The state of the game in Latin America
Latin America has been a major tourist destination for years. However, recent years have seen an increase in the number of people visiting the region to explore unique cultures, undiscovered areas and the best beaches in the world. In 2018 alone, Latin America earned around $500 billion in tourism revenue. But what many people don’t know is that the region is also an incredible destination for the game, with Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Peru leading the way.
According to research, the online gambling market will be worth $2 billion in 2019. That’s more than three times more than Southeast Asia, which is also experiencing a significant boom in the industry. Experts predict that Latin America will be the next big gaming center worldwide. Online gambling in South America accounts for approximately 4% of global gambling revenue.
The growth can be attributed to:
Ease of marketing: since people, except Brazil, speak the same language.
Access to smartphones by the younger generation
That is why major sports betting companies are shifting their focus and attention to the region. The growth of the online casino industry in Latin America is a reflection of the industry as a whole. The accessibility, convenience and diversity of games on offer mean the industry will continue to grow across the continent.
According to one publication, the top Latin American countries with the biggest fans of online casino games include Argentina, Colombia, and Chile. Colombia is the first country on the continent to introduce European-style online gambling laws at the national level.
Is online gambling legal in Latin America?
The region boasts a rich gaming history, with players participating in a variety of gaming activities across the continent. But like many different countries, Latin America has outdated gambling laws, which were mostly enacted during the colonial era. Again, since the continent has several countries and cultures, the rules are more varied.
In the era of online gambling, which has expanded the scope of the industry and spread beyond land-based casinos, these old legislations have become even murkier. Latin Americans have access to smartphones and the Internet, therefore full-time access to sports betting, casino games and even bingo, despite local laws restricting such activities.
Many Latin American governments are stepping up their efforts to legalize gambling to regulate and tax the industry. Some countries like Uruguay and Argentina are at the forefront of the movement to adopt common sense gambling laws, to address the consequences of illegal gambling and also boost the local economy. However, others like Ecuador and Bolivia still cling to laws written about a century ago, mainly for religious reasons. Countries like Brazil sit more in the middle, as their progressive lawmakers try to update the law while conservatives struggle to stick to the old rules.
Regardless of the rules, millennials in South American countries prefer online gaming experiences compared to going to a land-based casino. And projections show that this trend will continue to increase even in the coming years.