Colombian regulator publishes draft bill to regulate gambling advertising and sponsorship

Coljuegos, the entity that regulates games of chance in Colombia, published a draft resolution through which it wants to regulate the activities of advertising, sponsorship, promotion, or any other form of commercial communication of competitive games.

Among the main points of the legislation that pretends to control the conditions under which the authorized operators in the country advertise, it is stated that “the advertising and games offered must be clearly identified through the approved brand for each one of them.”

In addition, in the commercial communications of the gaming operators, the corporate name, the name or the commercial image of the gaming operator whose activities are the object of promotion must be clearly indicated, according to the entity presided by Marco Emilio Hincapié Ramírez.

Among the novelties of the project for which comments were received until Friday, September 29, it also highlighted the establishment of limits for the advertising investment, a point that was not clear before. According to its level of contributions in the previous year (if it were a new operator, the intermediate scale would be used), each company will have a spending limit: the higher the level of contributions, the higher the investment limit.

In this regard, the document requires licensees to submit “an investment plan expressed in amounts, which shall not exceed the investment limit”. Although it may be subsequently modified, it must respect the stipulated scale. In the event that an operator exceeds the fixed range, “it will be subject to a fine equivalent to up to 100% of the amount exceeded in the investment,” according to the bill.

On the other hand, the regulation also stipulates rules for sports sponsorships. Specifically, it refers to “professional teams, regardless of the number and discipline to which they correspond, in each of the existing professional categories and that participate in sports tournaments of their discipline”.

The exclusive requirement to sign this type of agreement is that they must be with licensed operators. That is to say, teams will not be able to enter into agreements with companies that do not have permission from Coljuegos, as happened with the sponsorship of the English company Marsbet to Atlético Bucaramanga, an agreement that the regulator declared illegal.

In addition, regarding video platforms or social networks, the bill establishes that they may disseminate their activities, as long as a series of requirements are respected, such as guaranteeing measures to avoid reaching minors, disseminating responsible gambling messages, or having mechanisms to block such advertisements, among others.

This announcement comes days after the Agency of the Inspector General of Taxes, Revenues and Parafiscal Contributions (ITRC), Colombia’s anti-corruption office, issued a reserved report in which it detected alleged irregularities committed by Coljuegos in the awarding of contracts for the operation of games of luck and chance between 2018 and 2022.

Access the complete draft bill here.