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Paraguay, a landlocked country in central South America with a population of about 7 million people, has had a rather rocky ride politically up until very recently, first being ruled by Spain, who they achieved independence from in 1811, and then seeing themselves being ruled by a series of dictators until 1989, through a military coup that finally led to free elections for the first time in 1993.
Paraguay’s economy is mostly reliant on agriculture, and in spite of having the second lowest per capita GDP among the 12 South American countries, second only to Guyana, the economy here continues to grow, and things are looking brighter here overall. (1)
Gambling has been legal in some forms at least in Paraguay for a long time, with the first casino being opened here back in 1943. The laws of Paraguay only permit licensed gambling, and while there is a good amount of legal land based gambling here, including playing at one of the countries’ 3 casinos, it is illegal to offer gambling here without a license. (2)
There used to be a number of other casinos here, unlicensed and therefore illegal, but the government ended up really cracking down on these operations, and while this has hasn’t been completely effective, it has resulted in several of these operations being closed down, and the government just recently passed a new law that will allow them to crack down even further on these illegal gambling operations.
Paraguay also has a number of smaller slot halls that have permission from the government to operate legally, and this at least allows the people of Paraguay more options to play casino games, and in a scene that is far more suited to locals than the bigger casinos are.
The legal casinos are well run though and are a popular destination for tourists who also like to gamble, and tourists are what these casinos are mostly focused on. The illegal gambling facilities are more targeted toward the locals, indicative of the fact that the domestic gambling market isn’t anywhere near as well served by the legal facilities as they could be, so Paraguay could certainly benefit from some expansion here. (3)
Paraguay does offer several alternatives to casino gambling though, including the lottery, which is popular here, betting on horse and dog racing, bingo, and even some limited sports betting action, where Jai Alai is a popular sport to bet on here. The sports betting is run by a government agency and is completely legal.
The law is silent here on online gambling, and it is said to be neither legal or illegal, although if something is not made illegal than it is legal by default. The government has sought to go after some financial transactions related to offshore gambling though from an anti money laundering perspective, but the target here is large sums of money being moved around so more casual gamblers aren’t put off by this, although it still may be wise to use internet wallets to move money around here to steer clear of the government’s curiosity. (4)
Playing Poker in Paraguay
Two of Paraguay’s three casinos offer poker tables, and poker tournaments are particularly popular here. In spite of Paraguay’s culture being traditionally more insular than some other countries in South America, that has changed a lot, especially with the internet, and poker has found its way into the hearts of a lot of Paraguayan gamblers like it has in many other countries today.
Live poker is supposed to be limited to the casinos only, and slot halls are not allowed to offer it legally, but many of them do anyway, and this goes to show that poker is indeed a popular game here, right alongside playing slots and other forms of gambling. (5)
Paraguay has less internet penetration than several other South American countries, at 37%, but they have gone from hardly anyone having internet access a few years ago to having a respectable percentage of their population with access today, and internet access means the ability to play online poker of course. (6)
Once again though, Paraguay isn’t a very wealthy country, with only an average income of a little over $4000, less than half of what some South American countries have, and it does take a certain amount of disposable income to play poker, but at least with online poker one can get involved with very little money and play very low stakes to make it last.
So online poker is actually perfect for countries which are less economically developed, and if people can afford the internet, they very often can afford to play at least a little online poker, provided that the game is popular enough for people to want to play it of course.
So poker has really grown here and with limited options for live poker, Paraguayans can still turn to online poker, which is responsible for its explosion throughout the rest of the world as well in fact, bringing the potential for real money poker into every home that has internet access.
The government here isn’t crazy about their people playing online poker at foreign online poker sites, but thus far it isn’t prohibited, and most online poker sites willingly accept online poker players living in Paraguay, and that’s the main thing actually, as if poker sites become too concerned with the political and legal climate of poker in a country they will withdraw, but this isn’t generally the case here, as of yet anyway.
There isn’t anything on the horizon that would suggest that this situation is about to change anytime soon either, as the government remains preoccupied with dealing with the illegal land based gambling in this country and online gambling really isn’t on their radar as of yet, and there are no plans either to regulate online gambling at all here.
Top Online Poker Sites Accepting Players From Paraguay
We have 4 top poker rooms for you if you are from Paraguay and are looking for the best places that you can play online poker at currently, and if you’ve never had an account at one or more of them, they are all pleased to reward you with some free bonus cash just for giving them a try.
You’ll be delighted to know that our top ranked site in the word right now, 888 Poker, does accept Paraguayan players. This is an outstanding poker site which has tons of traffic day or night and is extremely popular with players from all around the world.
Titan Poker and Bet 365 Poker both offer the same players, on the same poker network, but they are both very good so we thought we’d offer you an opportunity to try out either, or both, for yourself. These poker rooms have been around a long time as well and really know what they are doing, and the network that they are on has a lot of traffic as well.
Black Chip Poker is a lesser known site, but they are becoming more and more well known as time passes and the word gets out on them more. We’re happy to spread the word about this top poker site and players who try them out really tend to like them.