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Chile – Court rules against slot parlours in Temuco

By - 6 March 2023

A court in the city of Temuco has declared as admissible 34 complaints against 50 gambling filed by the Municipality of Temuco. The complaints were filed after the municipality decided not to renew their permission to operate – a decision which was later supported by other judicial rulings, including a ruling from the Supreme Court.

The complaints lay out the case that the premises in question allowed for gambling without a commercial patent and these, in turn, must be authorized by the gaming board (SCJ), which was not the case meaning that they were acting unlawfully according to article 277 of the Penal Code.

It is the first time a local court has been able to argue against illegal slots on these grounds which could open up the way for courts in other cities to follow suit. The general rule established by the Penal Code puts in place punishments for those who exploit games of chance without authorization from the state with imprisonment and fines.

The mayor of Temuco, Roberto Neira Aburto said that he was satisfied with the court decision: “In our opinion the defendants are carrying out a lucrative activity via machines in which money is bet and the result does not depend of the player. All under a promise to obtain an economic benefit.” 

In January 2017 the Office of the Comptroller General of Chile issued a statement clarifying the procedure for the municipal governments when it comes to defining when machines should be classed as gambling machines. The guidelines indicate that the municipalities should ask those interested in obtaining permission to operate electronic gaming machines, to obtain a report from the SJC stating that prizes are not handed out randomly by the electronic machines on their premises.

The rules give the SJC the right to determine what constitutes random and what constitutes entertainment machines and state that only certifications issued by gaming laboratories approved by the SJC  have the capacity to verify conclusively if a machine is either a gambling machine or if the result depends on an element of skill. The Office of the Comptroller General now considers that municipal governments must follow the new guidelines as the only guide when it comes to how they define gambling and non-gambling machines in their respective jurisdictions.

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