Online Gambling, Sports Betting Now Legal in Peru

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Online Gambling, Sports Betting Now Legal in Peru

Legal remote gambling and sports betting in Latin America continue to gain ground. Lawmakers in Peru quickly advanced legislation to approve both this year and the country’s president, Pedro Castillo Terrones, signed it into law on Friday.

Peru's President, Pedro Castillo Terrones, gives a public address earlier this month
Peru's President, Pedro Castillo Terrones, gives a public address earlier this month
Peru’s President, Pedro Castillo Terrones, gives a public address earlier this month. On Friday, he approved legislation to bring remote sports betting and gaming to the country. (Image: Andina)

Congressional lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a bill in July to allow remote gambling and sports betting. The Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Roberto Sánchez, spearheaded the measure to help Peru capture millions of dollars in missed revenue.

The government held a ceremony on Friday where Castillo enacted the legislation. Subsequently, the legislation became official after it was published in El Peruano, the country’s official media outlet.

Months, Not Years

The law will take effect 60 days after the publication of the Supreme Decree approving its regulations. This decree, according to the legislation, must be published within no more than 120 working days from the creation of the regulations.

The text of the law states that the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur, for its Spanish acronym) is the administrative gambling authority at the national level. It will be responsible for authorizing operators, as well as regulating and supervising their activity.

The text also prohibits participation in remote sports betting and gambling and bets by minors and people with gambling problems. Operators will rely on a national database, the Registry of Persons Prohibited from Accessing Casino Games and Slot Machines, which lists individuals banned from gambling.

Remote gambling encompasses two methods for placing bets – in-person and online. In the case of the granting of operating licenses to physical premises, the municipalities may only grant licenses to the owners of remote sports betting game rooms that Mincetur approves. In addition, the law prohibits the dissemination of advertising of online gaming platforms not authorized by Mincetur.

The law also establishes that remote sports betting gambling venues must not be less than 150 meters (492 feet) away from religious temples or education centers that provide regular basic education. The distance is measured by the shortest pedestrian route, not line of sight.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications will play a role in the supervision of the legal remote gaming industry, as well. It will be responsible for carrying out the necessary actions to block web pages, IP addresses, URLs and computer applications of any operator who tries to offer its services in Peru without Mincetur’s authorization.

More State Revenue

Operators can expect to pay a direct tax applied to net income once the framework is in place. The bill proposes a tax rate of 12%, the same rate that Peru’s casinos and slot halls pay.

Likewise, the legislation states that, of the tax the government collects, 40% will go to the public treasury. Another 40% is for the development of tourism and the rest is for the promotion of mental health and other government programs.

Penalties for not complying with regulations run the gambit of possibilities. Violators can receive a reprimand, a fine of 1 to 200 UIT, cancellation of their license, disqualification for up to ten years, or permanent disqualification. One UIT, a special tax unit, is equal to $1,181.

Mincetur estimates that the unregulated remote sports betting and gambling markets are worth around $1 billion currently. However, none of that provides tax revenue to the state. As a result of the new legislation, Mincetur believes the government will earn around $40.6 million in tax revenue each year.

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