Colombia Set to Increase Online Gambling Tax 

The Colombian Senate (Upper House) has just announced that it will review the tax measures on online gambling and potentially completely restructure the system in place. Changes in the tax structure come as a support to the government’s notion to overhaul the country’s public welfare and healthcare systems.

Debates around the subject are set to start on February 16th. Senator Antonio Correa from Partido de la Union will lead the discussion.

Reforms Led By The President

Gustavo Petro, the newly-elected Colombian president is leading the reforms in the country’s public welfare and healthcare systems. He took office in 2023, and in the short time he has been president, he had several high-profile public disagreements with various government departments. One of those is the Coljuegos – Colombia’s federal gambling authority.

Several experts have accused the president of bypassing congressional procedures with his plans for the healthcare and welfare system. The president’s office is also subject to criticism for neglecting other public services.

One of the biggest critics of this reform is the former Coljuegos president Roger Carillo Ocampo, who resigned from the gambling authority and was swiftly replaced by Marco Emilio Hincapie Ramirez.

The Current Legislation

In a bid to grasp the new online gambling trends, Colombia completely revamped its existing Gambling Act of 2001 in 2016. With the new amendments, online gambling was permitted and private domestic and foreign entities were free to apply for a license.

With this legislation, Colombia became the first country in South America to introduce a fully regulated and taxed online gambling system, a move that several other countries from the region took since.

The current gambling tax framework says that licensed operators have to pay a 15% tax on their GGR rate. This is valid for online casinos that maintain an RTP of 83% of total stakes, but for those who have an RTP higher than 83, an increased tax of 17% is charged.

No New Proposals on the Table

As mentioned above, deliberations around the new taxing regime are set to start on February 16th, but the Senate has confirmed that no party has submitted its proposal about the new tax percentages that should be imposed on online gambling sites.

While initiating the debate, Antonio Correa said that online gambling is simply a business sector that needs a complete overhaul for one reason – reducing the deficit in public health. 

He continues his statement by saying that he and the Senate are aware that this is a very sensitive subject due to the high income that the government already generates from leading online gambling sites.

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