Gambling has been legal in Uruguay since 1819 when the government approved a national lottery, and since then there have been notable improvements
A regulatory framework for online casinos has not yet been devised. The local government has been banning offshore sites offering online gambling products to its market. In fact, the National Federation of Uruguayan Gaming has been calling for such a framework to be implemented. They point towards player safety and lost revenues to be the primary issues.
Gambling in Uruguay
Gambling is not a newly established practice in Uruguay. In fact, the first lottery took place in 1819. This led to the establishment of the National Directorate of Lotteries and Pools (DNLQ) in 1856, after which the first regulations came into law in 1882. This has led to the creation of state and privately-owned casinos. In contrast to online gambling, offline gambling is fully regulated and overseen by the government and the General Directorate of Casinos (DGC).
Online gambling has yet to be regulated in Uruguay but a couple of incidents give an insight into the situation. In 2002, the National Lottery Network was permitted to provide online services such as lottery tickets and sports lottery, whilst the National Maronas Race Track also received a license to accept online bets. La Banca de Quinielas de Montevideo was allowed to offer remote sports betting in 2005, which is when Supermatch came to be the only online casino brand in Uruguay. The license was issued by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
On the banning of offshore sites, there has been a non-stop banning campaign since at least 2005 with hundreds of websites being banned every year. This has given Supermatch a massive advantage, to the point that they signed a partnership deal with the NBA in 2018 – the first Latin-American country to achieve this.
Interestingly, the land-based casinos company Enjoy Club created an online ‘casino’ but made it so that the games would be free and offer no prizes. Essentially a marketing technique to encourage people to visit their brick and mortar outlets.
There is no formal licensing process for online casinos in Uruguay, in spite of there being pressure from stakeholders for this to change. As far as existing licenses go, apart from Supermatch via La Banca, only land-based casinos have access to licensing.
Uruguay doesn’t even collect tax on winnings from offshore sites since they passed a law to prohibit offshore gambling platforms from targeting Uruguayans and all ISPs in the country are tasked with blocking access to such sites. Offshore licensed betting companies are also barred from sponsoring clubs and sports events in the country. Sportsbetting is the only type of legal online betting.
Malta Week – Save the dates:
For the first time ever SiGMA Group is bringing its 4 leading shows together for the mother of all conferences. From the 16th to 19th November, SiGMA, alongside AGS and AIBC will bring the best in the business to a first-class meeting point. Join us for the 7th edition of SiGMA at the MFCC – Malta Fairs Conventions Centre, and explore how you can benefit from being a delegate, a sponsor, an exhibitor, or a keynote speaker.