A clampdown on illegal operations by Colombian regulator Coljuegos in advance of the start of the FIFA World Cup involved raids on 19 locations in the city of Barranquilla. As a result 110 games of chance and sports betting were removed from 27 ‘modules of online games’.

The President of Coljuegos, Juan B. Pérez Hidalgo, said: “On the doorstep of starting one of the most important sporting events, the Russia 2018 World Cup, together with the authorities, we managed to execute the most important operation against the illegal operation of online games. In Barranquilla we removed 27 game modules that operated from illegal pages, which evaded the annual payment for exploitation rights of an estimated value of more than $10bn.”

To date Coljuegos has eradicated a total of 158 illegal game modules worth more than $54bn, alongside 1,427 unregulated slot machines and four roulettes that between them had evaded circa $4.1m in fees.

The president added: “Only the legal pages guarantee users the payment of prizes, the proper and safe handling of their personal and financial information and the control of the game habit with the implementation of individual limits. That is why, taking into account Colombia is a country highly demanding sports, mainly football, during the Football World Cup Russia 2018, we call on citizens to avoid being cheated and go if they want to place bets, to the legal pages.”

Finally Hidalgo asked Colombians to denounce illegal gaming operations in order to guarantee greater revenues for the country’s health sector. “The resources collected by Coljuegos, for exploitation rights of the monopoly of games of chance, are transferred to the health system, allowing the subsidised service to be used by close to one million two hundred thousand people,” he noted.