This month in iGaming: March 2022
The dominos keep falling in Latam and more doors could be opening in India.
Latin America keeps heating up
Latin giants like Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico have drawn plenty of attention recently with their moves to regulate the iGaming industry. Other countries in the neighborhood have seen how well it’s going for them.
Currently a popular gray-market destination with no regulations or taxes for online gambling, Peru could soon see the introduction of both. The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, which also operates the General Directory of Slots and Casinos recently shared a long-awaited draft law with the president’s cabinet of ministers for consideration.
Robert Sanchez, head of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, said in a statement about the new legislation that the government could potentially collect an estimated $40 million in tax revenues.
He also stated that part of the aim of the bill was to keep money from flowing out of the country. As a textbook gray market, Peru has no laws explicitly prohibiting online gambling, so Curacao- and Malta-based brands are easily able to offer their services in the country.
The proposed tax rate would be 12%, with a further 1% point of consumption tax to be levied on players.
Peru’s southern neighbor is not to be left behind.
Chile’s Chamber of Deputies has introduced a piece of legislation that would regulate the country’s online market.
Operators would pay an annual licensing fee of $70,000, a GGR tax of 20%, a 2% tax to governing organizations for sports, and a 1% tax to responsible gambling initiatives. The bill would also create the Superintendence for Casinos, Betting, and Games of Chance, which would be responsible for adopting regulations.
The licensing process would focus on objective criteria, authorities say, instead of state monopolies or a tendering process. As for what products are on the table it’s all of them — operators can offer any gambling activity except for the lottery, which will remain a state monopoly.
Clearly, the governments of both countries have been keeping an eye on Colombia, the first nation in the region to establish a full regulatory framework for online gambling, and decided that the time to wait and see is over.
The Argentinean province of Chubut has become the latest to offer legal online gambling. Like several other of the country’s provinces, licenses will be available to land-based license holders. Other provinces, like Buenos Aires, have licensing systems for operators who are purely online.
Coming clarity in India?
The regulatory landscape in India is famously tough to navigate, with laws varying from state to state. However, this month, several of them have indicated a desire to clear things up.
A year ago, authorities in the state of Rajasthan moved to make online gambling totally illegal, introducing legislation that included punishments for both players and operators.
Now, however, the state seems to have made a complete about-face.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced this month that the government intended to regulate online skill gaming with stakes instead of banning it.
Similarly, the government of the state of Maharashtra has announced its intention to regulate online gambling. Proposed regulation includes a 25% gaming tax and mentions that violations of some parts of the law could result in seven to ten years of imprisonment and fines of over INR 1 million ($13,100).
Between Rajasthan and Maharashtra, an estimated 200 million Indians could be about to have access to legal online gaming. Betting on sports — real, virtual, fantasy, and esports — is massively popular throughout the country, as are card games like poker and rummy.
Karnataka may also be heading for a turnaround, but in this case, it’s in the opposite direction. Last month, the government’s ban on online gambling was struck down by the state’s Supreme Court. Now, the state government is taking its case to the federal level, asking the Indian Supreme Court to rule on the matter.
This comes in the wake of a series of court rulings around the country that seem to indicate impending liberalization. This case, however, would be different; whereas as previous decisions were made at the state level, a federal decision would potentially affect every state in the country. Authorities in Karnataka will argue that it is within the government’s rights to ban activities for the sake of public health and public order, and that the constitutional right to commercial activity was wrongly applied in the previous ruling.
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