Nearly a year after Peru’s Congress voted to pass an online gambling law in the dead of night, legislation to clean up apparent drafting errors from that rushed procedure has been promulgated by President Dina Boluarte.
Law 31806, which is officially titled the "Law That Modifies Law 31557, Law That Regulates The Exploitation Of Remote Gaming And Remote Sports Betting, In Order To Clarify Concepts And Their Scope", was signed by Boluarte and published in Peru's official gazette on Thursday (June 29).
Final regulations which will guide the licensing process created by the new law have not yet been published, but are expected in early August at the latest.
Their publication will kick off a revised 120-day window for companies currently operating in the grey market to obtain a licence to officially operate in Peru for the first time.
Operators and lawyers have both expressed concern at that tight timeline to obtain a licence, saying they would not be ready in time and are therefore at risk of having to withdraw their operations at least temporarily.
The text of the new law signed by Boluarte last week includes a new provision that modifies the Peruvian Penal Code, which will now include a penalty for operating gambling or betting without a licence, carrying a sentence of one to four years in prison.
According to Nicolás Samohod Rivarola, a Peruvian gaming lawyer, the 120-day window “begins to [count] from the publication of the rules, in this case the regulation. There are no fixed dates, everything is relative.”
Juan Carlos Mathews Salazar, head of the Peruvian tourism ministry, which oversees gambling regulation, said a regulatory decree to implement the new legislation would be coming in the month of July, although delays are possible.
“With all this work and the recent promulgation of the law, containing the modifications that were necessary, we are advancing towards the regulation of the law for the exploitation of remote games and remote sports betting,” Mathews said in a statement.
“This will allow the collection of close to PEN160m ($44m) per year to be invested in the reactivation of tourism, in addition to public infrastructure works, promoting sports and attending mental health programs,” he added.
The changes to the Penal Code and 120-day window are not the only legal amendments established by the clean-up bill approved last week.
Among other things, the new legislation trebles the upfront licensing fee for Peruvian operators to at least 600 tax units, or the equivalent of approximately $800,000.
The amendments will also allow for operators to accept bets from foreign nationals residing in Peru, to use a variety of domain names for the Peruvian-licensed platforms and will no longer require certification of payment processors as was initially proposed.
Additional reporting by James Kilsby.