LatAm recap: Brazil, match fixing and online regulations

Hand with Euros in front of soccer game
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May 2023 was a month full of activity for the Latin American industry. Although the developments in the Brazilian market were expected, the details of the provisional measure that is set to regulate the sports betting industry marked a milestone for the local market. Peru took a big step by modifying its betting and iGaming regulations, while Televisa in Mexico detailed its plans to separate the gaming business to go public, and Colombia made changes in Coljuegos. In the latest LatAm recap, SBC Americas selected the most important news of May 2023:

Brazil shares details of provisional measure

After years of waiting, the government confirmed that it was reviewing the final details of the provisional measure, which only lacked President Lula da Silva’s signature. This document states that the Ministry of Finance will be the entity in charge of granting, allowing or authorizing the licenses and the commercial advertising proposals of the selected operators. It also established the taxes to be collected from the operators and how they will be redistributed between the national health fund and the Ministry of Tourism, among others.

Peru levels the field between local and international operators

The Peruvian Congress approved modifications to the iGaming and sports betting regulations, which include the implementation of a 12% tax for international companies looking to offer their services in the country. In addition, it increased the price of the licenses from $265k to $797k and created a domain registry with different options for players to identify the legal offerings from the illegal ones. This decision follows one from April where it was established that anonymous bets will not be allowed, since they prevent the country from fighting problem gambling and money laundering.

Rio grants Brazil’s first sports betting license

Rio de Janeiro’s state lottery (Loterj) granted Rede Loto a sports betting license. The operator became the first one in Brazil to obtain a five-year authorization after paying over $1 million. The São Paulo-based company also had to pass compliance, technical and legal requirements to access the permit. Despite the country not having a regulatory framework to operate sports betting services, Loterj welcomed companies interested in operating in Rio to register on its website and go through the same process.

Televisa interested in separating its betting business

The Mexican media giant Grupo Televisa approved the separation of its gaming, lottery and soccer businesses to create a new entity that will be listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV). Although it’s still uncertain if Televisa will sell the division in the future, it has confirmed that the businesses include gaming, lotteries, soccer, the Azteca stadium, media, publishing, and magazine distribution. Within the gaming and betting business, Televisa owns PlayCity Casino, while the sports category includes the Club América team from Liga MX.

The Colombian government changes Coljuegos’ president

The Colombian authorities demanded the resignation of former President of Coljuegos Roger Castillo for political reasons. As a result, the regulator welcomed Sammy Libos Zúñiga as an interim President, waiting to assign someone permanently. According to the local press, the Secretary General of the political movement Colombia Humana, Marco Emilio Hincapié, would be the one chosen by President Gustavo Petro, since the executive is part of its party.

Ecuador is after a new gambling tax

The Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso unveiled a new project before the National Assembly in order to introduce a new tax on sports betting. Not only does it add a 15% tax, but it also requires players to pay a similar tax when placing a bet and their winnings are also subject to an extra 15%. The legislative branch needs to share its opinion on the topic this month before it becomes law.

Can Cirsa become a public company?

The New York management company Blackstone is reportedly interested in making Cirsa public. Acquired by the US fund in 2018, the multinational company has been subject to different rumors in regards to a potential IPO. While Blackstone hasn’t confirmed the details, at the beginning of May it invited investment banks to present proposals for the potential sale of shares and refinancing of the debt.

Colombia, a new victim of match-fixing

The most developed country in LatAm in terms of gambling regulation is no stranger to match fixing problems. This has become clear after the head coach of second division team Boca Juniors Cali, Alejandro Guerrero Narváez exposed a scheme that has reportedly started in 2018 and that it involves his own players. In response to the coach’s public complaint, the local soccer association Dimayor decided to suspend him for five weeks and impose a $3m fine for sharing details of the internal investigation.