Chile – Chile’s illegals slash revenues by 30 per centBy Phil - 3 October 2013
The growing illegal gaming sector is having an increasingly negative effect on the Chilean gaming industry. According to the most recent statistics released by the Chilean Gaming Control Board (SJC) Gross Gaming. Revenue was down by 30.2 per cent in August compared to the same period in 2012. Gross Gaming Revenue stood at US$37.4m while visitor numbers were also in decline and stood at 465,892 – a 23.9 per cent drop compared to last August.
Meanwhile, gross gaming revenue from January to August this year stood at $331.6m compared to $383.5 in the same period last year – a drop of 13.5 per cent. Revenues continue to fall as illegal gaming continues to thrive. In August (as we reported at the time) GGR slid by 7.4 per cent.
Despite this gaming tax revenue generated by the industry is still significant and remains a major contributor to the state. So far this year tax generated by the private casinos in Chile stood at $55m via the special tax on gaming, $52.9m in VAT and $23.2m in tax on entrance fees.
However, illegal gaming has become an increasingly significant issue of late It is estimated that there could be as many as 150,000 illegal slot machines located in slot parlours with a further 50,000 slot machines located in small businesses and shops. 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.
The issue is becoming increasingly controversial with some law makers calling for regulation of the industry while others believe that an outright ban on slot parlours and illegal slots in small businesses is called for. This could cause increasing friction between the executive branch, which is calling for a ban, and The Chilean House of Representatives, which has recently approved a request to the executive branch, which would make slot machines outside of casinos legal. This week is was also announced that the Association of Chilean Casinos (ACCJ) would be initiating legal action against slot parlour owners in the cities of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, in conjunction with the mayor of the Region of Valparaíso Raúl Celis, and the major of the city of Valparaíso, Jorge Castro as well as the major of Viña del Mar, Virginia Reginato.