Is Peru ready to put higher stakes on sports betting?

By March 20, 2018

Peru may be falling in line with other Latin American countries to try and hit the jackpot on boosting the online sports betting sector.

According to a recent report from Gaming Intelligence, Peru could be eyeing regulation on sports betting in the country for the first time.

“Everything points to Peru being the next to fall in line with its neighboring (Colombia), as it already had nine online sports books receive licenses and is going for more,” the subscription-based gaming site wrote.

The sports betting industry is already well established in Latin American countries like Costa Rica, Colombia, and Brazil. In Costa Rica alone, it’s estimated that hundreds of sports books operating within the country’s lax gaming laws rake in more than $14.5 billion in combined annual revenue from the lucrative industry.

Gaming rooms and casinos already enjoy a sizeable presence in Peru, and saw a five percent growth from 2007. However, it’s the sports books that could follow in line with increased regulation. All physical game rooms and casinos, however, are already regulated and taxed. Industry operators generated $775 million in taxes from 2007 to the end of 2017, according to the report, through the physical casinos with a large chunk of that money being redirected to help boost the tourism sector.

The head of Peru’s Gaming Commission (DGJCMT) Manuel San Román Benavente told Gaming Intelligence that Peru’s steady growth in this sector of casinos makes it a leading reference point for other countries in the region to follow.

“The goals obtained in regulation and control of the local gaming industry have allowed Peru to become an established industry leader in Latin America, not just for its stable economy, laws, and tax structure, but also for the constant development and technological evolution,” San Román Benavente said.

The gaming commissioner said in the interview that it is imperative that online betting and sports books in the country are similarly regulated in the immediate future to foster healthy competition and protect users from being defrauded. Proposal for a new sports betting regulation is soon expected to be presented before Peru’s Congress for a vote.

“One of the biggest challenges for the Peru Gaming Commission this year will be the passing of a regulatory proposal that is modern, efficient, and transparent for internet games and online betting,” San Román Benavente told Gaming Intelligence.

According to the commission, more than $346 million worth of sports bets were made in Peru in 2017. That should increase in 2018 as Peru’s national football team qualified for its first World Cup in 34 years and industry experts say bets from Peru will now increase by 50 percent during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, according to Peru’s Diario Correo.

Similar attempts by the Gaming Commission to better regulate online gaming and provide better infrastructure for sports betting rooms in Peru have been rejected by the country’s Congress.

“We believe that you shouldn’t prohibit what you can’t control,” the commissioner said.