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Chile – Online gambling bill sent to the senate

By - 14 December 2023

The Chamber of Deputies of Chile has approved the online gambling bill (bill 14838-03). The proposal was sent to the senate for further discussion after it received 80 votes in favour, 36 against and 8 abstentions.

The Finance Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, which had been tasked with analysing the project to establish a regulatory framework for the online gambling sector, had sent its approved online betting bill for consideration to the house at the end of November.

According to local press the initiative aims to establish a competitive market and make the origins and destination of the resources obtained by the industry more transparent. It also grants greater powers to the Superintendency of Casinos and Games to supervise the activity.

The Undersecretary of the Treasury, Heidi Berner, said: “The main objective of this initiative is to regulate the online betting market through the delivery of an administrative authorization and, above all, it seeks to safeguard compliance with the requirements that aim to avoid commission of crimes, money laundering and at the same time protecting users, especially children and adolescents, for which there will be a National Responsible Gaming Policy.”

Berner also thanked the deputies of the Economy Commission for their work on the bill: “In June we submitted a package of indications, which collected the concerns of the parliamentarians, so the text approved in this instance was strengthened compared to the original,” she said.  

The project, described as extremely urgent, establishes a regulatory design that balances both incentives for regularization and very severe sanctions for those who offer their services without a license, granting new powers to the Superintendency of Casino Games (SCJ), the Commission for the Financial Market (CMF), the Internal Revenue Service (SII), Subtel, and the Financial Analysis Unit (UAF), among others.

“Effective supervision is established, since the platforms must give remote access to their systems to both the Superintendency of Gaming Casinos and the SII,” said the undersecretary.

According to statement released by the Ministry of Finance: “All of this represents a substantive improvement with respect to the current situation, in which illegal platforms proliferate without standards of protection for users, without paying taxes, without supervision and without traceability regarding the origin of the funds and their destination. In short, a semi-open market is created, where—as in the case of gaming casinos—operators must meet formal requirements such as being incorporated into closed joint stock company in Chile with one purpose, minimum capital, and having up to 10 shareholders.”

The bill also creates new sources of financing for sports as authorized platforms must pay an annual tax of 2% of gross income on bets made on sports. The proposed tax system for online gambling platforms is based on the current regime for land-based casinos. This activity will be taxed with VAT. As with gaming casinos, a specific tax of 20% will be applied to online platforms. To promote responsible gaming, a specific tax rate of 1%will also be imposed.

According to figures released by SJC there are now more than 900 offshore betting sites that offer their services locally with the total handle now standing at US$150 million.

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