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Chile – Supreme Court decision could be huge blow to online operators

By - 14 September 2023

Chile’s highest court has 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.”

Although in the first instance the appeal was rejected by the Court of Appeals of Concepción, the country’s highest court reversed the decision and ordered the blocking of sports betting sites offered via Mundo Pacífico. The Supreme Court ruled that broadband provider Mundo Pacífico could not transmit or promote any form of gaming, unless it first received legal authorization to do so. State owned company Polla Chilena de Beneficencia offers lottery and fixed odds sports betting products at retail outlets and online.

The court in its ruling stated that “the online betting systems carried out in Chile through the Internet by persons or companies not authorized by law – mentioned in this action – are illegal, and the appeal must be adopted immediately, or within the period determined by the court.” The ruling also stated that necessary measures should be taken to  “ensure the blocking of the online betting sites that operate in Chile and that have been indicated in this appeal.”

The resolution named twelve online betting sites operating in Chile declaring that “those who enable said activity as well as those who participate in it” could face criminal sanctions.

The measure was pronounced by the Third Chamber of the highest court.

Talking with CNN Chile, the former prosecutor and lawyer for Casinos Dreams, Carlos Gajardo pointed out that the Supreme Court’s ruling “deals a very hard blow to online betting houses because it expressly points out that they are illegal and constitute a crime and orders their blocking. . . .” Mr Gajardo went onto to say that the decision affects the sites mentioned but that “when establishing the principle, it is a matter of time before it is forced on everyone.”

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