- Federal Gambling Bill (035/2022) was approved by the Chamber of Deputies and endorsed to the Senate
- The Bill seeks to regulate online gambling and sports betting in Chile
- The legislation faces some hurdles due to unresolved conflicts
Chile is pushing on with plans to regulate online gambling, with the Chamber of Deputies approving a Bill that seeks to establish a legal framework for online gambling and sports betting. The Bill passed the lower house on a 97-28 vote and will now be subject to further deliberation in the Senate.
This latest development marks a significant progress in the Chilean government’s efforts to modernize the country’s gambling laws, but some issues still need to be resolved before Chile can successfully launch a regulated online gambling market.
Online Gambling Bill Endorsed to Senate
Chile’s gambling market is currently controlled by three operators – Loteria Concepción, Teletrak Chile (pari-mutuel horse racing), and Polla Chilena (football pools). The government aims to move away from this set-up by allowing private online gambling operators to enter the country under a new licensing regime.
Under proposals from the Ministry of Finance, gross online gambling revenue will be taxed at 20%, with operators required to pay an annual license fee of approximately 1,000 UTM (US$73,000). Additionally, operators should allocate 2% of their revenue to Chilean sports and a further 1% to responsible gambling programs. Such measures are projected to generate an extra $50 million for sports and public service.
The Economic Commission of the Chamber of Deputies introduced 15 new articles to establish the tax system for the new online gambling regime, endorsing the recommendations from the Ministry of Finance.
The main goal of the Bill is to establish a competitive online gambling market, protect customers, and increase tax revenue for the government. The legislation will now be up for review by Chilean Senators who will assess whether it meets that goal.
Unresolved Conflicts Pose a Challenge
While the Chamber of Deputies approved the Bill this week, certain issues remain unresolved, including a dispute with the Chilean Football Federation (ANFP).
Polla Chilena earlier launched a legal challenge seeking to declare online gambling as an illegal activity while the legislative framework for Chile’s regulated online gambling market is still being finalized. The Supreme Court upheld this challenge and ordered a 12-month cooling-off period for online gambling operators until their legal status is settled.
The Supreme Court ruling deems illegal several online gambling firms operating in Chile, including Betsson, Betway, Coolbet, and bet365.
The government instructed sporting bodies and organizations, including the ANFP, to abide by the Supreme Court ruling.
Football clubs have ongoing sponsorship agreements with online betting firms and abiding by the Supreme Court ruling would mean the partnerships need to be halted. It is for this reason that the ANFP is resisting the Supreme Court order, arguing that existing laws hold no legal precedent to block sports sponsorships by gambling providers.