Lawmakers in Uruguay are considering to block foreign gambling operators, in order to protect the state run monopoly. According to local news outlet El Observador, a new legal framework could be introduced that would lead to the blacklisting on foreign casinos and sportsbooks.
More specifically, Pablo Ferreri, Uruguay’s Undersecretary of Economy has recently stated that although there are certain laws in effect that specifically prohibit foreign betting sites from targeting local players, no legal action has yet been taken. Following that, speculation has arisen that an ISP blocking procedure is set to start in the coming weeks, that will surely impact the Uruguayan market.
This isn't the first time lawmakers have tried to alter the legal framework, as during the spring of 2016, significant changes were made to Uruguay’s existing gambling laws. Regardless, these alterations did not lead to much progress in the country’s legislature.
Earlier this year, the Uruguayan Casino Control Board revealed that wagers placed at local casinos grew 6.5% to U$6.15 billion (approximately $216 million) in 2016. There was also an increase in the amounts gambled on Lottery, Supermatch, Tómbola, and related products. Wagers on those totalled U$10.8 billion (approximately $379.2 million) last year, up U$281 million from 2015.
According to industry experts, Uruguay is set to follow Colombia's example, as they recently kicked out foreign operators, despite lacking the necessary authorization to do so. The ISP blocking however, are expected to be the first step before a licensing procedure is set up for any interested foreign operators.