Uruguay starts blocking online gambling websites

Business News

Uruguay, the state-owned gambling monopoly is reportedly due to begin blocking local access to non-domestic online casino and sportsbetting sites including major players such as Bet365.com and Bwin.com.

According to a Wednesday report from the South American nation’s El Pais newspaper, the revelation came from Luis Gama, Director for Uruguay’s National Lottery and Quinielas Directorate, with the coming ban purportedly aimed at maintaining the preeminence of the operator’s Supermatch online game, which last year underwent a revamp that resulted in its annual takings trebling to approximately $59.3 million.

Gama reportedly stated that the move, which is to be implemented ‘in the coming days’, will ‘clean up’ the local online gaming and sportsbetting market and may lead to as much as $20 million a year staying within the borders of Uruguay. He also purportedly declared that the coming prohibition is to be conducted in partnership with local banks, credit card companies and telecommunications providers and could subsequently be followed by the government investigating whether to allow non-domestic operators to bid for further online gaming or sportsbetting licenses.

“We will take care of the detecting of illegal sites and already have procedures in place to trigger a message to the Communications Services Regulatory Unit in order to effectively block via the telephone companies those sites that Uruguayans can enter but not play on legally,” Gama reportedly told El Pais.

In a separate report, the newspaper explained that Uruguayans wagered about $809 million on online and land-based gambling in 2017, which represented a rise of almost 19% year-on-year to account for some 1.3% of the nation’s gross domestic product.