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Chile – Online gambling companies breaking the law says lawyer for Monticello

By - 18 October 2022

Gran Arena Monticello’s lawyer, Carlos Gajardo Pinto, has published a letter aimed at online gambling sites operating in Chile.

In a text published by the newspaper La Tercera, he stated that international operators “try to position it ” so that their operations do not appear illegal, but said: “The law is quite clear in prohibiting all games of chance except for what is explicitly established in the Penal Code: the Chilean Polla de Beneficencia, the Concepción Lottery, horse betting and casinos authorized by the Superintendence of Gaming Casinos (SCJ)”.

According to his analysis, online betting operators are in violation of numeral 19, article 63 of the Chilean Constitution, which “indicates that gambling and betting can only be regulated by law.”

He also cited articles “275-277 and following” of the Penal Code, which “punishes those who operate games of chance without authorization from the State with jail and fines.” Combined these articles define what constitutes illegal gambling in Chile.

He summarised by saying that: “As a general rule, the law prohibits any natural or legal person from operating games of chance. Thus, there is express regulation for online games of chance: they are prohibited and their commercial exploitation is a crime,” he said.

The lawyer compared this to the casino sector “which not only pay taxes, contributing in equal parts to the municipalities and regional governments where they are located, but also generate jobs in regions and take a series of safeguards to avoid the exposure of vulnerable groups”, whereas the 900 websites and betting platforms estimated to be operating in the country “offer online games of chance without paying taxes and generating a number of risks for the consumer and vulnerable groups, as well as others at an economic level such as money laundering”.

Online gaming is expressly banned under Chile’s gaming laws of 2005 with the exception of interactive lottery  games and sports betting products offered by  for Polla Chilena – the state owned company operates and administers national lottery games including fixed odds sports betting game Xperto online.

In March Undersecretary of Finance Alejandro Weber said that tax generated by the newly regulated industry would amount to as much as US$55 million a year for government coffers. The government is seeking to delay the negotiations until it can be discussed together within the framework of broader taxes in the last quarter of this year. However it is believed that the project could be delayed until 2023.

This is not the first time that the operator has taken aim at online gambling.  In March Dreams via The Monticello casino, which it owns, filed a complaint in the Prosecutor’s Office accusing Betsson of breaking for offering online gambling in Chile.

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