LatAm in March: Codere Online, Puerto Rico, and Brazil

Brazil Sao Paolo bridge and cityscape
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2023 welcomed important changes in the betting industry across Latin America. Led by nine new licenses in Puerto Rico and new details about the proposed gambling rules in Brazil, last month was full of developments throughout the region. SBC Americas analyzes the most relevant news from the North of Mexico to the South of Argentina, this time from March 2023.

Codere Online presents its new CEO

The multinational operator Codere Online, which has a strong presence in multiple Latin American countries, promoted Aviv Sher to CEO, after Moshe Edree’s departure on March 1. Sher, as the former COO of Codere Online, expects to accelerate the growth rate of the company, aiming to be profitable by 2024. Although no appointment has been made yet about the new COO, Codere Online said that Edree will continue to be part of the company but as Executive VP of the Board.

Roger José Carrillo, Coljuegos’ new President

The Colombian gambling authority Coljuegos reported an 18% increase in total revenues in 2022. To celebrate the growth, it finally appointed a new President, Roger José Carrillo Campo. The executive brings extensive experience in finance and politics from his career in the public sector. After more than two months without a leader, Coljuegos is now preparing to welcome a new year of financial records and transparency in the industry, which will continue to make Colombia a leading market in the region.

Puerto Rico welcomes nine sports betting companies

After a two-year period and temporary operations, the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission granted sports betting provider licenses to Kambi, United Tote Company, and Global Tote US. Sports Content Co and ASF LTD received data provider licenses, while BetMGM is now in possession of an internet betting platform provider license. CHPR Hospitality (Casino Metro, which operates MetroBets with Caesars) and Condado Hotel Services Group, Inc & Condado Duo La Concha Casino (Casino del Mar, which operates jointly with BetMGM) obtained licenses as regular operators.

Online casinos get no attention from Brazilian lawmakers

The proposed sports betting regulations in Brazil would only include betting on sports results, leaving online casinos out of the picture. At the beginning of March, sources from the Ministry of Finance revealed that the final text only includes betting on sports results. However, this wouldn’t be the end of the road for online casinos, as the segment would eventually be discussed by Congress. By the end of the month, Brazil was still discussing different topics around the proposed rules, with no clear timeline for launching the market.

Chile excludes gambling operators from the tax regime

The gaming and betting platforms that are operating in Chile, especially as sponsors of soccer teams, have been excluded from the simplified tax regime. As established by the Internal Revenue Service (SII), companies that don’t have a local address and carry out illegal activities, such as gambling, are not eligible to join the tax regime. As there is still no legislative framework for these companies, which operate in a gray market, the SII decision established betting as illegal.

Brazilian lotteries fight for sports betting permits

The pressure to approve a sports betting regulation in Brazil is increasing, and the Brazilian Federation of Lottery Companies (Febralot) publicly declared its intention to be part of the industry. The federation urged the government to include in the regulations a clause that would allow lottery agencies to offer sports betting services. The President of Febralot, Jodismar Amaro, said: “As soon as the provisional measure is shared, we’re going to start a project so we can participate and lottery shops can be included, as they [want] to offer this type of service.”

Mexico says no to new casino licenses

The casino industry in Mexico has been under pressure for several years, starting in 2018 when Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) became President and decided to pause all licenses indefinitely. Now, after five years, he confirmed that the country won’t issue new licenses in 2023. According to AMLO, the permits that have been issued during his presidency will also be revoked. It is worth mentioning that in order to operate online, operators need to partner with a land-based casino. This, however, doesn’t mean that operators can’t partner with existing license holders.

Panama’s electronic lottery receives criticism

Panama’s Lotería Nacional de Beneficencia (LNB) received criticism for its electronic lottery as the initiative was rejected by on-site vendors. As a result, the LNB could soon go through a series of reforms. The decision falls on the National Assembly, which is set to discuss all the possibilities to make the electronic lottery happen, in an environment favorable for all parties involved.

Gambling corruption strikes the Dominican Republic

Gambling was a synonym for headache in March in the Dominican Republic, as the former Finance Minister Donald Guerrero was arrested over corruption charges related to gambling activity. The case made the headlines after Guerrero was accused of leading a “non-governmental structure” through which illegal taxes were collected from lottery, sports betting and gambling operators under the threat of being shut down. The trial is still ongoing and it includes 20 high-ranking officials.