The South American nation of Uruguay has announced that it is blocking access to 21 online gambling sites that it says are violating the law. This move followed reports in February that the authorities were working on mechanisms for detecting and blocking these sites. The companies targeted include PokerStars, bet365, bwin, and 888. All forms of gambling including online casino, poker, and sports betting will be blocked.
In the last week of September 2017, Uruguay's new Accountability Law was signed by the president, and its provisions came into effect at the beginning of 2018. This was a comprehensive piece of legislation dealing with many topics, such as technology, fraud, taxes, and trade. One of its stipulations was that the “provision of online services, technological platforms and applications linked to gambling or online betting” is prohibited.
The agency tasked with enforcing the terms of the legislation is the National Directorate of Lotteries and Quinielas (DNLQ). In February, it began the work of determining which entities were in violation of the law and following the procedures outlined for dealing with the situation. This involved sending the companies notice and setting a deadline by which they must cease offering their services in Uruguay.
Because it wasn't easy to identify the responsible individuals at some of the gambling concerns in question, information about the DNLQ's decrees was posted in the country's official government publication (Diario Oficial). According to the April 6 edition of the Diario Oficial, the proscribed domains are:
The DNLQ is working with the Communications Services Regulatory Unit, the Central Bank of Uruguay, credit card issuers, and telcos to implement the blocking of the affected websites. According to media reports, the blocking of the 21 sites was begun on March 30.
According to comments made by Luis Gama, head of the DNLQ, the motivation behind blocking offshore gambling services is to safeguard the public. However, there may be other reasons for the recent decision to prevent Uruguayans from accessing these sites.
The only entity legally permitted to offer online wagering in Uruguay is the sports-betting site Supermatch: a division of DNLQ. Preventing Uruguayans from wagering with other firms will undoubtedly drive traffic to Supermatch and thereby increase its revenue.
Home Page of Uruguay's Government-Run Betting Site, Supermatch
Also, Gama hinted that the government may eventually license other operators to provide internet gambling products. If such a scheme were put into effect, then the government could raise a considerable sum in taxes and licensing fees. This is the model that Colombia followed: first banning online gaming companies and then licensing a few of them under a strictly regulated regime.
Unlike Colombia, which has a population of around 50 million, Uruguay is home to only 3.4 million. Thus, it's unlikely that any hopes for a burgeoning regulated online gaming market in the country would prove successful.
In a recent radio interview, Luis Gama stated that a further 19 websites were identified that were accepting bets from Uruguay residents in contravention of the regulations. These sites are the next targets for DNLQ. As officials gain more experience blockading offending web pages, we could see the blacklist eventually increase from 40 to hundreds.
If you're someone affected by the decision of the Uruguay government to restrict your freedoms, then don't worry. There are still several online sports, poker, and casino organizations that have not yet come under the scrutiny of the DNLQ. We highly recommend TigerGaming, which allows you to conduct these three forms of wagering along with several others. When you make your first deposit, you can claim a bonus of 100% up to $2,500 to bet on sports, an identical offer in the poker room, and three separate $1,000 casino bonuses. Read our comprehensive TigerGaming review page for all the details
If you are a crypto-currency user, you might be interested in another site we recommend. That site is NitrogenSports. They offer sports betting, casino games, and online poker to players around the world. Anonymous and crypto-currency only. Read our NitrogenSports poker review for more information.