Colombian gaming market generates COP500bn for health sector

Colombia's gambling regulator Coljuegos has revealed strong growth for its financial year ended June 30th, contributing COP500.6bn (€142.6m) to support the country's health sector.

This contribution was up 27 per cent versus the prior year period, with the increase aided by the strong performance of newly-launched games such as Baloto and Superastro.

Growth has been aided by Coljuegos' efforts to expand the appeal of regulated lotteries and games of chance, with additional lottery prizes launched and existing prize structures overhauled. New online games have also been rolled out, helping to attract a new audience.

"These adjustments have seen 17 people win the biggest lottery prizes, with 1.5m new customers having a chance to win," Coljuegos president Juan Pérez Hidalgo said.

Over the past year Colombia became the first South American country to regulate iGaming, with a licence awarded to Aquila Global Group, which has since launched under the brand. Coljuegos says that four new licences are to be awarded in the coming months.

The iGaming regulation is also set to see a major crackdown on unlicensed sites. In March, this year the regulator published a blacklist of 325 gaming sites, with access to 80 of these now blocked. The other 245 sites will be properly blocked "in the next few days" according to Coljuegos.

"We have generated protocols with the National Police and the ICT Ministry to block the pages that offer games without being authorized and we are holding meetings with the financial sector to promote the greater acceptance of regulated gaming, through access to payment gateways," Pérez Hidalgo said.

Over the past year 149 raids against illegal gambling premises were also carried out, with a 99 per cent success rate, and 2,897 machines were confiscated.

Of the total of COP500.6bn generated for the country' health sector, COP264.1bn was given to the Fondo de Solidaridad y Garantía (FOSYGA), a trust to fund healthcare in the country.

Pension fund FONPET was given COP118.1bn, with the country's regional healthcare funds awarded COP83.2bn. The Colombian Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation (Colencias) was granted COP25.3bn, and departmental health funds COP9.9bn. 

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