The Chilean Comptroller General’s office released an updated list of regulatory changes to the country’s gaming industry that will come into effect during the new year. The regulations directly affect municipalities and anyone interested in operating mechanical games of chance resulting in cash prizes for players. The regulatory overhaul follows a fist of its kind study of gaming machines and their use outside of the regulated casino industry in Chile. Following the study, over 33,000 machines have been reportedly observed to be operating illegally in Chile.
What the New Regulations Mean
The new regulations will pertain to gambling machines located throughout the country, especially on neighborhood gaming establishments. The regulations come as a more extensive effort to define what constitutes gaming machines and how their regulation should be approached by regional governments. Nearly 90 municipalities where machines were identified to be operating illegally were provided with the results of the study.
According to the new guidelines, the Gambling Control Board now has the right to determine what is considered random and entertainment when it comes to gaming machines throughout the country. The body advises parties interested in operating such machines to contact the agency for specific permissions to operate them, via an official report. This report will be issued to qualifying operators as verification as to whether or not the games they provide are awarding prizes as a result of random chance.
The Gambling Control Board will now be the only organization capable of certifying gaming laboratories, which, will in turn, be charged with verifying whether or not gaming machines operate on chance or with some degree of skill. Should the game be deemed to operate exclusively on chance, the Gambling Control Board will deny operators permission to operate machines. All municipalities are bound by the new regulations as a means of determining whether machines in their jurisdiction are gambling or non-gambling forms of entertainment.
As many as 3,000 venues may be eligible to receive a special license to operate gaming machines in ‘Arcades’. However, 1,300 venues of those expected have been observed to be in violation of the law by operating machines that award players with cash prizes.
The Gaming Control Board maintains extensive resources on authorized games, industry statistics, casino operations, supervisions and control, legislation and penalties for illicit gambling activity.
The casino industry in Chile is a relatively young one, having only been strictly regulated beginning in 2005. Over the next decade, its industry would grow to become the dominant gaming market in South America. Alongside its extensive growth in a relatively short time span, Chilean gaming revenue topped more than $750 million in 2015 alone. Its operators also pay one of the highest tax rates in South America at 20%, whereas operators in Argentina, it’s next largest competitor, pay rates of only 16% on casino revenues. The country’s gaming industry only continues to grow, recording record profits year over year.
Chile currently has more than 20 operational casinos, located in Antofagasta, Arica, Chilean, Chiloe Island, Coquimbo, Hualpén, Iquique, Ovalle, Pucón, Puerto Varas, Santa Cruz, Santiago, Valparaiso, Viña del Mar. Despite its concerns with the industry’s socio-economic impact from many of Chile’s politicians, the benefits it has provided in terms of tax and tourism revenue for the country are undeniable.
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