Colombia’s Gaming Regulator Focuses on Slot Machines in Latest Initiative

Posted on: December 12, 2023, 08:17h. 

Last updated on: December 15, 2023, 10:24h.

Colombia’s gaming regulator, Coljuegos, has unveiled plans to address unauthorized slot machines. The initiative follows a tumultuous year for Coljuegos, which has gone through three presidents since January.

Slots inside a bar in Colombia
Slots inside a bar in Colombia. Coljuegos, the country’s gaming regulator, is implementing reforms to eliminate unlicensed slots nationwide. (Image: Flickr)

The regulator, aiming to curb potential revenue losses, estimates that as many as 50K unauthorized slot machines may operate across the country, costing Colombia approximately COP945 billion (US$238.14 million). This figure represents one-third of the entire legal gaming market.

One key plan aspect involves mandatory registration for all slot operators, excluding licensed casinos. Under the proposed regulations, these operators would be limited to a maximum of 80 slots, with the specific number contingent upon the size of the venue.

The regulator is also considering the introduction of limits on the amount of prizes offered by these slots, aiming to standardize and regulate the industry further. Additionally, new rules governing the supply of slot technology in the country, aimed at enhancing oversight and ensuring compliance, are on the table.

Limited Time for Feedback

Coljuegos has opened the floor for industry feedback on these proposed measures, but the window for commentary is limited. Stakeholders and industry players have until this Thursday to provide their insights and perspectives on the potential changes.

After receiving and analyzing the feedback, the regulator will begin rolling out the updated rules, laying out new financial obligations, and publishing information on approved venues. That list will include only new entities, meaning none that don’t already work with Coljuegos.

Recent Resignations

The crackdown on unauthorized slot operations aligns with Coljuegos’ commitment to improving the integrity of the gaming industry in Colombia. It’s also the latest attempt by the regulator to prove itself. It has dealt with several issues this year, including corruption claims, that have chipped away at its image.

Part of the issue has also been the revolving door at the organization’s top. The year started with Roger Carrillo Ocampo serving as Coljuegos’ president, but he left after publicly criticizing the government.

Upon his resignation in May, Sammy Libos Zuñiga stepped in. At the time, he served as the Deputy Director of Fiscal Policy of Colombia’s Ministry of Finance and Public Credit. While it was revealed at the time that Zuñiga was entering only on an interim basis, there was a chance that the economist would also be given a permanent position.

That changed in July when Marco Emilio Hincapié Ramírez, a lawyer and the former GM of the Bogotá Lottery, became the third president of the year upon his appointment by Colombia President Gustavo Petro. Hincapié is also the fourth president to serve since the entity was founded in 2012.