Bolivia is an exotic country located in South America. It has two capital cities, which makes this country exceptional. Unfortunately, Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America. According to official data, over 37% of the population lives below the national poverty line. Recent studies show that people living in poor regions are more susceptible to gambling problems because they stake their money in hopes of winning large sums.
Casino gambling is quite popular among Bolivians, and the pastime has been legal since 2002. As far as online gambling is concerned, Bolivian law does not mention anything about it. In other words, online gambling is part of the grey economy. However, this is expected to change soon.
Best Casinos in Bolivia
There is no law regulating or prohibiting online gambling in Bolivia. Therefore, casino enthusiasts are free to play at any offshore casino they want. But since there is no regulatory authority that issues licenses and oversees the industry, players have to keep their eyes peeled for fraudulent gambling sites.
A proper license from a respected authority, reliable payment methods supported, and games from acclaimed software providers are some of the aspects indicating that a given web-based casino is safe. Reading casino reviews will also help you to find a reliable gambling site. Here are some of the best online casinos for players from Bolivia.
Best Casino Bonuses in Bolivia
Bolivian casino fans will find a decent range of offshore web-based casinos that support the Bolivian Boliviano (BOB) and feature various bonuses for newcomers and existing players. Of course, some operators offer more generous promotions than others, but be wary of the wagering requirements associated with the bonuses. Here are some of the bonuses Bolivian players can take advantage of.
No Deposit Bonus
No deposit bonuses are quite popular among casino enthusiasts because such promotions allow players to try the web-based casino for free. Unfortunately, finding a gambling site that offers a no deposit bonus is not easy. No deposit bonuses usually come in the form of bonus cash or free spins. Winnings generated from the promotion are subject to wagering requirements. Besides, most operators who offer no deposit bonuses to their newcomers impose a maximum limit on the withdrawable amount.
When you fund your casino account for the first time, you will qualify for a Welcome Bonus that consists of a deposit bonus and free spins. To cash out your profits, you must meet a wagering requirement. Given that you fail to do so within a designated timeframe, any winnings generated from the bonus and the bonus funds will be forfeited. Besides, players must comply with a maximum bet restriction when playing with an active bonus. Keep in mind that some games contribute more toward the wagering requirement than others.
Assuming that you have already used the Welcome Bonus, you may be eligible to take advantage of a reload bonus. Reload bonuses may come as part of the welcome offer or as a separate promotion for regular casino fans. But in both cases, reload bonuses are associated with playthrough requirements that casino fans must satisfy in order to cash out their profits. Reload bonuses will match your deposit by a specific percentage up to a maximum amount and provide you with some free spins to play with.
Regular players can benefit from some VIP promotions and perks. Most web-based casinos allow anyone to become a member of their VIP programs. However, some gambling sites feature loyalty schemes that are available by invitation only. Online casinos have their own terms regarding the VIP schemes they offer, but most allow casino enthusiasts to earn comp points when they play their favorite games for real money. Comp points help players advance through the different VIP levels. Besides, casino fans can exchange comp points for real cash once a specific number of them is accumulated.
Casino Regulation in Bolivia
Bolivia declared independence from Spain in 1825. Gambling in Bolivia was legal from 1871 to 1938 when the government introduced a ban on all games of chance. But the ban did not prevent casino fans from playing their favorite games. At that time, bingo was the most sought-after game. In 1996, the government decided to license and regulate bingo halls.
In 2002, land-based casinos were legalized. The government authorized the Russian-backed company Lotex to open the first legal casino in the country. The same year, Lotex opened Bingo Bahití in Santa Cruz. The gambling establishment operated as a bingo hall but also hosted many slot machines.
After Russia prohibited all forms of gambling outside the four designated zones, many Russians decided to move their gambling businesses to Bolivia. The country was the perfect spot for operators due to its loose regulations and affordable gambling taxes. A loophole in the law allowed licensed companies to open an unlimited number of gambling establishments because a single license covered a single company. In other words, the law does not explicitly state that a licensed company can open one gambling establishment only.
But many Russians who established their gambling businesses in Bolivia were found to have ties to organized crime. That is why the Bolivian government decided to tighten gambling regulations. New legislation was passed in 2010, restricting the locations where gambling establishments can be built and what activities they could offer. Extending credit to players and using credit cards for gambling was also prohibited. The same year, Autoridad de Fiscalización y Control Social del Juego (AJ) was established to regulate the gambling industry in Bolivia. At the moment, AJ is responsible for regulating and overseeing the gambling industry in Bolivia.
In 2011, another piece of legislation came into effect, levying a gambling tax of 30% on operators and 15% on players’ winnings. Burdensome taxes and tight regulations usually trigger an exodus of operators, but that was the aim of the legislation. Russian businessmen were forced to close their gambling locations and leave the market. Authorities confiscated gaming machines from illegally operating gambling locations.
In 2014, the House of Senators approved amendments to the Lotteries and Gambling Law, allowing the Office of Gaming and Social Control (AJ) to sell all confiscated machines to authorized operators at an auction. In 2018, the Authority of Taxation and Social Control over Gaming (AJ) in Bolivia presented a new app called ‘AJ Móvil’ in a bid to combat illegal gaming. The app allows casino enthusiasts to check the legality of a given gaming platform or venue.
Although casino gambling is legal in Bolivia, many gambling locations and casinos could not survive due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the moment, only one land-based casino operates in Bolivia.
Online Gambling in Bolivia
Bolivian legislation does not mention anything about internet gambling. But online gambling is booming, which means changes are absolutely needed. The lack of regulation also means that there are no measures to protect players’ interests. Currently, online casinos licensed in foreign countries are more than happy to accept players from Bolivia. Unfortunately, not all of them are safe. Hence, players from Bolivia must be vigilant when selecting a preferred gambling site.
Illegal gambling drains countries’ economies. Fortunately, many governments, including the Bolivian, realized that regulating online gambling will lead to economic growth. In 2020, AJ Executive Director Juan Carlos Antonio Abrego presented a proposal to overhaul gambling regulation in an attempt to create more jobs and deal with the financial problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The reform includes a new sanctioning and tax regime. A key point of the proposal is the regulation of online gambling. It was announced that Bolivia will also use a remote control system for slot machines. But at the time of writing this article, online gambling is not yet legalized.
Is it legal for players from Bolivia to play casino games online?
No law prohibits or legalizes online gambling in Bolivia. Thus, online gambling is neither legal nor illegal. Casino enthusiasts from Bolivia who play at online casinos are not prosecuted or penalized. However, there was a proposal to regulate online gambling in Bolivia. Therefore, we believe that it is a matter of time before Bolivia regulates online gambling.
What are the most reliable payment methods for Bolivian players?
Online casinos that accept players from Bolivia support various payment solutions. Bolivian casino fans can pick from a range of safe banking solutions, including but not limited to Visa, Mastercard, Neteller, and Skrill. As far as cryptocurrencies are concerned, we must note that Bolivia banned the usage of cryptocurrencies in 2014. Reputable gambling sites process deposits immediately. Withdrawals may take 3 to 5 days, depending on the selected payment method. Note that the withdrawal timeframe also varies between casinos.
What are the most well-liked games in Bolivia?
Bingo and lottery games enjoy great popularity among casino fans from Bolivia. However, many Bolivians are also fond of slots because spinning the reels requires no special skills or knowledge. There is no shortage of casino enthusiasts who enjoy playing table games such as blackjack, poker, and roulette.
How Bolivians can be sure that a given online casino is trustworthy?
Many offshore gambling sites accept Bolivian players. However, not all of them are reliable and trustworthy. When selecting an online casino to join, Bolivian players must ensure that the gambling site is properly licensed. It is also crucial to check whether the web-based casino offers efficient customer support services.
What fees do casino operators impose on deposits and withdrawals?
Reputable web-based casinos usually do not impose fees on deposits and withdrawals. Of course, there are trustworthy gambling sites that may charge you a nominal fee for cashing out your profits via a specific payment method. Another important thing to mention is that at some web-based casinos, deposits through Skrill and Neteller do not qualify for promotions.