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Bodog Exits Colombian Online Gaming Market

Bodog Logo

Online sportsbook, casino, and poker provider Bodog has stopped serving players in Colombia. The company had only been accepting Colombian customers since early 2017 when Bodog expanded into a number of Latin American countries. Reports indicate that sister site Bovada has also made a similar decision to exit Colombia.

No Advance Warning Given

Surprised Smiley Face

Bodog didn't send any emails or announcements about its departure from the Colombian market until the step was completed. Players started reporting being unable to log in around Nov. 13 - 14, but a software update was deployed at about the same time. Many poker players, from Colombia and elsewhere, were unable to connect, and so it wasn't immediately evident what was going on.

email to customer showing end of Colombian support

Over the past week or so, we here at Professional Rakeback have received word from a number of Colombian customers of Bodog who told us that their accounts had been closed. Moreover, the Bodog website is blocked and inaccessible to them. On Dec. 4, 2017, the company finally acknowledged in an email to affiliates that it has stopped doing business in the country.

Similar Incidents in the Past

Folded Newspaper

This isn't the first time that an online poker site has blocked individuals from using its services without notice, leaving players surprised and dismayed. In May of this year, customers had issues logging into PKR, a 3-D poker site with a European focus. It soon emerged that the company had not paid its licensing fee to the Aldernay Gambling Control Commission, and PKR went belly-up shortly thereafter. PokerStars stepped up to the plate by transferring PKR customers' balances to its own poker room to the tune of several millions of dollars. In May 2014, 888poker suddenly banned certain users from Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, without any reasons given. Some feared that this was a precursor to the site withdrawing from Mexico entirely. This didn't turn out to be the case, but at the time, 888's actions led to much speculation and worry.

Government to Blame?

Government Building

Colombia's real money online gaming environment has recently come under control of the Coljuegos agency. In November 2016, legislation was passed that established oversight and licensing of online gambling operators. With the stroke of a pen, hundreds of firms were deemed to be in contravention of the law. Nothing much happened for several months, but then in March 2017, Coljuegos released a blacklist of online betting sites that it said it would direct ISPs to block. www[dot]Bodog[dot]eu was on the list, but it was not immediately blocked, and neither were most of the rest of the targeted websites.

Despite the ineffectiveness of this internet poker blockade, some poker room owners read the writing on the wall and took the necessary precautions, like PokerStars did when it opted to leave Columbia in July. At the end of August, Coljuegos announced plans to start intercepting financial transactions related to online wagering, perhaps under an arrangement similar to the UIGEA in the United States. This, in conjunction with beefed up URL blocking in recent months, probably contributed to Bodog's departure.

Coljuegos appears to be following a two-part strategy. First, they are cracking down on existing gaming enterprises. Then, they hope to raise revenue by making them pay for licenses. The first part of this program seems to be working fine, but the second is encountering some difficulties. Coljuegos began awarding licenses in June, and there are now five organizations that are licensed. They are:

  • Wplay.co
  • Corredor Empresarial
  • GAMING1 - Zamba.co
  • Colbet
  • Codere

Some of these entities have strong regional presences especially Spain-based Codere, which is active in several South American markets. Still, these organizations can't be mentioned in the same breath as industry behemoths like PokerStars, Betfair, and bet365. Coljuegos would probably like to see these massive corporations doing business in Colombia and paying considerable taxes, but this appears unlikely to happen. The country isn't large enough to attract the kind of attention that larger jurisdictions in its area, like Brazil and Mexico, can. The heavy-handed tactics of Coljuegos aren't helping matters either.

Coljuegos has been scrambling to do something about this unenviable situation. Previously, legally approved online poker rooms had to be ring-fenced to allow Colombia's residents to only play against other Colombians. However, a draft document released in November states that shared poker player traffic will be allowed. Furthermore, new types of gambling have been added to the menu of permissible products, including live dealer casinos and virtual sports contests.

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Where to Play?

If you're a Colombian citizen who used to enjoy Bodog's games, then you're probably searching for a new poker home. We highly recommend TigerGaming Poker. It has an attached casino and sportsbook, just like Bodog does, and the tables are pretty soft. You can claim a 100% up to $2,500 poker bonus that's the equivalent of 33% rakeback. When it's time to request a cashout, you'll benefit from Tiger's 24-hour payout guarantee, which applies to withdrawals made via Neteller, Skrill, and EcoPayz. If the firm fails to send your money in time, you'll actually get a doubled payment. Find out more about this wonderful poker room with our fact-filled TigerGaming Poker review.