Gambling insiders know that Latin America is a hot target for online operations. The region is experiencing substantial growth, and Colombia is among the top countries leading the way.
By 2025, gross gaming revenue for Latin America’s overall sports betting market is going to be triple what it was in 2020, according to analysts. Argentina, Chile and Peru are among the countries that are helping shape the market.
However, driving the market to new levels are primarily just three countries – Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. As Brazil still can’t figure out how it wants to address online sports betting, Colombia is willing to take the lead.
Colombia Gambling On The Rise
Online sports betting platforms have been gaining more and more weight in Colombia’s gambling industry. They now contribute 29% of the resources that the gambling sector provides to the government. This is according to the Colombian Federation of Gambling Entrepreneurs (Fecoljuegos, for its Spanish acronym).
Data from gaming regulator Coljuegos show that, in the first half of 2022, the sales figures for the gambling sector amounted to $77.92 million. This is an increase of 104% compared to the same period in 2021, when the figure was $3.716 million. Of this amount, online betting contributed 32% of the total.
The platform that ranks at the top of online sports betting is BetPlay. It reportedly controls over 50% of the market share with its 4.3 million users.
Five years ago, BetPlay was the second operator to receive a license to launch its sports betting platform in Colombia. It’s competing against 16 other companies that Coljuegos has licensed. However, with its sponsorship of professional soccer in the country, it has captured a large piece of the market.
Another big name within the sports betting ecosystem is Betsson. It recently stated that, since January, its active user base has grown by 1,900%.
However, according to data from Coljuegos, Fecoljuegos and other sources, it still only controls a small 0.36% of the market. After BetPlay, WPlay is next, with 14.55%, and Codere follows with 11.79%.
Coljuegos figures show that, in 2017, there were only 264,000 online sports bettors. A year later, this jumped to 1.6 million, representing an increase of 542%. Four years later, this past April, six million people were using online sports betting platforms.
Growth Means More Taxes
For the first half of 2022, sports betting companies reported revenues of $20.5 million. There is no indication that the market is going to slow down, despite Colombia taking a closer look at online gaming operations and taxes.
In their present form, the tax reforms are not receiving a lot of support. Colombia’s new president, Gustavo Petro, introduced sweeping tax changes during his first week in office, but the country is resisting his plans.
There are concerns that, instead of helping the economy, Petro’s actions might have the opposite effect. They could lead to more capital flight, according to former President Álvaro Uribe.
In addition, the reforms include a plan to add a tax to certain online raffles and lotteries, which is in addition to the 18% they currently pay to Coljuegos. All of the changes have resulted in widespread protests across the country.
Congress has yet to vote on the tax reforms and government officials have already agreed to make some modifications after meeting with representatives of political parties. However, Petro, through political affiliations and party connections, controls Congress. Therefore, he might not back down from his planned changes.