The Colombian gaming industry continues to raise the bar for success

Posted: April 27, 2022, 5:58 a.m.

Last update on: April 27, 2022, 05:58h.

The gambling industry in Colombia is proving to be one of the most successful industries in the country, as well as in Latin America. Sector revenues continue to rise, creating more employment opportunities than any other.

Cesar Augusto Valencia Galiano, president of Coljuegos
Cesar Augusto Valencia Galiano, president of Coljuegos, in front of the office of the Colombian gaming regulator. The Colombian gaming industry continues to experience new successes in the land-based and online segments. (Picture: Diario Liberty)

Colombia has been at the forefront of the gambling industry in Latin America, showing other countries what is possible through a legal and regulated market. His success has become something of a benchmark in the region and he continues to not disappoint.

Coljuegos, the Colombian regulator, provided an update on the state of gambling in the country. He said that for the first quarter of 2022, domestic game gross sales increased by 54% compared to the same period last year. This segment reached 3.78 million dollars, a figure that shows a good start to the year.

In March, the gaming industry contributed $44.6 million for Coljuegos, as well as another $70.1 million for the Colombian health system. This represents an overall increase of 17% over the same period last year and a 4% improvement over the budgeted amount. Additionally, the gaming industry is responsible for creating 2,800 new jobs.

Gambling in Colombia booming

Localized games, where casinos and bingo are located, saw first-quarter 2022 sales of $2.284 million, while the iGaming sector added $1.41 million. The success of the latter was mainly driven by sports betting, virtual slot machines, live casino and virtual roulette.

Similarly, the game SUPER Astro, a type of lottery designed around the 12 signs of the zodiac, had cumulative sales in the first quarter of 2022 of $40.7 million. Baloto Revancha, an online lottery product, achieved sales of $3.8 million during the same period.

In the case of territorial games, such as localized lotteries and “Raspa and Listo” (scratch and win), sales for the first quarter of 2022 reached $208.7 million. This represents a growth of 22.6% compared to the same period of 2021. Of this total, lotteries contributed $183 million and Raspa y Listo added $26.5 million.

Raspa y Listo, a lottery product with immediate prize discount, entered the market in November 2021 and has already exceeded sales forecasts by 193%. Due to its success and that of other products, contributions to the national health system through territorial games in the first three months of the year amounted to $30.2 million.

Gambling leads to job creation

So far this year, the gaming industry has helped boost the economy with new jobs, according to the National Administrative Department of Statistics. At the same time, turnover rates are very close to pre-pandemic levels.

Generally speaking, the entertainment industry is currently one of the biggest job generators in the country. It has already created 139,000 new jobs; of these, 2,800 are in the gaming sector.

Many of these jobs are subject to the end of COVID-19 restrictions. Currently, Colombia has more than 2,700 casinos and entertainment venues that have resumed work at full capacity, allowing for greater labor demand.

Employment is improving, but there is still work to be done. Colombia’s unemployment rate is 14.9%, better than the 17.5% recorded in January last year. Still, it remains above 2020’s 13%.

Help is on the way

Colombia is easing some of its COVID-19 restrictions, which should improve the employment situation. President Iván Duque announced on Monday that from May 1, the presentation of COVID-19 vaccination cards and the use of face masks will no longer be mandatory in many commercial establishments.

The list covers casinos and other gaming facilities; however, there is a caveat. Some properties without the proper ventilation systems in place will need to apply the mask rule. The Ministry of Health will give more details this week.

Inbound travelers from abroad over the age of 18 must be vaccinated against COVID-19. Those who do not will need to present a negative PCR test result from less than 72 hours prior to arrival. Alternatively, they may produce a negative antigen test result that is less than 48 hours old.

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