Published: April 22, 2020

Gambling activities to be resumed in Colombia with some restrictions

Last week, the Colombian government decided to end the shutdown put in place to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and allow gambling businesses to resume operations, but not without some specific restrictions. Moreover, under the “Decreto 576 de 2020” order, operators will be given leniency in relation to the payment of obligations and the importation of used machines, as long as they are certified, will also be allowed.

Pursuant to section 2 of the Decreto 576 order, gambling operators must join efforts with industry regulators and health authorities to adopt measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the development of raffles, the reactivation of sales at betting shops and the reopening of gambling venues. Such facilities shall have to abide by the social distancing and capacity limit measures that are put in place by the Ministry of Health and the Colombian gambling authority.

In this way, gambling operations are slowly resuming in Colombia and facilities will be reopened once the specific restrictions and limitations are outlined by the health are gambling authorities of the country.

Under Decreto 576 and in an attempt to enhance the flow of resources for the health sector, the allocation and transfer of funds derived from gambling businesses will take place the month after the collection of such funds, from May to December 31, 2020.

Moreover, as part of a series of actions to guarantee the sustainability of operators and upon the operator’s request, the government is encouraging especial payment arraignments in each license agreement.

During 2020 and 2021, the administrative gambling authorities will be allowed to use the resources derived from unclaimed prizes, specifically the 25% of that amount that currently goes to anti-illegal gambling efforts, to “guarantee the fulfillment of contractual obligations”, as well as other control, transfer, and collection duties, and for the development of new games.

Moreover, as part of the authorities’ efforts to help operators tackle the difficulties derived from the shutdown, the contractual year, which included the months between March and December 2020, will not be taken into account in the fulfillment of some specific gross income and minimum income tax obligations.

Lastly, it is worth noting that from the moment the order becomes effective and for a year, slot machine manufacturers and their representatives and distributors in Colombia, or licensed operators that purchase such machines directly from their manufacturers, will be allowed to import used goods as long as those models are lab-certified in accordance with the technical requirements imposed by gambling authority Coljuegos.

© Public Gaming Research Institute. All rights reserved.