With over 17 million square kilometers of area, over 450 million people, and 12 sovereign countries, South America is one of the best destinations for a wealth of reasons. From Patagonian glaciers to peaks in the famous Andean Mountains, ruins of the ancient Inca Empire to the Amazon rainforest, the Iguazú Falls-which is the largest waterfalls network on the planet-to the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, and the volcanic Galápagos Islands to the many beautiful musical genres. The attractions, destinations, and sights of South America are possibly innumerable, which are as remarkable as the vast range of casinos and gambling throughout the continent.
Gambling in South America is more lucrative than in most continents. In fact, only Asia has a faster gambling market growth. For one, there are almost 450 casinos, 50,000 gaming machines, and 4,000 table games across South American territories. Gambling keeps growing drastically in revenues and popularity in the continent and both local and foreign businesspeople build a number of industry-standard casinos, which could go head-to-head with casinos in Las Vegas and Macau per year.
Gambling activities have existed in the continent for a long time but gained prominence in the 20th century. But for some countries like Argentina, the first gambling facility was opened in the 19th century (Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo opened in 1876). Today, most casinos in South America are situated in the 23 Argentine provinces and the sovereign province of Buenos Aires although Brazil cleaves the whole continent into two. The Argentine government promotes gambling because of the mouth-watering revenue generation and tourism uplift.
South American casinos are evidently luxurious, well-equipped, and offer a number of amenities. Most are hotels or resorts, so they greatly offer pleasant accommodations, lounges, delicious local and foreign cuisines at world-class restaurants, nightclubs for those who love the nightlife, and many more.
They often accept the official currency (of their location) alongside US Dollar, Euro, and British Pound though slot machines are generally installed to accept the official currency. With all these perks, foreigners could easily blend with the citizens and residents of their country of choice and enjoy the diverse gambling experience while relishing nature, peaks, landscapes, waterfalls, beaches, music, cultural treasures, carnivals, foods, and drinks.
And to top it all, South America features the highest uninterrupted waterfall, driest place, river with the largest water volume, longest mountain range, largest natural rainforest, second-longest river, and second-highest mountain in the world. These fascinations add to South America’s global appeal so exotic gamblers are in for more than the captivating gambling climate.
Prior to 2011, all 12 South American countries had at least one casino. But almost half of Ecuadorians vetoed gambling in 2011 in a national referendum titled “Referendum and Popular Consultation”. So, gambling activities and facilities are only available in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela. In addition, there are three dependent territories in South America (Falkland Islands, French Guiana, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands) where gambling and casinos are either nonexistent or generally insignificant.
Further, the countries with a significant number of casinos are Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Uruguay. While Chile and Uruguay have the smallest (under and over 30 respectively), Peru and Colombia individually offer more than 80 casinos. Argentina, on the other hand, doubles that, with a figure above 170. Other countries have figures less than 15.
The largest gambling province (not a city) in South America is Buenos Aires, which features tens of casinos, hundreds of table games, and tens of thousands of gaming machines. Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo-located in Buenos Aires, Argentina-is the largest gambling facility in the whole South American continent with over 4,600 gaming machines. However, Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo is not a casino in actuality; it is a racino (combination of a racetrack and a casino).
City Center Rosario-located in Santa Fe, Argentina-is the largest casino, which boasts 2,000 gaming machines and 80 table games. Other notable casinos include the Monticello Grand Casino and Entertainment World (in O’Higgins Region, Chile) with more than 1,800 gaming machines, 300 Bingo seats, and 80 table games, Casino Trilenium (in Buenos Aires, Argentina) with 1,800 gaming machines and 76 table games, Casino Buenos Aires (in Buenos Aires, Argentina) with 1,400 gaming machines, 29 poker tables, and 120 table games, and Casino Golden Palace (in Lima, Peru) with more than 900 gaming machines and 30 table games.
As stated earlier, there are numerous casinos in South America. Slot Machines, Roulette, Blackjack, Craps, Poker, Punto Banco, Texas Hold’em Poker, American Roulette, Baccarat, Lucky Ladies, Let It Ride, Caribbean Stud Poker, Pai Gow Poker, Video Poker, and Point and Banking are the main games in South American casinos though there are far too many available.
And in addition to casinos, there are many sportsbooks and sports betting shops, poker rooms, and clubs, bingo halls, racetracks for pari-mutuel and fixed-odds betting on horse races, cruise ships and floating casinos, and lottery offices and outlets.
Regarding lotteries, each country has its own national lottery which is either run by a state monopoly or handed over to one or more private companies. Some countries (Brazil as a prime example) also allow each state, province, or region to operate its own lottery service.
These national and state lotteries offer a wide range of lottery games and bingo. Well, the fact that each country is unique should be considered, so games vary from country to country. For instance, Loto 5, Quiniela, and Loto are popular in Argentina while lottery tickets and scratch cards are popular in Peru.
Sports (including horse racing) betting is also popular amongst South Americans. There are numerous shops where offtrack horse racing betting takes place and racetracks generally offer pari-mutuel and fixed-odds betting. Football matches are widely wagered on and basketball, baseball, rugby, motorsports, volleyball, golf, tennis, and hockey events are also widespread.
Online gambling, as well as Bitcoin gambling, is subjective to each country. For one, Brazil has a number of confusing laws governing online gambling but Bitcoin is widely accepted. Both online and Bitcoin gambling are unregulated in Paraguay but residents are not prosecuted for gambling on offshore gambling websites, which is the case in Colombia, Peru, Chile, and Bolivia.
In Argentina, on the other hand, online gambling is flawlessly legal and adequately regulated while Bitcoin gambling is not regulated but broadly popular. Lastly, online gambling is legal in Venezuela although the only two licensees have declared bankruptcy and Bitcoin gambling is widespread though not regulated.
– In most (if not all) South American territories, the minimum gambling age is 18 years.
– The 2011 Referendum and Popular Consultation made over 200,000 Ecuadorians jobless, so there have been a number of discussions to legalize gambling activities and facilities in Ecuador. Francisco Zambrano Campuzano, President of the CEDHUS (Ecuadorian Committee on Human and Union Rights), is a major promoter of gambling and has been proposing the legalization of gambling since 2014. In March 2018, representatives of the Central Government, members of the CEDHUS, and gambling businesspeople held a meeting to discuss the reopening of casinos and other gambling facilities.
– As of March 2018, after Foxwoods Resort Casino (in Connecticut, US), Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa (in Florida, US), Mohegan Sun (in Connecticut, US), Empire City at Yonkers Raceway (in New York, US), and WinStar World Casino and Resort (in Oklahoma, US), Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo is the largest gambling facility in the whole world.