Betting Sites in Guatemala

Guatemala is a presidential republic located in Central America, with the area of 108,900 square kilometers. The country is divided into 22 provinces (departamentos) and 338 municipalities with Guatemala City as the capital. At first, the government passed a law in 1880 to make it illegal but they later on reconsidered their decision and legalized some lotteries in 2005. However, the past few years have been characterized by continued attempts to make sports betting and betting sites in Guatemala legal.

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No forms of gambling are permitted in Guatemala except for the lottery and bingo. This prohibition is a result of the old Penal Code from 1880 which has not been updated since. Even though these laws are the ones that strictly forbid gambling, but in fact there are still casinos and betting shops everywhere in the big cities. Enforcement is weak, with no prosecutions or regulatory bodies which are responsible for the supervision of gambling. The talks about the legalization and regulation of gambling to fight money laundering and get more income through taxes have been taking place.

The background of gambling legislation was the history.

  • 1880: Guatemala took the lead in Central America by being one of the first countries to legalize games of chance, making gambling a crime under Section 477 of Decree Number 17-73 of the Guatemala Penal Code.
  • 2005: The lottery was legally and officially established, though the regulation of it.
  • 2011: Draft law No. 4294 suggested to levy a 3% tax on all forms of gambling and set up a regulatory body under the Ministry of Finance.
  • 2013: Draft law No. 4685 was the law that sought to control casinos, video lotteries and bingo halls with a 3% gambling tax.
  • 2014: The Congressional Economic Commission endorsed a decision to regulate gambling establishments.

The main Prohibited and Allowed Bets

  • Prohibited: Gambling is in all its shapes, that is casinos, unregulated betting shops and illegal gambling houses.
  • Permitted: Lottery and bingo, which are well regulated.

Gambling Law and Regulation in Guatemala – 5 Things to Know

Gambling in Guatemala has been a crime since 1880.

Licensing and monitoring the lottery activities in 2005.

Very tightened anti-money laundering measures such as

The proposed regulatory framework is still under discussion.

The given statement is a proposal to pick the reputable betting sites.

Regulatory Agencies of Betting Sites in Guatemala

Proposed regulatory bodies include:

  • National Gambling Commission (Comisión Nacional de Juegos de Azar): Made up by the members of the Ministry of Economy, Tax Office, Director of Banks and Guatemala Tourism Institute.
  • Director of Gaming: The secondary body which is responsible for the decentralized regulation, investigating the licensing, implementing of administrative and judicial actions as well as collecting taxes, license fees and fines for non-compliance.

Gambling Licensing and Fees

  • Ministry of Interior (MINGOB): Now the one in charge of giving licenses to gambling businesses. Nevertheless, the information about the licensing process, fees and contact details is not easily accessible on their website.
  • Lottery Licensing: Supreme Ventures Group is the one which manages it and also was given the responsibility of organizationg lottery as well as licensing retailers.

Gambling Taxes of Betting Sites in Guatemala

Guatemala has no proper gambling taxation system. In 2013, the draft law (No. 4685) suggested a 3% gambling tax but it has not been passed yet.

Anti-Money Laundering Measures

Operators have to inform the Administration of Special Verification (IVE) under the Bank Superintendence about their financial transactions so that money laundering can be avoided. Later on, this regulation was introduced after authorities had found out that casinos were used to launder money for the organized crime syndicates. As a result of this, the government annulled licenses and shut down many locations in 2006.

Ongoing talks and the future of the project

The issue of gambling has been a subject to the deliberations and even legalized since 2011. The suggested regulatory system is intended to be comprised of two agencies that will supervise and control the industry. Also, the law has such articles that prohibit people under the influence of alcohol or drugs from entering and it also incorporates very strict anti-money laundering measures.

Key dates and events of the presentation are as follows.

  • 1880: Firstly, the criminalization of gambling.
  • 2005: The lottery regulation and legalization.
  • 2011: Draft law No. 4294 suggesting a 3% tax and regulation body.
  • 2013: Draft law No. 4685 is suggesting a 3% gambling tax and regulatory system.
  • 2014: The Congressional Economic Commission approval of the regulation for casinos, video lotteries and bingo halls.


Even though the gambling laws in Guatemala are now very strict, there is already a movement to make them more liberal and even legal. This would not only be a way to fight the illegal activities like money laundering but also it would be a method of boosting the economy through taxation. For those who want to take part in Guatemala sports betting or just to discover the betting sites of Guatemala, it is better to select well-known international or local operators as they can avoid legal problems.

FAQ about the betting sites in Guatemala

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