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Betting in Uruguay

Published on: 08/08/2016

The Republic of Uruguay is located in South America. The region is bordered by Brazil, Argentina and the Atlantic Ocean. Uruguay has a population of 3.3 million people - with the majority living in the capital city of Montevideo. The official language spoken is Spanish and the local currency is the Peso.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, Portugal and Spain battled against each other for ownership of Uruguay, and these historical events are still apparent today. Between 1825 and 1828, the country declared independence. A unitary republic was formed - however, the 20th century was marked by revolutions and military coups as well as martial law. Eventually, in the 1980s, the country became a democratic nation again.

Uruguay is run as a representative democratic republic and is a unitary state, managed by a presidential government. The nation’s earliest gambling activity was horse racing. In 1889, the Maronas Race Track was established in Montevideo and was in business for over one hundred years. Eventually, the club ceased to trade due to money issues. In 2003, the track underwent a rehabilitation programme and reopened under the new name of the Hipodromo National de Maronas.

The Hipodromo National de Maronas holds racing events every weekend from 12pm until 6pm. The venue offers a racebook as well as 1,500 slot machines. Customers can enjoy either of the two restaurants on site, which can also be booked for celebrations and functions. The Hipica Rioplatense Uruguay S.A. is the main body for all horse racing in Uruguay. It is signed up to the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (based in France) and is responsible for managing the statistics of Uruguayan breeding and betting. Reports in 2010 showed that the gambling turnover in Uruguay was approximately €18.1 million, with 70% being returned to the bettors. Throughout the nation, some 3,500 thoroughbred mares and stallions are registered.

Casinos play a major role within the country’s gambling industry. Around 19 casinos can be found nationwide, such as the Casino de Estado Victoria Plaza, in Montevideo. Two more are located in Rivera, and another three in Punta del Este.

More casinos are available in Chuy, Cerro Largo, Colonia Del Sacramento, Carmelo, Artigas, Atlantida and Duranzo. The regions of San Jose, La Palona, Piriapolis, Paysandu, Rio Branco and Rocha each have one casino in operation. The minimum age to wager is 18. Uruguayans enjoy playing Poker, particularly Texas Hold’em. Many of the casinos are open for business around the clock and feature poker tables. Poker players can take part in the Latin American Poker Tour which happens annually in Punta Del Este. The event attracts hundreds of players who have the opportunity to win prizes of US$0,000 or more.

Uruguay’s government-run lottery goes by the name of Loterias y Quinielas. The lottery is rather small compared to those on offer in other South American nations. However, Uruguay does provide a lot of choice, for example, instant lotteries, scratch cards, online lotteries and raffles, as well as sports betting opportunities. Bets on sports can be placed through the lottery. Bookmaking on the other hand is against the law in Uruguay.

The locals are extremely fond of football and motor racing. Uruguay is one of only five countries to have won the FIFA World Cup twice, which is made even more impressive by the fact that Uruguay is the smallest nation in history ever to lift the cup.

Wagering on fixed odds for sports can only be done so via the internet. Uruguayan law does not cover internet gambling and no licences have been issued for the activity. This has led to off-shore bookmakers taking advantage and happily accepting play from the Uruguayans. Currently there are over 450 foreign gaming web sites available to Uruguayans, 91 of which provide information using the Spanish language. Some of these companies include William Hill, Paddy Power, Ladbrokes and Bet365.