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Peru has had a lot of gambling for quite a number of years now, and is second only to Argentina in the amount of casinos among South American countries. It is a modestly sized country of about 30 million people, with a third of those living in the capital and largest city of Lima.
Peru also has a modest economy, with a per capita GDP of about $8,000 a year, placing them eighth among the 12 countries in South America, although the cost of living is modest here and when purchasing power is accounted for, this goes up to $12,000 a year. (1)
Peru’s economy is growing here and PPP GDP has gone up by almost 50% over the last 7 years alone. In spite of their middle of the road economy, they have really managed to modernize it, and services account for over half of GDP, a sign that things really have developed here.
This economic boom has brought with it more gambling facilities and more gamblers as well, both tourists and locals. Gambling here up until recently has been legal but unregulated, and the Peruvian government finally got the idea a few years ago to start to take advantage of this and tax it.
The gambling scene here remains an open market though, similar to how it was before regulation, and while these operations are now licensed, there is no quota on issuing them and there are indeed a lot of licensed establishments in Peru these days. (2)
Peru has a wide selection of different forms of gambling, including 48 casinos, 800 slot halls, horse racing, poker, bingo, and sports betting, and all are popular here and are widely available.
Some of the 48 casinos also offer horse racing as well. Many are of the smaller variety though, but there is a good selection of games at them, although most of the focus here is on traditional casino table games and video gaming machines. (3)
Beyond the major casinos, there are a lot of smaller casino type operations that cater to the locals, and the standards of these places are well below the major casinos, and aren’t the kind of places that tourists frequent, although they do help satisfy the appetite that Peruvians have for gambling, which is a large one.
Peru also has regulated online gambling, although this is limited to casino and sports betting operations, and there are only a few sites that run out of Peru and they have to compete alongside the offshore sites, but in the case of sites like this, they can often still compete.
Peru is looking at expanding their regulation of online gambling sites to start to tax them, and this might have a negative impact on the popularity of existing and future regulated online gambling sites, but on the other hand, if you don’t tax it, you don’t make anything from it, so this won’t really deter the government, and this is expected to be put into place soon. (4)
They might be getting a little greedy here, as the plan is to tax online sites between 15-20%, instead of the 12% tax that they levy against land based gambling facilities. We’ll have to see what effect this has, and especially if the government seeks to protect this by looking to block offshore gambling sites, something they don’t presently do.
Playing Poker in Peru
Poker is fairly popular in Peru, and although not that many of their casinos have dedicated poker rooms, most of them offer poker tournaments, and it’s not hard to find some live poker here, especially in the casinos in Lima, where poker is more popular, perhaps due to the more urban gambling clientele there. (5)
So aside from that, people need to turn to the internet. About 40% of the people in Peru have access to the internet, and while a lot of the internet gambling that goes on here is casino or sports betting related, there’s a fair amount of poker that’s played online here as well.
There are no Peruvian online sites that offer poker as of yet, although Peruvians aren’t restricted to playing on just Peruvian sites though, so they can just freely play at any foreign site they choose, and the poker sites don’t have any problem with taking players from Peru either.
While its possible that at some point the government here may seek to regulate poker sites, like they do with other forms of gambling, or rather, someone might actually try to start a Peru based online poker site, Peru is not a country where there is a will to make any sort of gambling illegal, so they may not seek to use measures like blocking offshore poker sites, not that this really works that well anyway.
Peruvian casinos banned smoking in their poker rooms a while back, even though it is still allowed on the main floor of the casino, and this is said to have driven some of the live players to play online instead. (6)
The popularity of poker in Peru is also said to be at a fairly early stage, as it is in Latin America in general, and while poker has declined in a number of regions in the world over the last few years, it’s still on the way up here.
It remains to be seen if Peru will ever get regulated poker though, but it seems like this is bound to happen sooner or later, but if they do, the only way that this will work is if they follow the model that has emerged lately and let their players play on the main poker sites, otherwise the market here really isn’t big enough to put together a domestic site or sites that can compete with the big international sites.
Peru is definitely very open to gambling though and there’s no reason why that won’t continue on into the future, especially with the government making money off of it, so it’s very likely Peruvian poker players will continue to have good access to their favorite game regardless.
Top Online Poker Sites That Accept Players from Peru
Online poker sites are more than happy to take players from Peru, so Peruvian online poker players are in the ideal position of being able to select from the very best online poker sites the internet has to offer. So we have a list of the top 5 online poker sites in the world for you, based upon our extensive experience.
888 Poker is currently recognized as the top poker site in the world by critics, and we agree as well, although the other picks we have for you are pretty close to the top as well. This is a very popular site and even more importantly, it’s not shark infested like Poker Stars is, which is the only site that has more players but not the type you want to be playing against.
Party Poker has also been a very good site over the years and still is, and in fact they have made this site even better as of late, and both 888 and Party now use state of the art software, after years of needing this to be updated. Party Poker’s facelift is more than skin deep though, they revamped things from top to bottom.
Titan Poker and Bet 365 are both on the same poker network, and their traffic levels are right up there with 888 and Party, and both of them are very good sites, with Titan perhaps being a little better choice if your focus is just on poker, with Bet 365 perhaps being a little better if you like sports betting as well, although both offer this.
Black Chip Poker rounds out our top 5, a site that’s not as well known as the other 4, but deserves to be on this list nonetheless, and especially since some players have tried out the other picks already and want a new experience, and Black Chip is known for their big focus on attracting and keeping your business, and have become a lot more popular lately.
3. Peru Casinos