Latin America Gambling Laws in 2015

5 October 2015

Operators who want to start an online casino in Latin America have a lot of opportunities for development in a multitude of jurisdictions with a stable gaming regulatory regime. More than that, there are various options for companies who want to open a land-based gambling establishment or even an internet café gaming venue. Latin America gaming


Operators looking to start an online casino in Argentina should know that the internet gaming industry in this Latin American country is fully legalized since 2002. At this point in time, there are more than 80 licensed online casinos running under gambling licenses obtained in Argentina, with casino-style games, bingo and regional favorite games.

Argentina is home to the largest gambling industry in Latin America, offering a wide range of options for gaming enthusiasts: land-based and online casinos, dog racing, horse racing, bingo, lottery and more, plus a thriving football betting industry. Argentina residents spend no less than $5 billion each year on gaming entertainment. Even so, with all these available options, many Argentines prefer to place bets at offshore casino websites.

If you want to obtain a license here, you should know that there are different rules in every one of Argentina’s 23 provinces, which means that you will have to do some research depending on the exact location of your upcoming gaming business. The regulatory body that governs and issues online gambling licenses in Argentina is the Asociación de Loterías, Quinielas y Casinos Estatales de Argentina. Even so, in Buenos Aires, the local government announced that it will start taking responsibility for all gambling activities from 2016.


Mexico has strict regulations for operators looking to start a casino business, regulations which have not changed much since 1947, when the gambling regulatory rules which govern until today were imposed. At this point in time, operators who want to start an online casino in Mexico cannot obtain a license from the local regulatory body, since online gambling laws have not yet been submitted. Politicians are currently working on developing a new regulatory system, which could be ready by December 2015.

In the new gambling law, a new clause that would legalize online gaming in Mexico is set to appear, and would be dedicated to operators who would base their servers in Mexico. The Latin American country is currently losing significant revenue from the fact that players use foreign gambling sites instead of getting the chance to play at Mexican online casinos. There are many offshore websites that offer services to Mexican residents, with services translated in Spanish.

On the other hand, Mexico is home to a diverse and thriving land-based gaming industry, some of the most popular betting activities including horse racing, dog racing, sports betting, dice and lottery. The gambling market in Mexico also offers video-style and casino-style games, but only in special venues.  


The gambling law in Chile does not allow operators to start an online casino in the country, but the government does not ban players from accessing offshore gaming websites. This is why the majority of online gaming enthusiasts from Chile search for casino games on foreign gambling sites. On the other hand, the land-based gaming industry in the country is supervised and controlled by the Superintendencia de Casinos de Juego, which also issues gambling licenses.

The Chile gaming law states that there are five categories of games which are authorized for operation: roulette, card games, dice, bingo and slot machines. There are 16 authorized land-based casinos which run with a Chile gambling license, and the number of licenses per region is limited. The tax rate on online gambling operations is 20% on gross gaming revenue, deductible from the value added tax and the provisional monthly payment.

Besides the traditional casino-style games, Chileans enjoy state lotteries, sports betting and especially horse racing. Despite the fact that no online casinos run in Chile, the gambling industry in the country is expected to rise to $765 million by the end of 2015, with a growth rate of almost 20% since 2011.


Since several years ago, the gambling industry in Peru has been regulated, with no less than 50 casinos operating in the country. The first online casino license in Peru was issued in 2008, and, since then, many operators who wanted to start an online casino obtained licenses in the Latin-American country. Players can also access offshore gaming sites without any restrictions.

There are two ways to open an online casino in Peru: offshore, which means that the casino will be operated from a company which is not based in Peru and with a server from abroad, or onshore, when the entire operation takes place in Peru, including the location of the company. The Peruvian regulatory system states that operators who run their business onshore will have to pay a tax of 30% on net gaming revenue, while those who perform offshore operations have to pay a 30% tax on gross gaming revenue.

The Peruvian land-based gaming industry includes casino-style games, lottery, bingo, horse racing and sports betting. Slots are some of the most appreciated games in the region, land-based casinos in the region being home to no less than 70,000 slot machines.


The land-based and online gambling system has been developed with a more relaxed approach, both options being legal. The government body that issues licenses and controls the gambling industry in Panama is the Junta de Control de Juegos.

The best thing about a Panama gambling license is the fact that the government does not ask for any income taxes for online gambling operations, since Panama solely taxes income from local sources. Even so, online transactions must be made only with users from outside Panama. In order to receive a Panama gambling license, operators looking to start an online casino will have to pay a license fee of $40,000, and an annual fee of $20,000. The license is valid for seven years. Residents of Panama can also place bets at foreign online gaming sites, so everybody wins when it comes to online gambling in this country.

Panama also offers a multitude of land-based gaming options, including casinos, bingo halls, poker rooms and sports betting. The national lottery is also popular in Panama.

Costa Rica

Latin America map Operators who are looking to start an online casino in Costa Rica should know that the Latin-American country has a tolerant and relaxed gambling regulatory regime, which welcomes more than 400 gambling companies that operate under their “data processing license”.

Costa Rica does not offer the traditional gambling license, and there is no actual legislation that allows or bans online gambling. The cost for a Costa-Rican gambling license is much lower than the costs required in many other jurisdictions: approximately $15,000 for obtaining the license, and up to $1500 that need to be paid every three months for running the casino. Even so, the government issues licenses solely to companies who offer internet gaming services to individuals who are not residents of Costa Rica.

Operators who start an online casino in Costa Rica can take advantage of a wide range of benefits, including the affordable initial costs and fees, and the fact that they can reach customers from different parts around the world. More than that, operators of all nationalities can apply for a gambling license, and the issuing time is relatively short. Costa Rica also houses land-based casinos, which are very popular among tourists, plus lottery and sports gambling activities.


Brazil gaming laws are not very tolerant when it comes to land-based casinos and online gambling. Neither gambling establishments, nor casino websites are allowed in Brazil. The majority of gaming enthusiasts in the country choose to place bets at offshore casinos.

Even so, operators who want to start an online casino might want to keep an eye on the upcoming gaming regulatory changes in Brazil. The economic slowdown in the country could lead to a change in the gambling regulatory regime, due to the fact that casino entertainment would generate significant revenue for the government budget from the collection of gambling taxes. The proposal is said to even legalize online casinos, so that residents would be encouraged to play at gaming sites regulated in Brazil, rather than at foreign websites.


Internet gambling in Colombia is not regulated at this point in time, but the government has not yet taken any measures to prevent players from accessing foreign gambling websites. The country is also home to more than 20 legal casinos, open to both locals and tourists. Lottery is also an important part of the gaming industry in Colombia, along with horse racing and greyhound racing.


Despite having a thriving gambling industry until 2011, casino operators from Ecuador had to shut down their businesses in 2010, when the then-elected President decided to ban all land-based casinos and other gambling venues. The Panama government does not issue any land-based or online gambling licenses. At this point in time, players from Ecuador try their luck at foreign online gambling sites.

Dominican Republic

The land-based gaming industry is the Dominican Republic is regulated under the supervision and control of the Direccion de Casinos y Juegos de Azar. Land-based casinos in this region are very popular among tourists, the industry generating significant revenue for the state coffers. Residents are also allowed to place bets at more than 60 local casinos. Sports betting is very popular in the Dominican Republic, and the local lottery attracts many gaming enthusiasts. When it comes to internet operations, entrepreneurs who want to start an online casino in the Dominican Republic can apply for a license here, but, up to now, only one license has been granted.

5 October 2015

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