Chile Considering Ban on Sports Betting Advertising, Sponsorships

Posted on: March 23, 2022, 07:17h. 

Last updated on: March 23, 2022, 01:02h.

Chile could become the latest country to ban sports betting advertising in sports events. A legislator with the Independent Democratic Union Party hopes his initiative will lead the way.

Leandro Diaz
Leandro Diaz of Chile’s Club Deportes La Serena soccer team. Approval of a new law would mean the team’s sponsorship deal with Betano will come to an end. (Image: La Tercera)

The advertising of sportsbooks has increased in recent years, especially in Chilean soccer clubs. A number of clubs have sports betting operators as their main shirt sponsors.

However, a bill proposes eliminating the presence of advertising of these brands at sports events and in sports clubs. The project is the brainchild of the Independent Democratic Union Party (UDI, for its Spanish acronym), the deputy for the Coquimbo region Marco Antonio Sulantay. He expects to present his proposal in the coming days.

Sportsbook Advertising Increasingly Marginalized

Currently, there are several Chilean soccer teams that have bookmakers as their main sponsors. Club Deportes La Serena and the University of Chile have agreements with Betano. At the same time, the clubs of Coquimbo Unido, Ñublense, Audax Italiano, Everton and Unión La Calera are sponsored by Betway.

The rest, almost all the teams of the First Division, signed contracts with various sportsbooks as secondary partners. For its part, the National Championship of Primera B, the country’s second soccer tier, has as its sponsor Betsson.

In recent years we have seen how dozens, if not hundreds, of these platforms have taken over sporting events through static advertising, and especially sponsoring soccer teams, which can become a serious problem, such as the participation of minors in sports betting,” states Marco Antonio Sulantay.

The deputy indicated that bookmakers “are prohibited from operating by law in our country.” However, this is only because Chile has been lax in its oversight.

All forms of gambling are technically illegal unless they’re operated by the state or authorized venues (currently, 21 casinos, racetracks, and two lotteries). Over the years, though, different types of gambling activity have entered the country without a response from the government.

Sulantay, who also sits on Chile’s Sports Commission, added that the sportsbooks generate millions of dollars in profits, but don’t pay any type of tax on those profits. As a result, he proposes a ban on their advertising in sports areas. An alternative would be the introduction of the regulation that would require the operators to pay taxes, in the same manner, Chile taxes streaming platforms like Netflix or Spotify.

Chile Considering Legalized Sports Betting

The question of operating legally in Chile may soon have an answer. Earlier this month, lawmakers presented a bill to legalize online casinos and sportsbooks. This would be a step in the right direction, as it would force the estimated 900+ online gaming platforms targeting the country to either exit or apply for a license.

Legalizing the activity would bring substantial tax revenue to the country. The proposal suggests operators pay 20% of their gross income to the country, as well as a license fee. Users would also have to give a portion of their winnings to the state.

Even if sports betting legislation finds approval in Chile, it might not have an impact on sports betting advertising. Several countries, including Australia, the UK, and Italy have similar initiatives, despite having legal sports betting industries.

At the very least, if sports betting operators can’t advertise, consumers will have no way of knowing who is legitimate. They won’t be able to separate the good from the bad. This is contradictory to what Sulantay says he wants to accomplish.