The government has announced a raft of new measures aimed at cutting down paperwork for new operators. The measures are part of a broader government strategy, which seeks to make life easier for Colombian businesses.
The measures applicable to gaming were presented on Monday by the Minister of Commerce Industry and Tourism Maria Lorena Gutierrez, the Minister of Finance and Public Credit Mauricio Cárdenas Santamaría and the President of Gaming regulator Coljuegos Juan B. Pérez Hidalgo.
According to Hidalgo, Coljuegos has put into place three major strategies, which have eliminated, simplified and systematised formalities for the gaming industry. At the press conference, Hidalgo said that the strengthening of the institution, the modernisation of information systems, as well as improved customer service and support during the licensing procedures has allowed Coljuegos to significantly reduce the time it takes for operators to be granted a licence.
“To make life easier for entrepreneurs in the gaming sector, we have achieved considerable reductions in procedures. In 2015, the response time, on average, for casino and bingo operators was 68 days. In the year 2017, we finished with a term of nineteen response days. And we hope that this year will be fifteen days,” said Mr. Hidalgo.
The President of Coljuegos emphasised that in order to achieve its aims that it had created a Commercial Relationship Management team, which mainly helps land based operators when it comes to applying for a licence ensuring that minimum requirements are met and mistakes are avoided while filling out forms. They also help answer any queries and concerns that operators may have. Coljuegos has also set up an online portal whereby potential operators may request authorisation to operate games, file documents and even make payments for administrative expenses via a secure online payment platform.
The Minister of Finance emphasised that Coljuegos had also been able to significantly cut red tape for companies carrying out promotional campaigns via raffles and other competitions by as much as half.
Hidalgo emphasised that “the average response time before was twenty days, now it is done in an average of seven days. This reduction of time does not only apply to promotional games, but also for casinos and bingos. Coljuegos currently has 400 concession contracts, of which about 1,000 transactions are carried out each year, such as additions, transfers, removals of machines, etc. All these procedures can be done online, with better response times, traceability and transparency.”
Hidalgo said that a greater level of efficiency had also been applied to the online sector as the granting of online licences are now automated online via the Coljuegos website. “This reduction in procedures has allowed Coljuegos to sign seven licences to operate online gaming in Colombia. This year we hope to reach twenty authorised (online) operators,” he said.
Online gaming laws began to be tightened after legislation was passed in 2016. According to new regulations, operators granted a licence must adhere to a number of strict obligations and meet the technical requirements as per the terms granted to it by the state. Meanwhile, Coljuegos with the help of the National Police has continued to manage the blocking of unauthorised web pages.