Far too often, people confuse the spelling of Colombia. Here is the ultimate solution: it is Colombia with the ‘O’, not Columbia with the ‘U’. English-speakers are the ones with this confusion, and now Colombia — a nation with almost 50 million citizens — is letting you know the correct spelling. Enough spelling bee! Colombian casinos are even more interesting.
Colombia is often described as the Cocaine Capital of South America, and—sometimes—the world. The idiosyncrasy of Pablo Escobar is an everlasting stain, yet Colombia is more than a hotspot for drug making, dealing and trafficking.
In all honesty, gambling had a rough start in Colombia. The same paramilitary organizations that supervised (or, rather, plagued) Colombian citizens for years also supervised most of the gambling activities in Colombia until 2001.
In 1991, the then-present Colombian government restructured the disturbed Constitution. But that was not enough to organise and properly supervise gambling facilities in the country. It was in 2001 that Law 643 was provided to perfect those flaws regarding slot parlours, casinos and bingo halls.
Fortunately, the new rules under the ETESA (Empresa Territorial Para la Salud) were more successful than expected. Gambling tax revenue went up as high as 500 percent. The success was refreshing for the government. In 2008, however, illegal gambling facilities were still as profusely widespread as illegal drug trafficking.
It was estimated that 20 percent of all gambling activities in the country was illegal. Also, there were 20,000 unlicensed slot machines out of the total 65,000. Then-president Álvaro Uribe was troubled by these figures and how strong the economy would be if all gambling facilities were licensed. So, he extended the authority of ETESA as a counteractive measure.
It was a success. ETESA, by 2009, had stretched out operations to more than nine settings, recharged 22 existing contracts identified with gambling undertakings, and issued around 10 new gaming licenses in the country. At the time, Argentina and Colombia rivaled to become the leader of the South American gambling industry.
Following a succession of corruption scandals in 2012, the then-president Álvaro Uribe had to dissolve ETESA. But, it was replaced by a fresh and better gambling board called the Coljuegos, in 2011. Upon establishment, the Coljuegos board instantly tackled the flaws in the system.
First, they started disassembling unlicensed gambling facilities and activities. Slot parlours were the major hit of the disassembling process.
Everything worked as planned. The board successfully destroyed the greater percentage of illicit gambling facilities while promoting licensed counterparts. Further, they took security to a whole new level by ensuring that all slot machines operating in Colombia must be connected to a secure server provided by the central government.
Ever since then, Colombia’s gambling industry has been on the rise. In fact, horse racing tracks alone employed nothing less than 40,000 Colombians when it emerged.
However, government switched up taxes and laws — which led to many racetracks being closed indefinitely. Regarding this, the then-Colombian government tried to repurpose their taxes and laws, and things were taking a positive turn.
Currently, Colombia has more casinos and gambling facilities than all South American countries except Argentina.
Of course, gambling is perfectly legal in Colombia. It became legal around 1977 and 1978 when a series of presidential decrees were passed. Although gambling fought instability for some decades even after legalization, gambling in Colombia today comes with much relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere.
Most forms of gambling (casinos, sports betting, bingos, dog racing, horse racing, pari-mutuel gambling, poker, Texas Hold’em poker tables, novelties, and raffles) are authorized, and the providers and operations are regulated and licensed by the Coljuegos board.
According to article 5 of Decree 4142 of 2011, the board — linked to the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit — is in charge of all gambling operations in the country. Lastly, casinos and gambling facilities in Colombia are enormous.
All the casinos — 87 in total — are spread throughout 26 Colombian cities. With 24 gambling facilities, Bogota is the largest gambling city — while Casino Rio Pereira is the largest casino. Most gambling facilities and casinos are located in Barranquilla, Bogota, Cali, Cúcuta, Soledad, Bucaramanga, Pereira, Cartago, Cartagena, Medellin, and Armenia.
Similar to most South American casinos like those in Chile and Peru, Colombian casinos are mostly attached to big hotels. Gambling in Colombia is more than just casinos, as mentioned earlier. There are gambling facilities offering sports betting, horse and dog racing tracks, bingo, poker, live poker, raffles, and lotteries. Ultimately, slots are the most patronized games in Colombia.
Below is a list of all casinos currently operating in the regions of Colombia.
Broadway Casino – Andino
Broadway Casino – Cedritos
Broadway Casino – Don Matías
Broadway Casino – Iserra
Broadway Casino – Itagüí
Broadway Casino – Itagüí Carrera 50
Broadway Casino – Medellin Unicentro
Broadway Casino – Metropolis
Broadway Casino – Sabaneta
Broadway Casino – Santa Rosa De Osos
Broadway Casino – Unicentro
Broadway Casino – Villacountry
Casino Broadway – Mayorca
Casino Broadway Bogota – Centro
Casino Broadway Bogota – Plaza
Casino Caribe Canaveral
Casino Caribe Centro
Casino Caribe de la Playa
Casino Caribe Plaza Americas
Casino Caribe Unicentro
Casino Carnevale Bogota
Casino Carnevale Pereira
Casino Condado – Armenia
Casino Condado – Buga
Casino Condado – Cartago
Casino Condado – Montería
Casino Condado – Villavicencio
Casino Dorado Norte
Casino El Castillo – Cali
Casino El Castillo – Calle 31
Casino El Dorado
Casino Golden Palace
Casino Havana Armenia
Casino Havana Bogota – Centro
Casino Havana Bucaramanga
Casino Havana Cali – Centro
Casino Havana Ibagué
Casino Havana la 80
Casino Havana Manizales
Casino Havana Medellin la 70
Casino Havana Montería
Casino Havana Oviedo
Casino Havana Pereira
Casino Havana Unicentro
Casino Hollywood Bogota
Casino Real Game – Apartado
Casino Real Game – Armenia
Casino Real Game – Ayacucho
Casino Real Game – Bello
Casino Real Game – Boyaca
Casino Real Game – Cartago
Casino Real Game – Centro
Casino Real Game – Colombia
Casino Real Game – Fontibon
Casino Real Game – Guayaquil
Casino Real Game – Jimenez
Casino Real Game – Kennedy
Casino Real Game – Nuevo Restrepo
Casino Real Game – Nuevo Venecia
Casino Real Game – Prado
Casino Real Game – Rionegro
Casino Real Game – Sincelejo
Casino Real Game – Super Juegos
Casino Real Game – Venecia
Casino Rio Baranquilla
Casino Rio Bogota
Casino Rio Cartagena
Casino Rio Medellin
Casino Rock’n Jazz
Circus Casino – Bello
Crown Casino – Cali
Crown Casino – Palatino
Crown Casino – San Rafael
Crown Casino – Unicentro
Crown Casino – Zona T
Enjoy San Andrés
Havana Casino – Bogota
Hollywood Casino & Cafe Concert
Rio Casino Pereira
Sun Nao Casino
– Similar to most nations, to gamble in Colombia, citizens and tourists must be 18 years or older.
– Studies show that 61 percent of all Colombian adults place wagers regularly.
– In 2013, IGT (International Gaming Technology) and Corredor Empresarial S.A. battled to win Coljuegos’ new pari-mutuel sports betting platform, which the latter won.
– Colombia is only second to Argentina as the South American country with most casinos and gambling facilities.
– The laws of Colombia permits Colombians to bet on local football matches exclusively.
– All slot machines built before 1952 are not for commercial, but exhibition use only.
– Bogota is the largest gambling city, with 24 gambling facilities.
– Casino Rio Pereira, located in Pereira, is the largest casino is Colombia, with 410+ machines and 20+ table games.
– Out of the 32 departments of Colombia, 15 have their own regional lottery.
– In March 2017, the Coljuegos board blocked 325 website domains providing unlicensed online gambling.
– Although online gambling regulation in Colombia is an uncertainty, there is an annual online gambling expo called the FADJA (Feria Andina de Juegos de Azar) in Bogota. The expo is widely known and attended by industry figures across South America.