Coljuegos, the Federal Gambling Authority of Colombia, has published plans for a ‘regulatory project’ to overhaul the rules on owning and operating electronic slot machines (ESMs).
The regulator plans to initiate the project in 2024, a move deemed critical as Coljuegos seeks to terminate the ‘illegal economy’ of unauthorised ESMs operating across Colombia’s 32 federal territories.
The project is accompanied by a ‘public comment period’ open until 14 December, to allow industry stakeholders and interested parties to submit feedback on initial proposals.
According to Coljuegos, the project aims to promote “territorial development with the replacement of illegal economies with legal ones, considering the productive capacities of intervened areas.”
The market size of illegal ESMs is estimated to be worth up to COP 945bn (€220m), accounting for approximately 34% of the total ESM marketplace.
Coljuegos estimates that there are 50,000 illegal machines operating across Colombian territories, causing a significant loss of income to the state.
The project’s initial requirements call for all venues operating ESMs to certify their business status with Coljuegos. This requirement is essential as Coljuegos will implement new criteria for land-based venues to operate ESMs based on legality, the principle of opportunity, and the promotion of peace.
“It is imperative that companies wishing to collaborate with Coljuegos comply with this condition to guarantee equity and trust in the selection procedures,” the authority emphasised.
Once the process is advanced, Coljuegos will publish the schedule, procedures, and other financial requirements for those businesses wishing to operate licensed ESMs.
The regulator has initially proposed to limit the number of machines to 80 per operator, with the exact number dependent on the size of the venue and the population of the local area. The project also outlines the tender’s duration, certification for gaming machines, prize limits, and the identification of technology suppliers.
From 1 January 2024, Coljuegos becomes the central monitor of gambling advertising, Colombian operators will undertake significant regulatory changes.
Licensed operators will abide by a new ‘tiered system’ of advertising, whereby the more revenue an operator contributes to the state in taxes, the greater allowance they will be granted to spend on marketing campaigns.