Colombia – Colombia’s Departmental Government announces new unified lotteryBy Phil - 5 October 2016
The National Federation of Departments of Colombia (FND) has announced that is it preparing a bill whereby all of the local state lotteries will be unified in order to increase gaming revenue generated for the state.
Amilkar Acosta, President of the National Federation of Departments, said that the organisation was in the process of carrying out a market study into the issue and would once that was complete “proceed to develop specifications for an open tender in order to find an operator that offers better guarantees.”
According to the statements made by Acosta, the bidding process is expected in November and the project could be implemented before the end of this year.
Loto lotín as the new game will be called will be a way of integrating the current state run lotteries into a single product. “The idea is not to compete but to ally ourselves with those (lotteries) that still exist,” he said.
Regarding the current controversy over Baloto he said that before the game is given the go ahead that the Ministry of Finance and the Colombian Gaming Control Board (Coljuegos) should carry out a study first on the impact the new game would have. The tender to operate Multiplicador (Multiplier), a new option for those who play Baloto, has been postponed in Colombia after regional governors argued that the new game would mean less income for the health sector and job losses over time.
The announcement regarding the new state lottery was made after a special meeting was held between governors and Edusuerte – (the entity responsible for the financial management of gambling for the departmental governments) in order to discuss how gambling revenue could be maximised in order to generate additional gambling revenue for the state. According to the governor of the Department of Atlántico Eduardo Verano De la Rosa, there used to be a total of 26 locally run lotteries operating in Colombia but of this amount only six remain of which only four are profitable. Verano de la Rosa also came out in support of the new initiative put forward by the FND and said that it could also lead eventually to a regional version of the popular Baloto game.
Besides the most popular national lottery games of Chance, Baloto, and Super Astro there are also a wide number of games offered by each department. However, the local lottery sector per region is in decline and the products have been losing popularity in each department for over ten years. They have also been plagued by a number of corruption scandals. As a result there have been moves by the central government to take lotteries out of the control of local governments and place a number of new games under the control of the Colombian Gaming Control Board. However, the FND has argued that plans to move lotteries from state control to federal control would be unconstitutional as the Constitution grants the 32 departments control and exploitation of all local lotteries.
There is evidence however that both bodies could be working more closely together. In June it was announced that Coljuegos and the FND had signed an agreement to create an instant lottery in order to help raise funds for regional health services.