Colombia’s gaming industry is proving itself to be one of the most successful industries in the country, as well as in Latin America. Revenue from the sector continues to rise, creating more job opportunities than any other.
Colombia has been at the forefront of Latin America’s gaming industry, demonstrating to other countries what is possible through a legal, regulated market. Its success has become a benchmark, of sorts, in the region and it continues not to disappoint.
Coljuegos, Colombia’s regulator, has provided an update on the state of gambling in the country. It indicated that for the first quarter of 2022, gross sales of national games grew by 54% compared to the same period of last year. This segment reached $3.78 million, a figure that shows a good start to the year.
As of March, the gaming industry contributed $44.6 million for Coljuegos, as well as another $70.1 million for Colombia’s health system. This represents a 17% overall increase over the same period last year and a 4% improvement over the budgeted amount. In addition, the gaming industry is responsible for the creation of 2,800 new jobs.
Colombia Gaming on the Rise
Localized games, where casinos and bingos are located, reported for the first quarter of 2022 sales of $2.284 million, while the iGaming sector added $1.41 million. The latter’s success was mainly driven by sports betting, virtual slot machines, live casino and virtual roulette.
Likewise, the SUPER Astro game, a type of lottery designed around the 12 zodiac signs, recorded cumulative sales in the first quarter of 2022 of $40.7 million. Baloto Revancha, an online lottery product, had sales of $3.8 million in the same period.
In the case of territorial games, such as localized lotteries and “Raspa and Listo” (scratch and win), sales in the first quarter of 2022 reached $208.7 million. This represents growth of 22.6% compared to the same period of 2021. Of this total, the lotteries contributed $183 million and Raspa y Listo added $26.5 million.
Raspa y Listo, a lottery product with immediate prize collection, went on the market in November 2021 and has already exceeded sales projections by 193%. As a result of its success and that of the other products, contributions to the national health system through territorial games in the first three months of the year amounted to $30.2 million.
Gaming Leads to Job Creation
So far this year, the gaming sector has helped boost the economy through new jobs, according to the National Administrative Department of Statistics. At the same time, the turnover rates are very close to pre-pandemic levels.
In general, the entertainment industry is currently one of the largest generators of jobs in the country. It has already produced 139,000 new positions; of that, 2,800 are in the gaming sector.
Much of these jobs are subject to the end of COVID-19 restrictions. Currently, Colombia has more than 2,700 casinos and entertainment venues that have returned to work at full capacity, which allowed a greater demand for labor.
Employment is improving, but there is still more work to be done. Colombia’s unemployment rate is 14.9%, better than the 17.5% recorded in January of last year. Still, it remains above the 13% from 2020.
Help is on the Way
Colombia is relaxing some of its COVID-19 restrictions, which should help the employment situation. President Iván Duque announced Monday that, as of May 1, showing COVID-19 vaccination cards and using face masks will no longer be obligatory in many commercial establishments.
The list covers casinos and other gaming facilities; however, there is a caveat. Certain properties without the proper ventilation systems in place will need to enforce the mask rule. The Ministry of Health is going to provide more details this week.
Inbound travelers from abroad who are over 18 years old should have the COVID-19 vaccine. Those who don’t will need to show a negative PCR test result less than 72 hours old prior to arrival. Alternatively, they can produce a negative antigen test result that is not older than 48 hours.
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