Overview of the key LatAm regulated markets

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Throughout 2023, the focus of the iGaming industry discussion will be on emerging markets, with several new opportunities arising in the Latin American market.

For years now, the Latin American market has been the coveted prize for gambling companies. If the regulations are favorable, it seems like every company has their sights set on this region. With each country legalizing gambling and reaping the tax benefits, operators, affiliates, and suppliers from all over the world have been vying for a share of the market.

Latin America holds great promise for the iGaming industry, with markets that have already regulated online casinos and sportsbooks experiencing steady growth, while countries with favorable regulations in the works are anticipating remarkable growth in the near future.

The regulatory landscape for online gambling varies across the continent. Some countries, like Ecuador and Brazil, currently prohibit all forms of gambling, including online gambling, except for state lotteries. In other countries, while it is not officially regulated, it is not actively prohibited either.

Currently, the continent’s regulatory environment is a mix of complete restrictions, near-oblivious permissiveness, and efforts to regulate as quickly as possible – if not already in place.

Szilaghi Consulting has 18 years’ experience in consulting for customers all over the world seeking to establish a presence in online betting and sports betting in the US.

We can help you obtain your LatAm Gambling License, please Contact us today.

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Szilaghi Consulting delves into the regulations in each country, examining what is currently legal and what is not. So, continue reading for a summary of these factors.


Gambling Legal: Yes

Like the US, Argentina regulates its gambling industry at the state level, leaving it up to individual jurisdictions to determine their own rules regarding gambling restrictions. Argentina, the second-largest economy in Latin America with a population of almost 45 million, allows operators to offer their services only to residents of their province. In provinces where gambling is regulated, operators can offer almost all types of gambling.

Argentina’s online gaming and betting industry generates approximately $2.4 billion in annual revenues. To recover from the 2020 crisis, the government announced that the federal tax on online gambling would increase from 2% to 5%. This tax is separate from provincial and city taxes; operators in Buenos Aires province are taxed 25% of their gross gaming revenue, while in Buenos Aires city, the tax is 10% on GGR.

The country also regulates gambling advertising, prohibiting advertisements targeting or featuring minors and those that are deceitful or misleading. Only authorized operators may advertise their services in the country.

At the beginning of 2021, the regulatory authority for the province of Buenos Aires, IPLyC, launched its licensing program and partnered with domestic companies and foreign operators such as William Hill, Bet365, and 888 Holdings.


Gambling Legal: Yes

Although gambling is legal in Brazil, the market is mostly unregulated. However, efforts to regulate the industry are currently underway and are expected to pass soon.

Brazil, the largest and most populous country in Latin America, is often referred to as a “sleeping giant” that is long overdue to awaken. While most forms of gambling are prohibited, a special commission was formed in 2016 to develop regulations for the sports betting sector. Gambling legislation was eventually passed in 2018, but implementation was delayed. However, Bolsonaro recently announced his intention to sign the regulation.

Caixa, a monopolist, operates lotteries, and jockey clubs continue to offer offline horserace betting. When the new betting regulations come into effect, Brazil will have the largest land-based and online sports betting market in South America. With over 200 million people, of whom an estimated 63% have access to mobile technology, and a national passion for sports, particularly football, Brazil is a desirable market for sportsbook operators seeking to expand into South America.

The entire iGaming industry is closely monitoring developments in Brazil, and for good reason. Within five years of becoming regulated, the country’s sports betting market is projected to be worth over $1 billion.


Gambling Legal: Yes

While online gambling is not technically legal, there is no prosecution of individuals who engage in it. On the other hand, land-based betting is completely legal.


Gambling Legal: Yes/No

In Chile, gambling is legal, but online casinos are currently illegal, although players are not prosecuted for participating in them. However, upcoming rule changes may legalize all forms of gambling in the country and regulate them at the same time.

In March 2022, the Ministry of Finance introduced a bill to regulate online gambling, which would permit licensed land-based casinos to offer online services, including casino gaming and sports betting. The main goal is to increase tax revenues and ensure the safety of players.

Currently, sports betting is a state monopoly, but the new legislation is expected to allow an unlimited number of licenses. Potential operators will need to pay the national casino gaming authority an annual fee of $70,000 and taxes of 20% on gross gaming revenue (GGR). If the bill passes, Chile will join the growing list of Latin American markets opening up to operators.


Gambling Legal: Yes

Online gambling companies can legally operate in Colombia, but only if they obtain a local license. Colombia is a large market in Latin America, with a population of over 50 million, the fourth largest economy on the continent, and a mobile penetration rate of approximately 56%. With a well-known national enthusiasm for football, Colombia offers an enormous opportunity for online gambling businesses, particularly online sportsbooks.

In 2016, Colombia became the first country in Latin America to regulate online gambling, and the gaming and betting market has grown steadily since licenses were issued in 2017. With the online sector being regulated, nearly all forms of gambling, both land-based and online, are now legal in the country, with the exception of online horse-race betting. Only Coljuegos, the country’s regulatory body, and private operations with government concessions may operate trackside betting.

As the industry continues to grow, it is producing impressive statistics. In 2021, the estimated GGR of the Colombian gambling market reached almost $300 million, and state revenue increased by 18% in 2022 compared to 2021, amounting to $175 million.

Costa Rica

Gambling Legal: Undefined

Although Costa Rica’s gaming law prohibits games where chance determines the outcome and strictly speaking, gambling is not approved, the government has adopted an unspoken approval of the practice.

Costa Rica is considered an attractive location for various international industries due to its economic and political stability, including the online gambling sector.

While Costa Rican law prohibits gambling companies from offering services to Costa Rican citizens, they are permitted to establish themselves in the country if they adhere to the country’s regulations.

This tolerance of gambling enterprises, coupled with the absence of a tax on internet gambling revenues, has made Costa Rica a hub for the online casino industry, with an estimated 450 iGaming-related companies operating in the country.

Dominican Republic

Gambling Legal: Yes

The Dominican Republic has decided to establish a new regulatory body and implement gambling tax reforms, which were announced in 2022. The new directorate will consist of both public and private sector experts, though the changes are yet to be put in place.

The casino industry in the Dominican Republic has grown in parallel with the tourism industry since the latter half of the twentieth century, with the government seeking to diversify the country’s economy. In the 1960s and 1970s, gambling was legalized, and tax incentives were provided for private companies investing in tourism, including casinos.

The Dominican Republic regulates all forms of gambling except for fantasy and virtual sports betting, which are neither specifically permitted nor prohibited. Online gambling licenses carry a cost of approximately $230,000, and operators must also pay an additional $23,000 in administrative fees.

Gambling operators in the Dominican Republic are subject to a 10% turnover tax, as well as being required to pay a tariff of RD$1 for each RD$100 processed to the National Directorate of Casinos and Games of Chance. They must also invest an additional RD$2 for each RD$100 processed in providing technological equipment to the directorate. Operators are also obliged to withhold 25% of players’ winnings and direct the funds to the national treasury.


Gambling Legal: No

In 2011, Ecuador issued an Executive Decree that led to the complete ban of all forms of gambling in the country, which remains in place to this day. This ban included the closure of land-based casinos and bingo halls in 2012. While online gambling is also prohibited, foreign gambling websites are allowed to operate in Ecuador.

Despite the ban, a group called the Association of Former Casino Workers of Ecuador has called for the reversal of the prohibition, citing lost revenue as citizens travel to neighboring countries to gamble. However, no legislation has been proposed to re-regulate the industry.


Gambling Legal: Yes

Although gambling is legal in Guyana, the online gambling industry in the country is largely unregulated.

Guyana’s Gambling Prevention Act prohibits most forms of gambling, except for lotteries and pool betting. In 2007, the government legalized casino gaming in an effort to boost the tourism industry, but only two casinos have been established, and only guests of the hotels where the casinos are located are allowed to gamble.

There are no specific laws in Guyana that prohibit online gambling. The Gambling Prevention Act only applies to gambling in physical establishments, not online gambling. However, in 2013, the government revoked licenses for remote gambling companies operating in the country.


Gambling Legal: Yes

Mexico, with a population of over 120 million and a mobile penetration rate of approximately 60%, is a promising market for both new and established online casino and sportsbook operators. Although almost all forms of gambling in Mexico are regulated, land-based card rooms are not, while fantasy sports are permitted but not explicitly regulated.

Mexicans enjoy various games of chance, with football betting being particularly popular. The main law governing gambling in Mexico is the Federal Gaming and Raffles Law, which was enacted in 1947 and fully regulated in 2004. In 2021, new guidelines were published to regulate advertising, bonuses, and player loyalty policies for operators.

Online casino and sportsbook operators in Mexico only require authorization and a partnership with a land-based license holder. However, the country could benefit from a more relaxed regulatory environment and an increase in the number of licenses issued by the Directorate General of Games and Raffles.


Gambling Legal: Yes

With the exception of horse racing, fantasy sports, and virtual product betting, Nicaragua regulates all forms of gambling, both online and land-based. The Control Board of Casinos and Gaming Venues and the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit share regulatory oversight. Although the industry was legalized in 2001, it has remained largely undeveloped.


Gambling Legal: Yes

Panama has comprehensive regulation of almost all types of gambling, including online gambling that requires local licensing. Operators can offer a broad range of casino games, sports betting, and auto race betting, but are prohibited from offering certain products such as lottery games and betting on horse races, political elections, or other events as determined by the regulator.

To obtain a license, applicants must comply with all rules and regulations, have a legal representative in Panama, undergo a background check, and establish their business in the country. Licenses cost around $49,900 and online gambling is taxed 10% of Gross Gaming Revenue. The Gaming Control Board regulates gambling in Panama.

In September 2020, regulatory changes were announced allowing licensed online gambling services to be offered to Panamanian citizens through up to five “.pa” domains. The move has made Panama one of the few Latin American countries with a fully licensed online gambling market. The regulator expects to license between 10 and 15 operators.


Gambling Legal: Yes

Paraguay has legalized almost all forms of gambling, except for a few specific products. The country’s single licensed sports betting operator generates around $4 million in tax revenue annually. In 2016, the government introduced a bill aimed at modernizing the country’s gambling legislation, particularly about online gambling. In 2017, the local regulator, Conajzar, conducted a five-year sports betting tender. In 2022, Paraguay announced its decision to repeat this process.


Gambling Legal: Yes

Peru has comprehensive regulation for all forms of gambling except for fantasy sports. However, online gambling remains inactive. In August 2022, President Terrones signed a new regulation that appoints the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru as the official regulator for online gambling and sports betting.


Gambling Legal: Yes

Peru has comprehensive regulation for all forms of gambling except for fantasy sports. However, online gambling remains inactive. In August 2022, President Terrones signed a new regulation that appoints the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru as the official regulator for online gambling and sports betting.


Gambling Legal: Yes – the two casinos accept cryptocurrency as payment.

Currently, the only form of legal gambling in Venezuela can be found in casinos that accept cryptocurrency. Traditional casinos and bingo halls were prohibited in 2011. In 2019, the government authorized the establishment of a cryptocurrency casino as a way to promote the value of the Petro cryptocurrency.

CountryRetail Sports BettingOnline Sports BettingRegulated Sports BettingCasinoRegulated Online CasinoRegulated Land-Based CasinoLottery
ArgentinaYes YesYes  Yes No YesYes 
Brazil YesYes No  Yes No No Yes
BoliviaYes  YesNo Yes No Yes Yes
Chile Yes YesNo Yes  No Yes Yes
ColombiaYes Yes No Yes Yes  Yes Yes
Costa RicaYes  YesYes Yes No  No Yes
Dominican Yes Yes YesYes Yes Yes  Yes
EcuadorNo No  NoNo No NoYes 
GuyanaYes  YesNo Yes  NoYes  Yes
Mexico YesYes  NoYes No Yes  Yes
Nicaragua Yes Yes YesYes Yes  YesYes 
PanamaYes  Yes YesYes Yes  Yes Yes
ParaguayYes Yes Yes  YesNo  Yes Yes
Peru Yes YesYes YesYes  Yes Yes
UruguayYes Yes Yes Yes No  Yes Yes
Venezuela No NoNo  Yes No Yes Yes

How can Szilaghi Consulting help you start your online gambling business?

Szilaghi Consulting can provide valuable assistance for those looking to start an online casino or sportsbook. Establishing and running such an enterprise can be challenging, and without expert guidance, operators may struggle to succeed. Our jurisdictional advisory services are designed to help operators choose the most suitable market and business structure for their needs and navigate the process of acquiring a license.

Szilaghi Consulting has been providing services to the online and offline gambling industry for over 19 years. We have helped our clients to make the right choices, realize their visions, overcome obstacles, and, above all, to succeed. We offer transparency and efficiency and we commit to always act only in your interest.

Our experience in obtaining online and offline gambling licenses differentiates us from the competition. Szilaghi Consulting can assist, from incorporating the company, creating fiscal and compliance structures, to obtaining the gambling license.

Our consultants invite you to schedule a consultation with us. We like to communicate with our customers, troubleshoot their problems, and offer solutions. We invite you to contact us today to discuss this with one of our agents. Let us help you take your business to the next level.

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