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Chile – Valparaíso Government looks to wipe out illegal slots

By - 13 February 2017

The Municipal Council of the Valparaíso Region has announced that it will soon put new rules into effect designed to eliminate illegal slot machines.

The government said that it will act on a number of new rules and regulations put forward by the Office of the Comptroller General of Chile which were announced in December. New guidelines rule that the municipalities should ask those interested in obtaining permission to operate electronic gaming machines, to obtain certification that prizes are not handed out randomly by the electronic machines on their premises.

The new rules ultimately give the SJC the right to determine what constitutes random and what constitutes entertainment machines and state that only certifications issued by gaming laboratories approved by the SJC will have the capacity to verify conclusively if a machine is either a gambling machine or if the result dependson an element of skill. According to the latest rules all gambling machines which hand out cash as prizes will have to be certified by the SJC.

The regional government of Valparaíso will carry out an ordinance of machines operating in so called ‘neighbourhood casinos’ in March making it the first region to act on the new rules and could prove to be a major development as other regions could follow suit.

“We have acted according to the framework provided by the Comptroller. We are staggering the measures to avoid harming these entrepreneurs, but we are ready to regulate the situation,” said the Mayor of the region Jorge Sharp.

The new ruling made by the Comptroller General was issued at the request of the SJC, and in the case that the body establishes that the result of the machine in question depends on chance then the municipality will not be permitted to grant the machine permission to operate. From this point onwards the Office of the Comptroller General now considers that municipal governments must follow the new guidelines as the only guide when it comes to how they define gambling and non gambling machines in their respective jurisdictions.

The rapid growth of illegal gaming in so called “neighbourhood casinos” has been a persistent issue for the SJC. They have been able to grow so quickly as local governments have not drawn a clear line between slot machines and Skill with Prizes Machines. According to Chilean gaming law of 1995 slot machines outside of casinos are strictly prohibited. The law clearly states that slot machines may only be operated in the seven municipal casinos in Chile as well as the other privately run casinos throughout the nation. Furthermore, the SJC has exclusive powers to award, reject, renew and revoke operating permits for casinos in the country and licenses for gambling and associated services.

The Comptroller General’s decision comes after the SJC released the results of its first ever survey into gaming machines operating outside of casinos in July last year. The wide ranging study, which was carried out on behalf of the SJC by the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urban Studies at 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 were delivered to the 88 respective municipalities where these machines were found to be operating so that appropriate measures could be taken to prevent the growth of illegal gambling.

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