How do online casino regulations look like in Chile?

 (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Chile can boast of the best land-based casino regulations in the entire world. Since the legalization of the gambling industry back in 2005, the country has witnessed a surge in land-based casinos. Here players can play in both offshore and onshore casinos without any censure from the government. The only catch remains that offshore internet gambling facilities are not located anywhere in Chile.

The Casino Act of 2005 majors on brick and mortar casinos as it allowed the country to build 23 casinos with licenses awarded if the casino meets the demands present in the act. These included no more than three casinos in a specific area; legal authorization from the government is a must, and casino operations must match what the act describes. The act highlights every feature and an operational section of the casinos, including the amount of capital in hand before commencing, the number of shareholders, and more.

A significant advantage of the Casino Act in 2005 was the creation of the Superintendencia de Casinos de Juego, the SCJ, a regulatory commission that oversees, licenses, and regulates the gambling industry in the country. The country got it right, allowing a single organization to run the entire operation. In 2008, the Loteria de Concepcion and Polla Chilena became the first company to introduce interactive gambling sites. The company can be considered as the pioneer for quality gambling products and services in the country.

Since then, the SCJ has introduced and partnered with other major organizations like GTECH and CasinoOnlineChile to ensure continuity of quality services and fair gaming for the clients. However, all these registrations are limited to land-based gambling products. The country is generating adequate revenue from these companies and entities.

However, since the Corona pandemic hit, the country is experiencing massive losses since the land-based casinos are closed down. Even if they were to re-open today, they have to input more money to make the casinos friendlier to the measures to limit the spread of the Covid-19. Once the country went on lockdown back in March, not many dreamt that the pandemic would last this long. Principal casino proprietors are now pushing the government to legalize the online gambling industry.

Many highlight essential factors that are preventing the industry from standing as of now, which include hefty amounts needed to redo the sites to match Covid-19 rules, high rates of unemployment that prevent clients from visiting the casinos, low sports activities which limit sports betting even with a permit to resume work and more. Many are picking on online gambling as a way to save the dying industry. However, the government has no effective platform through which they can legalize ‘casinos online Chilenos’!

Even with online casinos being illegal in the country, offshore gambling is legal for offshore companies. Citizens can use offshore companies to play online, transact, and face no legal impacts from Chile. Even with this being the case, the SCJ still reiterates that it would be difficult to legalize online casinos as it is still a new concept in Chile as a country. The regulator for the SCJ enumerates the need to understand how the platforms worked to generate a working operational framework that serves the government, customers, and the business providing the services. He says that they aim to have full knowledge of technological advances the business may need to adapt to such an operation.

The SCJ enumerates the need to ensure sustainable development as a way of protecting the customer's trusts, taking necessary measures to protect young people and children from the effects of online gambling, and highlights the country's needs especially online gambling taxation and other regulations, money laundering, and terrorism are also significant concerns.

Politicians support the introduction of online gambling to the country as it will earn more taxes than their land-based counterparts. With a legal framework being a significant debate and a headache yet to be resolved, the debate is ongoing. The SCJ still reiterates that before the online gambling industry comes to be, they must deliberate on the possible tax rates to impose on them and what the entities must comply with as they enter the market. The advertisement laws to be put in place take care of their significant concerns above.

Remember, if the taxes are too high, they risk losing potential online gambling platforms. If they are to allow onshore online gambling and offshore gambling, they must develop a working framework that incorporates both entities and does not rely on one or the other too much. However, online gambling taxes are always a bit higher than the land-based businesses, which are quite attractive to the Chilean government and, thus, the visible efforts to try and regulate online casinos.

The regulations are a long way coming, and the industry is still in the making. Lawmakers are still deliberating since the proposals brought forth in 2012 and 2013 did not amount to anything. We hope any new proposals will get more attention after the pandemic and that live sports and other events will be included in the new regulations. Some operators are even voting for the introduction and regulation of live casinos, which are a massive part of online gambling and generate much more revenue in taxes for the Chilean government.

As of now, online casinos are still illegal in Chile. But, you can play on offshore casinos without legal implications. Many hope that the SCJ has an operational plan towards regulating online casinos in Chile soon!