Colombia’s Gambling Industry Continues to Thrive Amid Increased Revenue

Posted on: November 29, 2022, 12:44h. 

Last updated on: November 29, 2022, 12:58h.

Colombia is home to one of the stronger gambling markets in Latin America, and continues to find greater success. The latest numbers from the country’s gaming regulator, Coljuegos, reveal significant improvements.

Aerial image of Bogotá and the Torres del Parque
Aerial image of Bogotá, Colombia, and the Torres del Parque. The South American country continues to see strong results for its gambling industry. (Image: Getty Images)

After the peak identified in the first quarter, the third quarter of the year also recorded favorable results. Over the first 10 months of the year, the sector demonstrated its resilience in the face of the adversities of the Colombian economy.

Between January and October 2022, gross gaming revenue (GGR) rose 52% to COP54.5 billion (US$11.31 million). At the same time, operators paid more, providing a 21% increase with their COP608.17 million (US$124.7 million).

Colombia Gambling on the Rise

Of the total, localized games, such as lotteries and slots, registered COP32.8 billion (US$6.8 million) between January and October of this year. This represents growth of 46% compared to the same period last year. In addition, iGaming reported GGR in that time frame of COP21 billion (US$4.36 million), an increase of 66%.

There should be more growth coming before the end of the year as well. Following this year’s trend, and adding events like the World Cup, will likely increase the overall gambling revenue for Colombia to close out 2022.

The positive results are providing the government with much-needed revenue. Most of the money goes to the country’s health program, and the figure registered across the first 10 months of the year already exceeds the amount recorded for all of last year.

In the first 10 months of the year, Coljuegos transferred COP676.43 billion (US$140.42 million) to the country’s health system. This translates into a 29% increase from 2021, which closed at COP520.39 billion (US$106.7 million).

Upending the Illegal Gambling Market

Colombia has become more proactive in stopping illegal gambling, and the efforts are paying off. The latest results show what happens when underground operations come to a stop, and police across the country aren’t going to let up.

In the northern department of Atlántico, local police, through ongoing investigations, captured three people conducting illegal gambling last week. Two women and one man were allegedly marketing wagers for keno and online sports betting, despite not having a license.

The police uncovered the activities by carrying out spot checks in different sectors of the municipality of Sabanalarga. This is similar to other checks taking place across the country, with police paying more attention to business registrations and controls than before. One of their biggest targets is illegal sports betting operations.

These controls are helping prevent economic losses to the country. Some studies have estimated that Colombia loses as much as COP800 million (US$166,080) a month. The comptroller general of the country estimates a worse scenario, putting the figure close to COP1 billion (US$207,600) a month. It alleges that as much as 40% of sports betting activity is taking place illegally.