Colombia—The country’s Ministry of Health recently approved a plan that will allow casinos and bingo halls within the jurisdiction to start reopening in compliance with strict health and safety measures.
This move follows the Ministry approving a pilot program back in July, which granted local municipalities the power to approve which venues are allowed to reopen. At the time that was announced, biosecurity protocols for bingo halls and casinos had not been approved yet. Under the approved plans, physical barriers are required to separate players at slot machines, and all devices must be disinfected after every use. Food and alcoholic beverage consumption will be prohibited.
The plan may result to some of the country’s 2,756 gaming venues across 417 municipalities to reopen. Industry association Fecoljuegos assert that the government has missed out on tax revenue of around COP 225 billion ($51.2 million) due to the shutdowns from March this year. These funds would normally be used for Colombia’s public healthcare system.
Evert Montero Cárdenas, Fecoljuegos president, said:
“With the resolution, the mayors of all the municipalities of the country no longer have anything blocking them from implementing the pilot plans authorized by the national government as soon as possible.”
“[Colombia’s] casinos and bingo halls are committed to the health and well-being of Colombians. That is why we care about adapting our spaces with sufficient guarantees that provide security and confidence to our collaborators, clients and their families,” he added.
Ever since its land-based venues were shut down, Colombia’s regulator had taken a huge share of its gaming market online and passed regulation allowing several new game modes online, such as video bingo and live-dealer casino.
However, as around 240,000 families in the country rely on land-based gaming for their income, calls to reopen retail venues have been growing in the last couple of months.