Colombia is visited by millions of tourists every year for its diverse landscape, spectacular cities, vibrant art scene, and its rich natural and cultural heritage. The specialty coffee, the music and dances, and the warmth of the locals make Colombia a one-of-a-kind country that has a lot to offer to anyone who chooses it as their next travel destination. But not a lot of people know there’s one more aspect that makes Colombia stand out from the crowd and distinguishes it from other countries in Latin America, and that’s the thriving gambling market that has developed here in recent years.
Gambling has always been a favorite form of entertainment in Colombia, but since the country has had a rather troubled past involving Militia groups and an abundance of corruption scandals, the casino and gambling industry faced lots of challenges, being for a very long period of time dominated by illegal entities. These days, the Colombian gambling scene couldn’t be further away from the struggles and turmoil of the past. Players can now enjoy a wide variety of casino games both online and at land-based casino establishments, knowing they’re engaging in safe and legal activities.
But for those who are not familiar with the local gambling environment, especially the online casino scene, gambling in Colombia can seem like an intricate and hard to decipher territory. And that’s exactly why we’ve created this guide – to give you an insight into the online gambling scene in Colombia and teach you how to navigate it successfully. So, take heed and get your gambling gear ready.
The legal status of online gambling
The first thing every responsible player should inquire about before dipping their toes into the fascinating world of online gambling, is the legality of gambling activities in the local market. You’ll be happy to know that Colombians have the privilege of enjoying a fully regulated online gambling environment, but the road to get here was anything but smooth.
Although gambling was legalized in Colombia in the ‘70s, the industry was controlled by underworld figures for many decades. Apart from that, online gambling wasn’t even in the cards at that moment, so the digital casino landscape was considered to be no man’s land, completely lacking rules and standards until recently.
Law 643a of 2001 marked the first notable attempt to establish a proper legal gambling environment in the country, but unfortunately the results failed to meet expectations. At that stage, brick-and mortar casinos and gambling establishments were under the supervision of ETESA. Due to numerous corruption scandals, ETESA was eventually dissolved and Coljuegos, the current gambling authority in Colombia that oversees both online and offline gambling activities, took its place.
Coljuegos (El Consejo Nacional de Juegos de Suerte y Azar) made significant efforts to steer the gambling industry in the right direction and managed to establish the first fully regulated gambling market in Latin America. With the adoption of the eGaming Act in 2016, online gambling regulations were finally introduced. From that moment on, gambling operators that met the requirements for obtaining a license could provide their services legally in the digital space.
Long story short, if you want to play online casino games in Colombia, there are plenty of online operators that can cater to your gambling needs. The Colombian government has kept an open approach on online gambling, encouraging its citizens to gamble safely and engage in casino games on legal platforms. What’s more, the income gathered from gambling providers goes to the national healthcare system, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Legal online gambling options
Having a fully regulated online gambling environment is definitely a major advantage for Colombian players. Online operators provide a wide variety of legal casino games, so players can choose the gambling options that best suit their needs and preferences. Here’s what the regulated online gambling market in Colombia has to offer:
Interactive games – when it comes to interactive casino games, players are literally spoilt for choice since this category encompasses a wide variety of games, such as table games, slots, craps, arcade and many other fun online gambling activities. Slots are definitely leaders in this category, but if you want to play blackjack online en Colombia, poker, baccarat or any other table games, you’ll have more than enough options.
Lottery and bingo – lottery and bingo have a long history in Colombia and they still have a very large fan base in the country. People are very fond of playing bingo, whether it’s the classic version or more modern takes on the game.
Sports betting – sports betting has always been a popular gambling option for Colombians and it has remained a favourite to this day. Gamblers can bet on sports like football, basketball, rugby, horse racing, dog racing etc.
Live casinos – those who are looking for a more immersive online gambling experience can take part in live casino tournaments, where they can interact live with dealers and other players through a live webcam.
Finding the best online casinos
As you can see, there’s an abundance of online gambling options in Colombia, which gives you the opportunity to choose the operators and games that suit your needs. However, if you’re not sure how to select the best online casinos, these quick tips can point you in the right direction:
- Only gamble at licensed casino websites to make sure you’ll have a safe and pleasant gambling experience
- Check the game range provided by the operator, so you can play your favorite casino games on the same platform
- Read what experts reviewing an online Colombian casino have to say about online operators
- Make sure the casino provider offers several payment methods that allow for quick and easy deposits and withdrawals
- Check out the bonuses and rewards the operator provides, as these can maximize your winning potential
- Choose casino sites that are optimized for mobile use, so you can gamble on the go