Peru has published a regulatory decree to implement its online gambling law, marking the beginning of a 150-day countdown until the market is officially regulated and grey-market operations are illegal.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Tourism (Mincetur), which will be the regulatory and licensing body for online gambling and sports betting, the first 120 days from Friday's (October 13) publication of the final regulations, until February 10, will be spent in meetings with online gambling manufacturers, related service providers and operators.
At this point the law comes into effect, but only then, during following 30 days until March 9, will the licensing window open. Licenses for a theoretically unlimited number of companies will be available, and interested firms must present their licensing requests virtually to Mincetur. Grey market operators that do not apply for a licence will become illegal.
According to Nicolás Samohod Rivarola, a gambling lawyer in Lima, the following 30 days until mid-April, will be the period for Mincetur to review applications submitted by operators, as well as to finalise the text of the regulations themselves.
Then from April until mid-July, Mincetur will begin to actually grant licences, said Rivarola.
Carlos Fonseca Sarmiento, a Peruvian lawyer and gambling expert, called the deadlines short “for the implementation of a complex system, so laboratories, operators and providers are going to have to rush”.
He also noted it was unclear if, when counting days, Mincetur meant calendar or business days.
Although Peru has a fully regulated casino and slot-hall market, until now there have been no formal rules in place to govern or otherwise restrict retail sportsbook outlets, as well as online sites operating from outside the country.
Many observers expect that existing grey-market operators will dominate the newly regulated industry.
Gonzalo Pérez, the CEO of Apuesta Total, said in September at SBC Barcelona that although many new players will enter the market, it will be difficult for them, as marketing assets are limited and most are already under contract.
“As an established Peruvian company, we expect the ones that are operating right now to have dominance as the regulations come into force,” he said.
Cristina Romero of Loyra Abogados in Madrid agreed: “It has happened in other countries, so it shouldn’t be too different from Colombia or Mexico.”
The regulations and three sets of accompanying technical standards published on Friday span 92 pages and 57 articles.
They officially give Mincetur licensing and regulatory authority over online operators.
As well as issuing licences for operators, the ministry will maintain active registries of approved platforms, gaming programs, games and game types, live casino games, progressive systems, sports-betting terminals, and related service providers for online gambling and sports betting.
The rules also address limits on advertising, forbidding marketing directed at minors, ads that include minors or marketing by entities that are not authorised by Mincetur.
In addition, the phrase “Excessive remote gambling and sports betting may cause compulsive gambling” must be written on all home pages and be visible in all advertising.
Failure to do so is listed as a minor infraction and will come with a fine ranging from 1 to 50 tax units (approximately US$1,288 to $247,500).
The publication of the regulations ends a long implementation process that began when an initial online gambling law was first approved in July 2022, only for it to become apparent that the legislation would need a so-called clean-up bill to fix errors and loopholes in the text.
The errors were the result of a rushed legislation process that combined several versions of an online gambling bill together and against the backdrop of Peru’s six presidential administrations in the last five years, meaning that speed is a necessity to accomplish anything on the agenda before a new administration hits reset.
After a clean-up bill offering various corrections was approved in July this year, regulations were meant to arrive by the end of August, but administrative delays and officials' vacations held up the process.