International Game Technology (IGT) will continue to run Colombia's popular draw-based Baloto game after being awarded a new contract by the country's gambling regulator Coljuegos.

The new five-year private operator contract was awarded to the supplier's IGT Juegos SAS subsidiary following a public procurement process, with proceeds from the game used to support Colombia’s healthcare sector.

The new contract comes into effect from April this year, and continues a relationship that began when IGT (as legacy GTECH) was awarded a 10-year deal to launch the Baloto game in December 1999.

The game officially went live in 2001, with IGT claiming it has creating 35,000 direct and indirect jobs in the country, as well as generating COP1bn for Colombian healthcare since that time.

"This new contract, and IGT's proven record of successfully operating Baloto in Colombia during the past 16 years, demonstrates the company's expertise in privately managing all aspects of lottery operations for governments," IGT senior vice president and COO of its international business Declan Harkin said.

"With this contract, IGT reaffirms its commitment to ensuring Coljuegos generates funds for good causes, and maintaining a strong presence in the Latin America market."

Since its launch, more than COP3.8bn has been generated from ticket sales, with around COP1.9bn distributed in prizes to more than 20m winners.

However in recent years Baloto sales have begun to decline with ticket sales falling in 2015, leading to the jackpots declining, causing sales to slide further.

This prompted Coljuegos to shelve plans for Multiplicador, a new variant of Baloto, in September last year and meant that a tender to select a supplier for the product was suspended indefinitely.

IGT will continue operating the online Loto-Baloto game, providing a full range of management services such as the central system, as well as terminals, communications and datacentre solutions, alongside product, marketing sales and field services.

The terminals will also provide a range of transaction-processing services through its VIA brand, allowing for cell phone top-ups, bill payments and money transfers.

Shares in International Game Technology plc (Co. Data) (NYQ:IGT) closed down 1.67 per cent at US$26.55 in New York Wednesday.

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