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Chile – Latamwin goes to court over online betting ban

By - 5 February 2024

Latamwin has filed a demand for more certainty before the 16th Civil Court of Santiago, with the aim of legalizing its operations in the country. According to Latamwin, the objective of this judicial move is to “prevent new questioning that could disturb the peaceful development of actions within the framework of its lawful activities as an online betting platform.” In addition they are looking for confirmation that their operation fully complies with the legal framework in Chile and nine other points that have been subject to debate in recent years.

Among their requirements is the ratification that the absence of legal regulation of a certain new economic activity, of a technological nature, linked to online betting platforms does not imply its prohibition, and that no prior legal authorization is required to operate today. In addition they argue that as there is no legal or regulatory prohibition of any kind related to advertising, promotion, on online betting and that contracts between users and these platforms are lawful.

José Francisco García, a lawyer from Gómez, Pallavicini & Garcia, representing Latamwin, explained that “this action seeks to reaffirm in judicial headquarters that online betting platforms strictly adhere to the legal framework and that, on the contrary, the actions of the Casino Superintendence and Subtel (Chile’s telecom regulator) exceed the scope of their powers.” This comes in response to the “coordination” between the gaming board and Subtel which led to the blocking of 23 website platforms by local internet providers.

Latamwin’s lawsuit requests validation that “the Casino Superintendence lacks the competencies to regulate, control, and oversee the development of online betting platforms, as publicly stated by the demanded public agency” and that the “Subsecretariat of Telecommunications, according to its own statements, is limited in its competencies to know and resolve technical matters related to the country’s telecommunications, lacking the faculties to pronounce on the content of telecommunications, so qualifying the legal or illegal nature of a content exceeds the functions established by the Law.”

The lawsuit is accompanied by a legal report from the civil law professor, Carlos Pizarro, which develops and confirms the lawfulness of the activities of online platforms.

In September Chile’s highest court accepted an appeal from lottery operator Polla Chilena de Beneficencia and ordered the blocking of online betting platforms. According to the resolution, these websites “carry out gambling activities within the borders of Chile, without legal authorization or from any national tax authority, which is why they are illegal according to national regulations.”

Last month the Undersecretary of Finance Heidi Berner and the head of the Superintendent of Casino Games (SJC) Vivien Villagrán  presented Chile’s online gambling bill to the Senate’s Economic Committee. The bill, which was approved in the first stage by the Chamber of Deputies in December, aims to create a competitive market. It also seeks to safeguard public trust, protect the health and safety of players, ensure transparency in the origin and destination of resources obtained from gambling and raise revenue for state coffers and sports.

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