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Chile – Chile to tackle growth of ‘neighbourhood casinos’

By - 16 February 2015

The Undersecretary of Crime Prevention of Chile, Antonio Frey, has announced that his office is working in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance on a bill which would prohibit or regulate the use of slot machines in the so called neighbourhood casinos.

The initiative will be sent to parliament during the third quarter of this year.

“We will have a government position on the matter; pursuant to developing a bill which will allow us to have a look at both sides: either prohibition or regulation,” Mr. Frey said.

According to Frey, the initiative will be sent to parliament during the third quarter of this year once the advantages and disadvantages have been looked at closely. Frey said that the issue was a complex one as when as the state does try to intervene and close down a slot parlour its actions are often appealed against in the local courts.

One of the priorities of the new bill would be first to establish a clear definition of what constitutes random and what constitutes skill, and also to increase the control mechanisms on slot machines operating outside casinos. One way to tackle the issue could, he said, be an online monitoring of all slot machines in real time – a project which the University of Chile is now looking at.
Meanwhile Sebastián Valenzuela, the spokesman for the Association of Operators, Manufacturers and Importers of Electronic Entertainment an interest group for the SWP (Skill with Prizes) industry; (Fiden), welcomed the move as regulation is “something we have been seeking for a long time.”

He added that one of the primary aims of the group was to make the distinction between machines outside of casinos and those slot machines in casinos clearer emphasising the fact that machines outside of casinos are not equipped with random generators results (RNG). Part of the problem lies in the fact that while the machines in slot parlours may look like slot machines in casinos they operate differently as the prize in slot parlours depends on fixed sequence combinations as opposed to chance.
It is estimated that there could be as many as 150,000 slot machines located in slot parlours with a further 50,000 slot machines located in small businesses and shops in Chile. Known locally as ‘casinos of the people’ or ‘neighbourhood slots’ they have been able to grow so quickly as local governments have not drawn a clear line between slot machines and Skill with Prizes Machines.

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