Simon’s Guide to Gambling and Casinos in Ecuador

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This a picture of the interior (picture take at the reception) of the Best Western Plaza Hotel. The Plaza Hotel previously housed one of the biggest casinos in Ecuador.

Best Western Plaza Hotel & Casino, Ecuador (no longer a casino)

 

Gambling has been illegal in Ecuador since 2011, when all casinos and gambling establishments were forced to shut down. Before that Ecuador hosted dozens of casinos, including 6 “luxury” casinos. Thanks the liberal gambling regulations established about 50 years ago, the South-American country had become a popular gambling hub.

However, along with the popularity of gambling in the country, money laundering and corruption soared as well. At least, that is how president Rafael Corra saw the situation when he convinced the Ecuadorian government to consider shutting down all legal gambling in the country.

A referendum was held in May 2011 with the question: “Do you agree that businesses devoted to games of chance such as casinos and slot machine parlors should be banned?”* The referendum passed, and after some debate gambling was declared to be illegal, casinos and other gambling establishments were given 6 months to close.**

This decision caused protests to erupt from the Ecuadorian gambling companies. The industry had provided jobs for about 25 000 employees, all of whom were forced into unemployment.

Online gambling had never been regulated in Ecuador. As a result, the legal status of online gambling is currently controversial. The ban on gambling was aimed at casinos and gambling halls, but did not mention online gambling sites. There are no online gambling operators licensed in Ecuador, but there are also no laws preventing locals from accessing international online gambling sites. As a result, locals are free to play on foreign gambling sites.

 

*Source: Ecuador shuts down its Casinos and Gaming Halls (innovate gaming)

**Source: Asemblea Nacional, República del Ecuador

 

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Summary:

 

 

Casino gambling in Ecuador

 

Online casino gambling in Ecuador: unregulated

 

Casino gambling in Ecuador has been illegal since 2011. After the referendum proposed by president Rafael Corra, casino gambling was banned, and all casinos and gambling halls were forced to shut down. Despite outcries from the industry and the predicted rise of unemployment, the government was unrelenting.

Prior to the decision to prohibit all casino gambling in the country, there had been dozens of casinos operating in the country attached to hotels. Casino laws regulated the number of table games by the quality of the hotel attached: five star hotels had to offer at least four different types of table games along with slot machines, while 3-4 star hotels had to run at least two types.

Interestingly, online casino gambling had never been regulated in Ecuador. Online casinos were also not included in the law banning brick and mortar gambling. As a result, locals are free to play on international online casino sites, though there are no online casinos licensed in Ecuador.

 

 

Bingo in Ecuador

 

Online bingo in Ecuador: unregulated

 

Bingo is an immensely popular game in Ecuador. Before 2011 there had been several large bingo halls operating in the country as well as video bingo machines.

Online gambling, including online bingo had never been regulated in Ecuador. Online bingo operators were also not included in the law banning brick and mortar gambling. For lack of a gambling licence, local companies may not offer online bingo games in Ecuador. There are, however, several international bingo sites available in the country, where Ecuadorian gamblers may play without any repercussions.

 

 

Poker in Ecuador

 

Online poker in Ecuador: unregulated

 

Poker has been illegal in Ecuador since the referendum and the following gambling law of 2011. The law banned all forms of brick and mortar gambling including poker; citing corruption and money laundering as a reason for the decision. Prior to 2011, live poker games had been available at the country’s many casinos. The most famous poker player hailing from Ecuador is Carlos “The Matador” Mortensen.

Online gambling, including online poker had never been regulated in Ecuador. Online poker operators were also not included in the law banning brick and mortar gambling. As there have never been any online poker licences issued, local companies may not offer online poker in Ecuador. There are, however, several international online poker sites available in the country, where Ecuadorian gamblers may play without any repercussions.

 

 

Sports betting in Ecuador

 

Online sports betting in Ecuador: unregulated

 

Sports betting had been legal and quite popular in Ecuador before 2011. The locals’ favorite sport to bet on was football, though other sports were available as well. Dog and horse race betting, however, had never been widespread. The 2011 gambling regulation outlawed sports betting as well, and currently there are no legal opportunities for live sports betting in Ecuador.

Online sports betting had never been regulated in Ecuador. Online sports betting operators were also not included in the law banning brick and mortar gambling. As there have never been any licences issued, local companies may not offer online sports betting in Ecuador. There are, however, several international online bookmakers available in the country, where Ecuadorian gamblers may play without any repercussions.

 

 

Lottery in Ecuador

 

Online lottery in Ecuador: legal, state monopoly

 

Lottery is the only form of gambling currently legal in Ecuador. The country has a national lottery which has a monopoly over the Ecuadorian lottery market. The lottery offers three numeric lottery games as well as scratch cards.

Lottery tickets are also available for buying online. Apart from the Lotería Nacional there are no other online lottery operators licensed in Ecuador. However, locals are free to participate in lottery draws on international online lottery sites.

 

 

Bitcoin gambling in Ecuador

 

Bitcoin gambling in Ecuador: illegal

 

Bitcoin is banned in Ecuador along with all other virtual currencies in circulation. The government has plans for introducing a virtual currency issued by the country’s national bank, but the plans have not come to fruition as of yet. As a result, Bitcoin gambling is also illegal, though there have been no reports of players prosecuted for Bitcoin gambling.

 

 

Online gambling websites accepting players from Ecuador

Gambling is illegal in Ecuador since 2011. However, online gambling was not regulated before the ban and avoided the attention of the government during the ban and ever since. Therefore, most foreign online casinos, bookmakers and other types of online gambling websites can freely accept players from Ecuador.

The following online casinos and bookmakers accept players from Ecuador.

 

bgo_casino_bonus_banner

BGO casino – accepting players from Ecuador

Euro online casino

Casino Euro – accepting players from Ecuador

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32 Red casino accepting players from Ecuador

free_bet_32red_banner

32 Red online bookmaker, sports betting website – accepting players from Ecuador

black_lotus_casino_bonus

Black Lotus casino accepting players from Ecuador

 

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This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.

 

Last updated: 2015. 11. 04.

Summary
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling and Casinos in Ecuador
Description
This gambling guide focuses on the legal status of gambling and casinos in Ecuador after 2011; the big gambling banning spree in the country.
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