Published | Updated 12 April, 2024

The state of Latin America: Where are the key regulated markets?

The Latin American market has been the next big thing for gambling companies for years now; it's a place that every company seemingly has one eye cast towards, so long as the regulations are favourable.

the state of latin america 1

As each country has opened up to legalising gambling and the millions that it brings in terms of tax revenue, operators, affiliates and suppliers from around the world have clamoured to get a piece of the market.

Currently, the continent is made up of a complete mixture of regulations, some parts are wholly restrictive, others are permissive to a near-oblivious level and the rest are working to regulate as fast as possible – if they haven’t already.

Here, Gambling Insider explores the regulations found in each country and what is and isn’t currently legal.

Argentina

Gambling Legal: Yes

Argentina, much like the US, regulates all of its gambling on a state-by-state basis – leaving it to the individual jurisdictions to decide what kind of rules to set when it comes to gambling restrictions.

Brazil

Gambling Legal: Yes

While gambling is legal in Brazil, the market is near-universally unregulated. However, attempts to regulate gambling are now being pushed forward and are expected to pass in July 2024.

Bolivia

Gambling Legal: Yes

Although online gambling is technically illegal, the state doesn’t prosecute those that do it – while land-based betting is entirely legal.

Chile

Gambling Legal: Yes/No

While gambling in Chile is legal, online casinos remain illegal – though players are not prosecuted for doing so – but, there are several rule changes that could be coming soon that will legalise all forms of gambling in the country and regulate it simultaneously.

Colombia

Gambling Legal: Yes

Colombia has legal betting, so long as the companies that enter Colombia’s betting market have a local licence.

Costa Rica

Gambling Legal: Undefined

The Costa Rican Government have an ‘unspoken approval’ of gambling in the country, though the practice is not strictly approved – since it is included under the country’s gaming law.

Ecuador

Gambling Legal: No

Ecuador completely closed off all gambling in 2011, and the industry has remained banned ever since the Executive Decree was ordered. However, foreign websites are allowed.

Guyana

Gambling Legal: Yes

While gambling is legal in Guyana, much of the country’s online gambling remains unregulated.

Mexico

Gambling Legal: Yes

Nicaragua

Gambling Legal: Yes

Panama

Gambling Legal: Yes

Paraguay

Gambling Legal: Yes

Peru

Gambling Legal: Yes

Uruguay

Gambling Legal: Yes

Venezuela

Gambling Legal: Yes – the two casinos accept cryptocurrency as payment.

Right now, the only legal gambling found in Venezuela is in casinos that also accept cryptocurrency.

 

Country Retail Sports Betting Online Sports Betting Regulated Sports Betting Casino Regulated Online Casino Regulated Land-Based Casino Lottery
Argentina Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Brazil Yes Yes No (expected July '24) Yes No No Yes
Bolivia Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes
Chile Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes
Colombia Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Costa Rica Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes
Ecuador No No No No No No Yes
Guyana Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes
Mexico Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes
Nicaragua Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Panama Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Paraguay Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Peru Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Uruguay Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Venezuela No No No Yes No Yes Yes

 

FAQ’S

How can you tell licensed operators from unlicensed ones?

The answer here is you have to do research into the operator. Of course, it is an added chore to do when a player wants to get down and play, but being in the regulated market is always safer than not. Many countries in LatAm won’t prosecute players for gambling with black market operators, meaning that those operators exist freely – and usually without adequate player protection in place. Therefore, the word here is ‘caution.’

Is regulated sports betting coming in Brazil? 

Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva signed the bill for a provision sports betting launch in July 2023. Since trhen, the bill has been under development and approvals from governement bodies, with regulated sports betting set to come to Brazil in July 2024. 

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