Peru Opens Landmark Licensing Window

February 14, 2024
Tuesday (February 13) marked the first day that operators offering online casino games and sports betting could apply for a licence in Peru.

Tuesday (February 13) marked the first day that operators offering online casino games and sports betting could apply for a licence in Peru.

Peru’s online gambling Law 31557 officially came into force the day before, on February 12, or 120 days since the promulgation of a regulatory decree by the country's Ministry of Tourism (MINCETUR).

The licensing window for operators is open until March 13, and if companies who have been operating offshore do not make their request for authorization by that time, they will face a fine and possible criminal charges. 

Offshore operators who fail to step forward with a licence application could be fined up to 150 Peruvian tax units, or approximately US$200,000.

Operators and suppliers had been able to register through the licensing portal on the MINCETUR website before Tuesday, in what MINCETUR described as a "marcha blanca", or transition process designed to be as efficient and effective as possible.

Despite this moniker, industry executives and legal advisors have expressed misgivings about the timeframe, including doubts that officials at MINCETUR's gambling regulator will be able to process all the applications it receives within a 30-day period, as required by regulations.

When queried about the timeline at ICE, Eduardo Sevilla Echevarria, the director general of the gaming department, insisted the regulator was more than prepared. 

“We are always ready ... the team is always ready. I would like to kindly ask you to enter the website of MINCETUR because the marcha blanca continues.” 

Sevilla Echevarria said that the regulator's website would be updated daily to show which companies had applied for registrations and for certification.

As of Tuesday evening, three companies — GLI, BMM and Asensi Technologies — had been registered to provide testing and certification services for Peru's regulated market. Twelve other suppliers had also submitted a successful registration, including IGT, Ainsworth and Kaizen Gaming.  

Peru's regulatory regime requires a wide range of service providers to be registered with MINCETUR, with game content and platform providers required to register as soon as possible from the launch date and payment processors and other providers expected to do so no later than July 31, according to guidance published by the regulator.

Still, Carlos Fonseca Sarmiento, a lawyer and gaming expert in Peru, wrote on LinkedIn that he had misgivings about MINCETUR’s preparedness; a concern he has voiced before. 

“For an inexperienced authority that wishes to regulate such a complex, dynamic, technological and international subject as remote gambling, overregulation and paternalism are not ideal recipes to start off on the right foot,” he wrote ahead of Tuesday's opening.

One area of concern raised by Fonseca was the requirements for B2B service providers such as payment gateways and digital identity service providers. He particularly singled out the requirement that they have “registered agents in Peru and almost all of them are foreigners”, and demanded greater flexibility.

Fonseca also noted that a form for filing gaming taxes was not yet ready, making it impossible to submit payments. A resolution from Peru's money laundering prevention authority is also still required to approve the rules for online operators, among other loose ends, he said.

Additional reporting by James Kilsby.

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