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Betting in Paraguay

Published on: 01/02/2016

The Republic of Paraguay is a landlocked country which is located in South America. It shares boarders with Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina. The country has 17 provinces and one capital, Asuncion. Paraguay’s population is approximately 6.5 million, the national languages spoken are Guarani and Spanish, and the official currency used is the Guarani. The area was colonised by the Spanish from 1512 until 1811 after which, there was an unsettled period of military coups, dictatorships and revolutions. Eventually, peace arrived and a democratic government was established in 1992.

In 1943, the first-ever casino was built and the Paraguayan people have enjoyed gambling activities ever since. The later part of the 20th century saw an increase in betting facilities, from gaming and bingo halls to sportsbooks and lotteries. The law stipulates that the minimum age to partake in gambling is 18. Brazil’s Gambling industry was stifled by President Eurico Gaspar Dutra. In 1946, he banned gaming venues and sportsbooks; however, horse race betting and lotteries remained available. The Brazilian people sought out other gambling options in Paraguay, where their customs were welcomed.

The biggest horseracing track, known as the Hipódromo de Asunción, was built in 1954, and offered thoroughbred racing and pari-mutuel wagering. The Jockey Club del Paraguay owns the grass track which is the largest of its kind in the country.

For the last sixty years or so, gambling in Paraguay has thrived under relatively relaxed laws. In the late 90s, the Ministerio de Hacienda was founded in order to supervise the country’s gambling industry on matters such as tax and licensing. The Comisión Nacional de Juegos de Azar (National Committee of Games of Chance) quickly took steps to sort out Panama’s unregulated betting activities.

The Committee concentrated primarily on the casinos first; many of which were shut down after failing to pass the required legalities. As a consequence, only a few casinos survived, such as the Casino Amambay Hotel and the San Bernardino Country Club & Hotel Acuario.

The State Lottery has proven to be successful and employs many street-based sellers who offer betting opportunities. Another product available is the “Bet-Book”, which is licensed by VIBA S.A. There are plenty of kiosks located in the country where tickets can be bought. People playing Bet-Book can gamble on the eventualities of sporting events, public elections and a whole array of other propositions; for example, local beauty competitions.

Paraguay has made foreign banking illegal; a step taken to stop money laundering, and a similar regulation has been applied to off-shore casinos. However, Paraguayan law has not been extended to online betting and locals are free to frequent betting websites based abroad.

Currently there are at least 450 foreign betting web sites welcoming play from Paraguayan citizens including William Hill, Unibet, Ladbrokes, Betfred, Paddy Power and Bet365. Many of the online sportsbooks include support in the Spanish language. Transactions can be made using debit and credit cards, as well as pre paid cards for e-commerce financial services; for example Moneybookers, Entropay and Click2Pay.