The State Of Gambling In Latin America

By | 22 April, 2020

Gambling is a major industry in terms of the global economy, but it hasn’t been supported in all areas of the world as of 2020. As you may know, gambling is fully legal in Europe, Australia, and things are looking promising in the USA for sports betting right now too. However, things have been a bit more turbulent in Latin America when it comes to gambling.

When we say gambling here, we are referring to both sports and casino betting. Interestingly, when you look at the figures for gambling, you will see that this is a multi-billion-dollar industry, so you would think that Latin America would be very keen to get in on the act. While we would think that, it hasn’t exactly worked out that way but the future looks promising for those that are looking forward to a more developed online gaming scene. There are already several online gaming sites in Spanish as well as gaming guides both in English, Portuguese and Spanish, making it easy for the Latin American population to find information in their preferred language. By many observers of the online gaming industry, South America, together with South Africa, is considered the most interesting market in terms of growth during the coming years. In this article, we take a look at some of the major countries in Latin America where gambling is already legal, as well as look at those countries who could soon legalize gambling on a larger scale. 

Brazil

While Brazil is the largest country in both size and population in South America, many may be interested to know that gambling has been illegal here since 1946. Gambling in this sense refers to any form of casino and sports betting, and there are some rather hefty fines for those who are caught engaging in this sort of activity. However, that hasn’t stopped some people in Brazil, and there are reports that Brazil has one of the largest illegal gambling industries in the world.

Obviously, these places are all underground and not known by your average citizen, but there is a change happening in this nation. Back in December 2018, a bill was actually passed in Brazil to legalize sports betting, although legislation for this has not yet been put in place. Changes have also been in place for casinos as well, especially given the fact that the government estimates over 500,000 jobs would be created as well as a potential $15 million in annual profits should casinos be launched in Brazil. 

There is a man named Alberto Neto who has already passed through a bill on launching physical casinos in Brazil, although this now needs to pass through the senate before approval. There is plenty of optimism surrounding this, however, so Brazil could be poised to explode onto the gambling scene in the coming months/years.

Argentina

Although Brazil has historically been somewhat hostile towards gambling, Argentina has been the complete opposite. There have been very few laws to prevent any form of gambling in this country, for casinos and sports betting have not been prohibited in any way. The only downside of gambling in Argentina is that you won’t find many sportsbooks at casinos, which is why a lot of residents open up offshore sportsbook accounts which is a little into the gray area when it comes to law.

Buenos Aires is actually the host of a colossal casino called the Casino de Trilenium, which is home to almost 2,000 different casino games, not to mention being incredibly impressive from an architectural point of view.

Uruguay

Uruguay may be one of the smaller countries in South America, but it’s incredibly friendly towards gambling in general. Uruguay actually has one of the oldest casinos on the entire continent, known as the Hotel Sofitel Montevideo Casino, which has been open since 1921. The gambling industry in Uruguay is well over $100 million USD in terms of total revenue in 2020, and there are more than 25 different physical sportsbooks for residents to choose from.

Gambling in Uruguay operates under something referred to as the mixed system, which gives each individual province their own sort of power when it comes to gambling. Many of the games and sports betting markets that you can find in this country are also provided by private businesses, and it seems to be working quite well so far.

Colombia

Colombia has been an extremely troubled nation in the past, and this was true for the gambling industry as well as other areas. There has been a lot of back and forth in this country ranging from illegal gambling rings to licensed providers, but it would seem that in 2020 they are on the right path. With almost 50 million people living there along with around 60% of adults stating that they make bets in some shape or form, this is a prime gambling market. Nowadays, Colombia is second only to Argentina in the number of physical casinos in the country, which shows that they are very friendly towards gambling in 2020.


Follow Sounds and Colours: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Mixcloud / Soundcloud / Bandcamp

Subscribe to the Sounds and Colours Newsletter for regular updates, news and competitions bringing the best of Latin American culture direct to your Inbox.

Share: