Simon’s Guide to Gambling and Casinos in Bolivia

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This is a picture of the Copacabana beach, located in Bolivia.

Copacabana, Bolivia

 

Bolivia has a rather varied history when it comes to gambling and casino laws & regulation. Gambling had been completely banned from 1938 until 1996, at which point the Bolivian government loosened some of the gambling prohibitions.

200 gambling establishments were given temporary licenses to operate slot machines in 1996. Lottery games were also legalised, though only as a state monopoly. The next change in gambling regulation came in 2002, when casino gambling – previously banned to subdue the associated drug trade – was legalised.

As a result, several casino operators saw Bolivia as a prime target for investment. This was especially true after 2009: Russian gambling was completely banned, and casinos closed overnight. Russian investors began to relocate to Bolivia, enjoying the relatively loose casino regulations in the country.*

The Bolivian government felt the need to react to this influx of somewhat questionable investment, and decided that stricter regulations were necessary. The new gambling law took effect in 2011, and though stricter regulations were supported by casino operators and employees alike, the new law also introduced significantly higher taxes.

The newly created Gaming Control Authority is now in charge of all matters and technical issues regarding gambling, including online gambling. Despite this designated authority, there are currently no laws in place in Bolivia regulating online gambling whatsoever.

 

*Source: Casino Gambling: Russia’s Export to Latin America (Time)

 

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Casino gambling in Bolivia

 

Online casino gambling in Bolivia: unregulated

 

As mentioned in the introduction, casino regulation in Bolivia is quite complex. Casino gambling has been legal since 2002, after which many investors, especially from Russia, began to flock to the country to enjoy the opportunities provided by the loose regulations.

The Bolivian government decided to strike down on the casino gambling activities, and a new gambling law came into effect in 2011. The law introduced stricter regulations as well as increased taxes on casino operators and players alike. As a result, several of the country’s gambling establishments were forced to shut down. After continued efforts on the government’s part to prevent casino gambling illegal under the new regulation, the country’s largest casino and Bingo hall, Bingo Bahiti was also closed, and after a while no licensed casinos remained in Bolivia.

The 2011 gambling law also created a new authority on gambling regulation and licences, the Autoridad de Fiscalización y Control Social del Juego (AJ).* The first casino license after the purging was given to one of two remaining licensed operators, and Flamingo Casino was allowed to open in 2014. The other operator, Max Entertainment is expected to receive a land-based casino license as well in the near future.

Despite all the efforts by the Bolivian government to regulate casino gambling, they don’t seem to be concerned with online casino gambling. Currently there are no licensed casino sites in Bolivia, but there are also no laws in place preventing any Bolivian player from accessing foreign online casino sites.

 

*Source: Autoridad de Fiscalización y Control Social del Juego

Bingo in Bolivia

 

Online Bingo in Bolivia: unregulated

 

Bingo had been illegal in Bolivia until 2002, but was legalised along with casino gambling. The largest casino in Bolivia, Bingo Bahiti, was actually a large Bingo hall which also offered some casino games in the forms of video machines. However, Bingo Bahiti was shut down in 2011 due to legal issues.

While Bingo is quite popular in Bolivia, online Bingo games never became widespread. The main reason for this was likely the simplicity of playing live Bingo, while Bingo Bahiti and its several franchised establishments were in operation.

Since Bingo Bahiti has been shut down, online Bingo became the most easily accessible option for Bolivian players. Although there are no Bolivian online Bingo sites, foreign online Bingo platforms are freely available.

 

 

Poker in Bolivia

 

Online Poker in Bolivia: unregulated

 

Prior to the legalisation of gambling establishments in Bolivia, Poker games were hard to find within the country. Between 2002 and 2011, many gambling halls began offering both live Poker games and video Poker machines. However, after the 2011 gambling law, 500 such establishments were shut down, and live Poker once again became extremely rare. The freshly licensed casino, Casino Flamingo offers live Poker along with several other table games.

With the scarcity of available legal options, online Poker is the best choice for Bolivian Poker players. There are no online Poker sites licensed in Bolivia, but players are free to participate in games offered by international online Poker sites.

 

 

Sports betting in Bolivia

 

Online sports betting in Bolivia: unregulated

 

Sports betting was illegal until 2002 along with other forms of gambling. Since it has been legalised, some licensed sportsbooks have appeared, but they seem to have trouble competing with the previously established illegal bookmakers.

There are also no licensed online sports betting sites in Bolivia. Gamblers looking to wager on sports events should turn to international online sports betting sites, many of which accept bolivianos as a form of payment.

 

 

Lottery in Bolivia

 

Online lottery in Bolivia: unregulated

 

Traditional lottery games are a monopoly of the state in Bolivia. The national lottery is called  Lotería Nacional de Beneficencia y Salubridad. Revenues from the games serve to support sports and health programs. While the national lottery has a website where winning numbers can be viewed, there is no online version available.

With a lack of Bolivian online lotteries, the only option for gamblers are foreign online lottery sites. Several such international websites welcome Bolivian gamblers.

 

 

Bitcoin gambling in Bolivia

 

Bitcoin gambling in Bolivia: illegal

 

Bolivia’s central bank, El Banco Central de Bolivia has issued a statement saying all currencies not issued by the government are banned, including Bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies.*

As a result, while gambling on foreign gambling sites is not prohibited, Bolivians would have a hard time trying to use Bitcoin in the country.

 

*Source: Coindesk – Cental Bank of Bolivia bans digital currencies

 

Online gambling websites accepting players from Bolivia

 

The following online gambling websites accept players from Bolivia.

 

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BGO casino – accepting players from Bolivia

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BGO online bookmaker accepting players from Bolivia

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32 Red casino accepting players from Bolivia

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32 Red online bookmaker, sports betting website accepting players from Bolivia

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Black Lotus casino accepting players from Bolivia

 

 

 

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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: 2015.09.28.

 

Summary
Simon's Guide to Gambling and Casinos in Bolivia
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling and Casinos in Bolivia
Description
An overview of the changes in legislation of gambling and casinos in Bolivia.
Author

2 Responses

  1. Angelina says:

    Hi,
    do you have any new updates if online casino gambling in Bolivia is still legal?
    Thanks,
    Angelina

    • You can check the date of the last update at the bottom of the article, at “LAst updated:”. The information presented here is accurate up to that date. If we update this page we will update the date it was last updated as well.

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