Colombia Seizes Record Number of Illegal Gambling Machines

Published on: December 20, 2023, 03:27h.

Last updated on: December 20, 2023, 03:27h.

In a significant move against illicit gambling, the Colombian gaming regulator Coljuegos has carried out its “largest ever” operation, seizing equipment and property utilized in illegal gambling establishments nationwide.

Coljuegos President Marco Emilio Hincapié participates in an interview
Coljuegos President Marco Emilio Hincapié participates in an interview. Colombia’s gaming regulator continues its crackdown on unlicensed gaming venues. (Image: Canal 1)

The operation primarily targeted venues in Atlántico, Magdalena, Cesar, and Guajira. These seizures included 778 items such as slot machines, gambling devices, televisions, and technology valued at roughly US$756,000.

This increased enforcement comes as Coljuegos aims to tackle illegal slot machines, leading to substantial tax revenue losses for the government.

Widespread Disregard for the Law

According to Coljuegos president Marco Emilio Hincapié, the operation focused on two major illegal gambling hubs, Azar Games and Atlantis Games, which evaded significant licensing fees annually, depriving the country’s healthcare system of necessary funding.

Authorities have prosecuted 14 individuals in connection with illegal gambling operations, with plans to take further legal action against six individuals. Efforts to seize a warehouse where illegal slot machines were manufactured are also underway.

Hincapié emphasized the importance of this operation, marking the regulator’s largest seizure to date, demonstrating their commitment to upholding the law, and protecting the interests of Colombian citizens.

Colombian Regulated Gaming Rises

In 2023, Coljuegos reported a 27.5% rise in gaming revenue allocated towards the healthcare sector, generating roughly US$200 million to support healthcare services.

Casinos and bingo parlors drove the growth, contributing US$17.3 million. Lottery draws and related products followed, contributing US$8.48 million, a significant increase from the previous year.

This development emphasizes the role of the online gaming industry in supporting public services in Colombia, with tax revenue and contributions going towards state-led agencies, ultimately improving healthcare services provided to citizens.

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