El Salvador

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El Salvador is classified as a white-level online gambling jurisdiction as this activity exists in an unclear regulatory framework.
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Located in Central America, El Salvador, whose name means “The Saviour”, is officially referred to as the Republic of El Salvador. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras, on the northwest by Guatemala, and on the south by the Pacific Ocean.

When it comes to land-based and online gambling, the situation is rather unclear. While there are no specific laws and rules nor the institution which precisely regulate these branches of the entertainment industry (especially via the Internet), people gamble.

At the moment of writing this article, El Salvador has four official casinos located in hotels, and approximately 25 smaller venues nationwide. As people from this region aren’t prevented from gambling via the web, foreign operators offer their products and services to the locals.

Overview of Land-Based Industry

overview_of_land_based_industryIn 1999, the Legislative Assembly announced the ban on all casinos in the country, indicating that they would be shut down within a year. However, local officials continued to approve gaming venues in their jurisdictions, aiming to generate additional tax income.

Three years later, in 2002, the Assembly published an official reading of the “Police Law” (Ley de Policía) from 1882, reaffirming its validity. The Law indicated that any kind of authorization for the opening of gaming facilities is classified as illegal. Local mayors were ordered to shut down all gaming venues operating in their territories.

Despite this order, gaming activities continued to burgeon locally, with licenses continuing to be granted to interested parties. For that reason, in 2011, the Police Law was revoked and replaced with “The Law of Violations and Citizen Coexistence” (“Ley de Contravenciones y Convivencia Ciudadana”).

According to this legislation, gaming was no longer prohibited, however, the marketing, installation, or operating of “electronic recreational gaming machines”was not allowed “without permission.”

Worth stressing out is that there’s no gaming board or any kind of official regulatory institution to govern the sector. El Salvador has 14 departments for administrative purposes, subdivided into 262 municipalities. Permissions to operate are issued on a local level by one of the 14 governments.

Also, there are no federal taxations in place. Venues are subject to paying taxes based on individual contracts with municipal governments.

Well-Regulated Lottery Sector

well_regulated_lottery_sectorThe Lotería Nacional de Beneficencia de El Salvador (LNB) operates the lottery. At the time being, there are more than 100 dedicated kiosks and over 1,300 registered vendors nationwide operating under the LNB umbrella.

In 2017, the National Lottery announced that it was working on a gaming law that would encompass multiple sectors, including casinos. As suggested, the body would retain its organizational structure but would expand its duties to supervise other forms of gambling in the state.

One of the key purposes of the new bill would be to ensure the country has multiple lottery operators and more casinos, with precisely defined regulations for all sectors. As far as stressed out, all the operators, including the LNB, would be obliged to contribute monthly to the regulatory body and pay taxes of 55% on casino earnings.

In June 2020, LNB announced a partnership with lottery and gaming operator Tenlot Group to expand its offering. This contract enabled Tenlot to co-manage online games and sports betting products, while the LNB would remain in charge of traditional lottery games.

Less than a year upon joining forces, two companies launched gambling site Dale.sv. This online venue offers sports wagering (including in-play and virtual sports betting) as well as casino and live games.

December 2021 brought a step forward in regulating web-based activities as The Ministry of Finance presented a law to the Legislative Assembly. With this law, the National Lottery would be granted the right to both supervise and manage sports betting and online casino games all over the country.

Is It Legal to Gamble Online in El Salvador?

is_it_legal_to_gamble_online_in_el_salvadorAs hinted in the introductory part, players from El Salvador are not banned to gamble online. They can access any website they want. Offshore operators aren’t restricted from targeting the local consumers.

On the other hand, not all the operators will necessarily accept punters from this Caribbean region, due to their in-house rules and policies. For that reason, the wisest thing to do is check the Terms and Conditions and look for the list of prohibited/ permitted countries. If El Salvador is not on the list of countries with restricted access to that specific platform, then have a go, explore the site and see what they have to offer.

Of course, do inspect all the sectors closely and see what’s the selection of games and providers like, what sorts of bonuses are offered. See if wagering requirements are too high and which games contribute towards playthrough completion. Also, check the available payment methods and banking policies, with a special accent on fees and min/ max amounts to deposit and withdraw.

Player Protection in El Salvador

According to the comprehensive report by “Know Your Country", the country made significant progress in fighting against money laundering during 2019. This was mainly due to the Attorney General’s efforts to thoroughly investigate, and prosecute those in breach of the current laws and seize the related assets.

The current law has been in force since 1998 and was amended in 2016 to become compliant with the mechanisms instructed by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF). These regimes were implemented not only in El Salvador but in other Latin American countries as well.

Other than this segment, there are no other protection measures in place. That’s why it’s each player’s individual responsibility to act responsibly and do his/ her best to stay within the safe limits of digital entertainment.

Respectable gambling platforms are usually packed with a variety of useful tools such as deposit and/or loss limits, cool off and reality check buttons and some of them even offer the possibility to self-exclude. That’s why we strongly recommend punters to visit such places which prioritize player protection.

Therefore, take time to explore our directory and read the insightful reviews. This way you’ll be able to make an informed decision and find something that truly caters to your needs. Play responsibly!

Located in Central America, El Salvador, whose name means “The Saviour” , is officially referred to as the Republic of El Salvador. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras, on the northwest by Guatemala, and on the south by the Pacific Ocean. When it comes to land-based and online gambling, the situation is rather unclear. While there are no specific laws and rules nor the institution which precisely regulate these branches of the entertainment industry (especially via the Internet),...
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