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Chile- Lawmaker wants to speed up illegal casino ban

By - 5 September 2022

Congressman Frank Sauerbaum has presented a formal request to the president of the Internal Government Commission, Marta González Olea, to speed up the regulatory changes that will improve the control of the so-called “popular casinos” in Chile.

Sauerbaum aims to speed up a project that modifies Decree Law No. 3,063 on municipal revenues, in terms of patents to operate skill or entertainment machines. The legislator said that it needed to “be discussed and voted preferably in this Commission, in which the initiative is based, in the second constitutional process.”

According to his presentation, the regulation and supervision of these gambling halls not authorized by the authorities of the sector is a pressing matter. Specifically, because “they operate gaming machines outside the formal licensing of casinos regulated by Law No. 19,995 and the Superintendency of Gaming Casinos (SCJ).”

The lawmaker said that: “For many years now, these establishments have represented an activity with a negative social impact, since in most cases they are outside the formal regulation and supervision of the authority, as the use of many of these machines is officially prohibited by law for being games of chance, but they are informally tolerated when concealed with other mechanisms of supposed skill or entertainment.”

For this reason, Sauerbaum stated that the effect generated by popular casinos is an enhancement of gambling addiction and a “waste of resources.”

“Many of these establishments cover up or encourage other illicit activities such as informal gambling, the sale and consumption of alcohol or tobacco without authorization for that and even their sale to minors. Likewise, they present serious security problems as they do not have a regulation that establishes how they should work due to the large amount of cash resources they manage, and criminal acts frequently occur in these premises or against their clients, ” he warned.

One persistent problem for the gaming board has been the continued growth of illegal gaming in so called “neighbourhood casinos” or “popular casinos”which have been able to grow quickly as local governments have not drawn a clear line between slot machines and Skill with Prizes Machines.  Despite the fact that slot machines outside of casinos are strictly prohibited in Chile’s Gaming laws of 1995 slot machines outside of casinos have grown in number considerably. 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.

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