Peru is one of Latin America’s most promising markets. What’s the current state of its gambling market, and what are the country’s regulations like? Keep reading to find out.
The entire iGaming industry has had its eye on the Latin American iGaming market, and Peru is no exception. Like some other countries in the region, the iGaming sector of Peru is going through a transition from gray zone to becoming a regulated market, so heads up! Online casino operators may soon be in for new opportunities for establishing a thriving iGaming business in Peru.
Read till the end to learn more about a country that may soon offer great investment chances.
El milagro Peruano
Peru, the third largest country of Latin America, is situated on the West coast of the continent. In recent years, Peru was on track to becoming one the greatest economies in the region. Free trade deals, privatization reports, foreign investment, and a diverse economy have contributed to a decrease in poverty, low inflation, and stable credit ratings. The progress was only recently undercut by political turmoil and COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic, however, spurred the government to actively solve another problem common for the region — low internet penetration rate. Compared to other LatAm countries, Peru lags far behind in terms of internet availability. With a population of nearly 33.8 million, only 70% of people living in urban areas have access to the internet, while for inhabitants of rural areas it is even lower — only 40%. However, a government project introduced in 2021 is expected to provide internet access to another 3.2 million citizens.
As for Peruvians themselves, gambling is among their favorite pastimes. Among South American nations, the country’s onshore gambling activity is second only to Argentina’s, and a survey from PR firm Sherlock Communications showed that Peruvians are the region’s second-biggest bettors (after Brazil): 18% of the respondents said that they bet several times a week, 16% bet several times a month, and 37% placed bets at least once in their lifetimes. That being said, Peruvians are more likely to bet on sports than play in online casinos. The love for betting flows naturally from the nationwide passion for sports, especially football.
Overview of Peruvian gambling market
The Peruvian gambling market belongs to the big four of gambling giants of LatAm, alongside Argentina, Brazil and Colombia.
Peru has a large, vibrant land-based gambling market. Recent data from the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur, its Spanish acronym) indicates that the country is home to more than 700 gambling rooms, including around 40 casinos, numerous slots, gambling tables, betting shops and bingo halls. The industry was estimated to bring about $1.6 billion per year before the pandemic hit, with casinos, slots and sports betting constituting the largest share of the market. After the outbreak of COVID-19, Peruvian players were left without live sports to bet on or casinos to go to, which, together with increasing internet availability, spurred the rapid growth of iGaming.
Until recently, Peru was considered a gray market, meaning that iGaming is neither prohibited nor regulated. Land-based casino regulations were issued in the 90s and were not amended to include the online sphere until 2015, when the first intention of regulating iGaming business was voiced. The industry may see the finalization of the process before the end of 2023.
We’ll discuss the current situation regarding online gambling regulations in Peru in more detail below.
The land-based gambling market and regulations
The land-based part of the industry has been officially regulated by two decree-laws since 1979.
Casinos are supervised, licensed, and regulated by the General Office of Casino Games and Slot Machines, part of Mincetur. License applicants have to go through a thorough investigation to prevent organized crime or other bad actors from entering the market. Once granted, the license is valid for five years with a possibility of renewal. All casinos are subject to a 12% tax on GGR.
Casinos are permitted to offer roulette, blackjack, punto banca, poker, bingo, and slot machines, among other games. The country also allows its citizens to gamble on websites that are regulated both locally and by foreign companies licensed by international regulators. Most foreign casino operators in Peru are licensed either in Curaçao or Malta. Peruvians thus have a wide range of legal gambling options to choose from.
Land-based sports betting is legal in Peru, but the regulatory framework is not yet operational. Still, there is a vast number of sports betting shops across the country, as Pervuians are famous for their love for sports.
The present and future of online gambling
Despite the love for gaming and betting, Peru doesn’t have comprehensive iGaming regulations yet. While there are several exceptions for foreign operators — Scientific Games and Bettson were officially licensed in 2005 and 2009, respectively — until recently, there has been no specified way to replicate their luck.
However, just like in Brazil and Chile, the country’s authorities acknowledge the financial potential of iGaming and see the advantages of regulating the market; the country is currently in the middle of the legislative process.
As of February 2023, online gambling is officially regulated, but still not operational. The Peruvian Congress almost unanimously passed the bill that legalizes online gaming and sports betting in July 2022. The law was subsequently enacted by the now-ex-president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, in August 2022.
This was a long-awaited measure, as the industry is estimated to bring about $1 billion of missed revenue, according to Mincetur. In turn, this could have brought $41.5 million per year in taxes. This pushed the government to work on regulating the industry in order to direct these resources to the development of tourism and support of the public treasury.
Potential iGaming regulations
The draft has 53 articles ranging from general provisions to specific regulations. Here is an overview of some key points that will shape the final body of law:
- Mincetur will be responsible for licensing and supervising casino and sportsbook operators.
- A tax rate of 12% of net win will be applied to local casino and sportsbook operators and collected on a monthly basis.
- Mincetur will be able to block IP addresses, URLs and applications of operators not authorized by Mincetur.
- The regulations permit only licensed operators to advertise or sponsor sports teams in Peru.
- The initial cost of a gambling licenseis set at 200 UIT ($240,430).
- Minors and people with gambling problems are prohibited from participating in remote gambling. The list of such individuals will be taken from the Registry of Persons Prohibited from Accessing Casino Games and Slot Machines.
- Licenses will be valid for 6 years.
- The application procedure is still not outlined.
Mincetur was given 120 days for issuing implementing regulations, but the authority published draft regulations ahead of the deadline, in November 2022. This allowed for a 21-day window during which it invited criticism and commentary from the operators and other interested parties.
Yet criticism from the industry arrived even earlier, right after the bill was passed in July. Several representatives of leading online operators criticized a crucial loophole in the legislation: an obligation to pay a 12% tax is applied only to Peruvian companies, yet both Peruvian and foreign operators are allowed to apply for a license. Unless the regulations are corrected, this would create severely unfair competition among local and foreign businesses.
Currently, the regulations await amendment. The publication date is hard to estimate due to political turmoil in the country, but the legislation may arrive both surprisingly quickly or be delayed, depending on when elections are held.
Choice of software for online casinos in Peru
There is a variety of payment methods to choose from for integration in online casinos in Peru, but it is important to keep in mind that the payment landscape is quite different from that of Europe or Asia. To keep their players happy, casino operators need to know the specifics not only of the region, but also of the country they choose to operate in.
According to a 2020 report from MasterCard, only 55% of Latin American adults have a bank account and only 19% have a credit card. Therefore, while credit cards (VISA, MasterCard and American Express) are a basic, essential payment option necessary for a comprehensive offer of payment methods, it is twice as important to include bank transfers and cash payments for online casinos in Peru.
For those 55% of Latin Americans, bank transfers will allow players to transfer their money directly from their personal bank accounts to online casino accounts. The rest of the players will benefit from cash payments with PagoEfectivo. During payment, PagoEfectivo generates a payment code that the player then uses to conduct a payment in cash at one of the affiliate financial institutions. The system also allows businesses to sell products in the local currency (Peruvian Sol) and receive their funds in USD.
To facilitate the integration of each payment system and reduce the paperwork generated by signing a separate contract with each vendor, you can use an aggregator to integrate all payment methods at once. For example, our Moneygrator solution combines 250 payment systems for different gambling markets in a single integration session.
One make-or-break element of a casino is its portfolio of game content. The game offering needs to reflect the tastes of the target market while having enough depth and variety that players will never feel like they’re run out of options.
Peruvian players are particularly fond of slots, roulette, and bingo, in both land-based and online casinos.They will place lower bets at a higher frequency. Among the most popular card games are, of course, poker and blackjack, and the live versions of these (e.g. tournaments and live dealer) are becoming extremely popular in the region.
Ensuring that your casino offers the highest quality versions of those games is no easy task. Negotiating with each game developer separately and studying players’ tastes is a complex and time-consuming process, and that’s where game aggregators step in to rescue you. With their help, you can integrate a selection of new and innovative games in a single session.
Popular sports for betting
Online sportsbook operators could do far worse than to choose Peru.
The country has a strong sporting culture, particularly when it comes to football, horse racing and volleyball. Other popular alternatives are basketball and tennis.
Football is an obvious favorite for the whole region and takes up to 90% of bets in Peru. The World Cup, the Champions League, and the Copa America — the South American men’s football championship — are the most anticipated events in the country.
Horse racing is one of the oldest kinds of gambling in Peru. The Hipódromo de Monterrico in Lima operated by the Jockey Club of Peru has been hosting horse racing since 1960. Bets can be placed either at racing facilities, off-track betting parlors, or online.
How can Slotegrator help?
Peru’s gambling industry presents a tempting opportunity for iGaming operators. Gambling is socially acceptable, and even welcomed, and there are audiences for both casino gaming and sports betting. As soon as remote gaming regulations are finalized and approved, iGaming businesses will have everything they need to thrive. Yet casino and sportsbook operators must be quick to stake out their position in this emergent market. This is not the time to learn from trial and error or battle with the challenges of opening an online casino.
To effectively go through all the steps of opening an online casino, many operators turn to one-stop-shop software suppliers like Slotegrator. Cooperating with us can help save time and money, eliminate potential mistakes, and hop on the opportunities of emerging markets such as Peru.
At Slotegrator, we offer turnkey gaming platform development and White Label solutions to speed up the process of launching an online casino. In addition, our legal team is always ready to help operators with complex issues related to the licensing process and the regulations of specific jurisdictions.