When it comes to gambling in Colombia, most forms are completely legal and regulated within the country. However, has this always been the case? Let’s find out more about the country of Colombia and its gambling laws.
Best Colombian casino sites
Gambling online in Colombia
Even though it’s true to say that most forms of gambling in Colombia are considered legal, online gambling was not one of them for a very long time. In almost its entirety, online gambling of any kind was very much outlawed as an illegal activity. The only form of online gambling that the Colombian government legalised were a few online lotteries. Other than these, if anyone was found to be operating an online gambling casino, sportsbook, bingo hall, poker room or anything else, they could be prosecuted with a fine and banned from operating anything (legal or otherwise) for up to five years. Despite this fact, and multiple threats from the head of Coljuegos at the time, Rodrigo Vélez Jara, Colombia still played host to various online gambling operations throughout the country.
This law pertained to operations that were set up within Colombia. However, when it comes to offshore gambling sites, players can please themselves. It’s difficult for a government to control such a sector, considering how many online gambling platforms there are which are based in other countries.
Therefore, locals can play at these sites without the risk of prosecution and always have been able to. While the government would like to be able to prosecute both operators and players, it’s just not possible. Therefore, despite being a minor illegal activity, players are not prosecuted for participating in foreign casino, sportsbook, poker room gambling and more.
Colombian casino games
Online casinos in regulated countries like Colombia have hundreds of real money games available to play. These games range from everything like slots to more advanced games like blackjack, poker and roulette. Read our guides to find out more about specific games:
Colombia online casino deposits
Colombia does have its own currency – the Colombian Peso. However, it’s not so frequent that you’ll find an online casino providing the possibility for depositing and playing in this currency. Therefore, the odds are that if you opt to deposit into an online gambling site, your currency will be converted into US dollars. However, it’s quite standard for players in Colombia to not be in possession of credit or debit cards as such, with real cash money working for them on a higher level. Of course, this is only possible within land-based casinos. So, here are some of the methods that Colombian players can use:
- Credit and Debit Cards: Visa, MasterCard
- eWallets: Skrill, Neteller
- Prepaid Cards: Entropay
- Cash Payment: Baloto
- Crypto: Bitcoin
Gambling history in Colombia
Colombia has had a long and rocky history with gambling, as the same organisations that plagued the nation for years also supervised the gambling activities in the country. This continued on until 2001.
Prior to this, the then-present Colombian government restructured the constitution, although this had very little impact on providing some sort of structure to the gambling sector in the country. Yet, as 2001 rolled around, Law 643 came into effect, providing rules surrounding the operation of slot parlours, bingo halls and casino establishments. While this did see gambling tax revenues shoot up and the law make gambling a success in Colombia, there were still multiple illegal gambling facilities in operation by 2008. It was at this time that then-president Álvaro Uribe chose to allow gambling licences for all facilities.
A fresh regulatory body came into play in 2011, which still exists to this day, known as Coljuegos. While gambling within Colombia has actually been legal since about 1977, it never really had much regulation or structure to it until the newer laws came into effect. Casinos, sportsbooks, bingo halls and more that exist as land-based operations within Colombia, need to acquire a licence from Coljuegos to legally provide their services to Colombian players. However, there are so many gambling establishments in the country that this doesn’t seem to have proven to be an issue for many.
Online Casino & gambling laws
Online casinos and other gambling ventures are a little bit more uncertain in Colombia – or at least, they have been over the years. Coljuegos remains as the regulatory body for this, but it only started issuing licenses to online platforms in June of 2017.
As of the end of December 2017, six different websites were legally operating in Colombia, holding licences from the regulatory body. However, all online operations prior to last year were actually considered illegal, leaving Colombian residents with their only gaming outlet being foreign-based casinos. However, it is now expected that by the end of 2018, the country will have around 20 legal online gambling platforms available to join.
The locally owned gaming operator Aquila Global Group was granted the very first online gambling licence from Coljuegos, which made way for the platform known as Wplay.co. It didn’t take long for a few other companies to claim licences for online operations either, so Colombia’s local online platforms are gaining in size.
Of course, it would be ideal for the Colombian government to stop offshore platforms from being able to target their citizens. However, this is just not a possibility. So, while gambling at offshore casinos is pretty much looked down upon, it’s not something that residents of Colombia can be prosecuted for.
However, with an increasing number of local casinos becoming available online, it seems as though there will be little need for offshore gambling to take place in any case.
Located on the northwest coast of South America, Colombia is a country that is known for several different things. It shares a border with Panama, another two with Venezuela and Brazil on the east, and a third and fourth with Ecuador and Peru to the south. Colombia also incorporates parts of the Amazon rainforest, as well as Caribbean and Pacific coastlines. Furthermore, it exists as one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries, harbouring a large majority of the world’s species of animal and plant life.