The betting and gambling sector is growing stronger in Latin American countries, and Colombia is at the forefront of the story. Even though, in contrast with the other countries in the region, it is not the most populous country, Colombia shows outstanding potential in the iGaming industry. On account of Colombia’s national regulatory body, Coljuegos, the country became the first Latin American market to regulate online gambling, so the Colombian regulatory framework covers numerous gaming categories, including sportsbooks, esports, online casino, poker and more.
In the latest financial report, published by Coljuegos, the country has seen an increase of 9.8% in online licensing and exploitation rights reaching over $37 billion (approx. US$ 12 million). Moreover, as of February, 17 online licensees are currently active in the Colombian market with 1.5 million active and 1.9 million registered players. Out of the 17 online licensees, 10 were officially issued in 2018, which further acknowledges the fact that the country is taking strategic steps towards growth and expansion in the iGaming scenario.
Those operators aspiring to enter the Colombian market have to take into consideration several benefits and challenges that the Colombian market presents.
Factors that predict a good start
Several elements have a substantial impact on the Colombian region and make it a good opportunity for gaming operators to penetrate the region. Firstly, the statistics show that mobile penetration is on the right path – in 2018, the mobile subscriptions in Colombia reached 116%, while on the entire Latam region reached 109%.
The internet penetration is another strong factor with the country boasting strong internet connectivity with 68% of the population being connected to the internet. Last, but not least, is the regional infrastructure that in the past year showed improvement in terms of broadband coverage and adoption. According to a 2017 report from GSMA Intelligence: Mobile broadband coverage in Colombia exceeds 90% for 3G, with 4G coverage expanding rapidly and now reaching nearly two-thirds of the population.
A challenging context for operators
For an operator to enter the Colombian market, he needs to ensure that his technological solutions are conjugated with local knowledge, starting from the cultural aspects and available payment methods in the region to the meet the unique player preferences.
Additionally, while the data shows that 6 out of 10 people in Colombia participate in gaming, just a fifth of the population that counts 49,996,445, owns a credit card. As a result, in Colombia exists a prevalence for making cash-based transactions.
Whilst there is no denying the opportunity that the local market keeps in hold, operators need the assistance of a strong technical partner in order to succeed and adapt advanced technology according to the local player requirements and local market scenarios. This will eventually result not only in the provision of igaming solutions that are fully compliant with the regulatory environment, but ultimately in the best possible player experience.