Colombia’s Gaming Regulator to Control Gambling Ads and Sponsorships

Posted on: October 25, 2023, 06:58h. 

Last updated on: October 25, 2023, 11:54h.

In a move that will give it greater control over the country’s gambling market, Colombia’s gaming regulator, Coljuegos, has secured new powers. It can now wield its influence over policies governing advertising, sponsorships, and commercial communications related to the online gaming sphere.

The Colombian flag waving in the wind
The Colombian flag waving in the wind. Coljuegos, the country’s gaming regulator, is gaining more control over gambling advertising and sponsorships. (Image: Pinterest)

The official document delves into the oversight of marketing strategies for all online operators. It also introduces clauses pertaining to the bidding processes and payments applicable to online players.

Scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024, these new measures hint at a fresh beginning for the Colombian gaming industry’s marketing landscape. Coljuegos hopes the new authority will better define the market.

Coljuegos Receives More Power

The document emphasizes that Coljuegos assumes the pivotal role of monitoring the advertising landscape within the industry. It cites “Law 643 of 2001,” which establishes the framework for the monopoly on games of luck and chance. This law designates the exclusive authority to the State for the complete oversight of all forms of such games.

The upcoming regulations will be applicable to all operators within the Colombian gaming market, provided they hold the essential Coljuegos license, which binds them to comply with the regulatory standards outlined by the entity. These regulations encompass “all forms and content of communication that aims to influence consumer decisions” in the realm of games of chance.

Given the increasing prevalence of advertising across diverse physical and digital platforms, there is a recognized need to intervene in the operational scope of gambling operators. Coljuegos now has written authority to control the amounts, spaces, and methods employed in promoting all online gambling platforms.

The document incorporates overarching guidelines, including the mandatory identification of advertisers in advertising and the prohibition of endorsing illicit practices. It also imposes limitations on marketing expenditure, tying them to the gross gaming revenue (GGR), and other operator-specific variables.

Newly established operators will face restrictions during their initial six months. During this period, they can allocate up to 20% of the projected GGR for each contract year toward promotion and advertising. Furthermore, all companies are required to furnish Coljuegos with a detailed marketing investment plan expressed in monetary terms.

In a bid for transparency and oversight, Coljuegos can request relevant information on a quarterly basis. The regulations extend to sports sponsorships, capping the financial commitments in line with the established limits.

Coljuegos Accused of Corruption

As Coljuegos continues to advance Colombia’s gaming publicity, it’s having to deal with some negative publicity of its own. The Ministry of Finance recently raised an alarm about corruption in the awarding of concession contracts for Games of Luck and Chance (JSA, for its Spanish acronym) operations.

Part of the JSA is carried out in-person in different casinos with slot machines, among other dynamics. This is overseen by Coljuegos, an entity that also collects about COP500 million (US$118,550) from the JSAs.  

The investigations focus on the concessions awarded between 2018 and 2022. In some cases, according to the Ministry of Finance, Coljuegos officials only signed off on the concessions following threats of bodily harm and extortion.

The situation is still so delicate that Coljuegos President Emilio and other senior officials are asking for protection. They want the police to provide security until the situation is resolved, as they are allegedly receiving threats in an attempt to derail the investigation. Hincapié only took over this past summer, making this a not-so-warm welcome.