Colombia reinforces online gaming in bid to ensure a speedy recovery post-COVID

Juan Bautista Perez Hidalgo, President of Coljuegos, outlines his thoughts on the effects of the pandemic on the Colombian market in an exclusive interview to open SiGMA Americas Digital 

Colombia’s major gaming sector, localised games, is very much linked to the player culture in the country. Hildalgo mentions that “[localised gaming] has been hit hard by the pandemic because it has been practically closed for six months”. Rather than keep put and ride the pandemic out, many turned to online gaming and a new market was ergo untapped.  

The importance of gaming income for Colombia  

In 2019, the gambling sector generated around $459 million. The industry also created 100,000 jobs in Colombia. The sector in Colombia is become more professionalised every day.  

The income generated from the gaming sector is extremely important for the wealth and development of Colombia, particularly during the midst of a pandemic.  

Hildalgo adds:

In Colombia, the gaming sector is a sector whose resources go to the health of Colombians. This has made it possible to motivate player’s and talk to them a little about the need to gamble responsibly in a legal way.

He also mentions that most of the tax generated in the gaming sector goes towards health care, another reason why sustaining continued growth is essential for Colombia, especially during a pandemic. 

Reactivating the sector post-pandemic 

A key question on the tip of everyone’s tongues is ‘What is being done to speed up recovery in the sector post COVID-19?’ 

Hildalgo reinforces the push for online games within the country given the response promising response from players throughout the pandemic. He states:  

“We are now about to issue a resolution for remote bingos, which will also be an alternative to give players a choice”.  

Hildalgo quantifies the growth in online gaming by adding that they have generated around $18 million dollars for the country, he continues:  

[online games] have had a good performance and we hope that they will continue to do so in the future, because many people are changing their consumption habits. 

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