its $42.5 million in potential tax revenue from an estimated $1.1 billion in bets placed online in 2020. Despite lockdowns and mass cancellations in the world of sports, online casinos thrived.
Analysts continue to forecast worldwide growth for the online gambling market. Gambling in Latin America may become the world’s leading market for online gambling. In Argentina, a country with about 45 million inhabitants, legal online gambling depends on the jurisdiction. The province of Buenos Aires (the capital of the country) legalized online gambling in April 2019.
Bolivia’s gaming authority also introduced an amendment to Law 060 in 2020 to update the country’s stance on online gambling. The executive director of the authority said that the amendment could help boost the economy with jobs and income during the pandemic. In Colombia, the popularity of online gambling is focused on games such as video slots, roulette, blackjack, bingo and poker. 2022 continues to be a pivotal year for the new online casino industry in South America.
Key factors driving industry growth
One of the main factors driving the online gambling industry in South America comes from demand. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses while lockdowns transformed economies. The loss of taxable income created a perfect environment to consider an industry like online gambling. With the legalization of sports betting accelerating in the US, large companies began to invest in those markets.
A change in gaming policies in South America comes from a new leadership. In the wake of the pandemic, discussing the regulation of online casinos has become unavoidable. Attracting investment makes legalizing online gambling a no-brainer. As the industry becomes more mainstream, it generates more daily players. (Peru boasted 150,000 online bets per day in 2020.)
Most of the sites allow deposits in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. These transactions allow players to keep their winnings in a currency outside of the banking system.
The main attraction
Online gambling sites also offer special bonuses to attract new customers. The global growth opportunities for the industry far outweigh any staunch concerns. By creating an appropriate regulatory framework, taxable income flows into the national economy.
Online gambling continues unstoppable around the world. Land-based casinos in South America can cause some obstacles. The continent’s progressive leap towards full-blown legalization continues to grow. Budget deficits have political leaders seeking tax revenue to help recover from a multi-year pandemic. The huge offshore online casino industry should be balanced with local regulations.
Maintaining the flow of money in the internal coffers offers many economic benefits. Be on the lookout for big changes coming to the booming South American online casino industry.