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Chile – Study finds 30,000 illegal slots in Chile

By - 20 July 2016

The Chilean Gaming Board (SJC) has released the results of its first ever survey into gaming machines operating outside of casinos.

The wide ranging study, which was carried out on behalf of the SJC by the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urban Studies at the The Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, revealed that there are now more than 33 thousand machines operating illegally in Chile. The results of the study will be delivered to the 88 respective municipalities where these machines were found to be operating so that appropriate measures may be taken to prevent the growth of illegal gambling.

As part of the study the researchers visited more than 3,000 businesses which have been granted a municipal licence to run gaming arcades and found that 1,327 of them housed machines that handed out cash prizes – something which is in direct contravention of Chile’s gaming laws, as according to federal law, slot machines may only be present in casinos. The results of the study have been distributed to the municipal governments in question who must now take action on the issue and the study will also be distributed to the regional municipalities, the Undersecretary of Regional Development and the Comptroller General of Chile (General Accounting Office), so they can carry out appropriate action on the issue.

For the purposes of the study gaming halls were defined as those businesses which had been granted a municipal licence and which operated gaming machines as their primary activity regardless of the number of slot machines on site. This, however, excluded the so called “neighbourhood shops” that were allowed to house gaming machines, but where gaming did not make up its main line of business.

The rise of illegal slot parlours is down to local municipalities as local governments have allowed amusement arcades to operate in their jurisdictions but have not drawn a clear line between machines that award prizes and that have an element of skill involved (skill with prizes machines) and slot machines. Subsequently, a great many slot parlors house both with revenue increasingly deriving from the latter. The study identified a number of different categories of game which fell into this type. These included a wide variation of video poker, lotteries and bingo as well as coin pusher games.

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