Chile Makes Progress With Online Gambling and Betting Legislation

Posted on: December 14, 2023, 06:53h. 

Last updated on: December 17, 2023, 05:15h.

Chile’s government is making progress on a bill that should make gaming operator Entain and others happy. On Tuesday, the Chamber of Deputies overwhelmingly approved and forwarded to the Senate a bill on regulating online gambling and betting platforms.

The flag of Chile flying on a flagpole
The flag of Chile is flying on a flagpole. The country’s Chamber of Deputies has approved legislation that would authorize online gambling and betting. (Image: Flickr)

The primary goals include fostering a competitive market in light of existing legal gambling options in the country and ensuring player safety and health. It’s also an attempt to bring greater transparency to the market and capture the tax revenue that is currently heading offshore.

The initiative aims to administer licenses to online gaming operators, emphasizing adherence to requirements to prevent crimes, money laundering, and the protection of users, particularly minors. It’s good news for operators, who only recently found themselves being forced to stop operating in the country.

Greater Operators Oversight

To identify platform owners, the new regulations will mandate disclosure of their final beneficiaries, enhancing transparency in fund origins and destinations and preventing conflicts of interest. The project outlines a regulatory structure that balances incentives for compliance and imposes severe penalties on illegal operators.

The Superintendency of Casino Games (SCJ, for its Spanish acronym) will receive additional powers to oversee the emerging sector. In addition, the Commission for the Financial Market, the Internal Revenue Service and the Financial Analysis Unit will also play larger roles.

A National Responsible Online Betting Policy will be established, involving the SCJ, along with the ministries of Finance and Health. This policy aims to ensure responsible gambling practices, prevent gambling-related issues, and set guidelines for operator advertising and promotion.

Specific regulations will safeguard young children and adolescents, prohibiting them from opening or maintaining accounts without proper identification. Betting operators must not encourage their participation and cannot employ advertising or promotions that may target them. Additionally, using any payment instruments in their name will be entirely prohibited.

Individuals will have the option to self-exclude and define gaming patterns, triggering alerts for violations. The superintendency can also raise alerts for common risk patterns as part of its regulatory functions.

Furthermore, the legislation prohibits betting on individuals with an impact on outcomes, such as players, athletes and organizational leaders. It also addresses the manipulation of betting objects to influence uncertainty. This means a ban on betting on yellow or red cards in soccer and similar actions.

New Tax Plan

Chile’s Chamber of Deputies agreed that online gaming falls under the “digital entertainment service” category. As such, online operators will have to pay VAT like their land-based counterparts, at a rate of 20%.

However, there will be additional tax requirements. The bill introduces a 2% annual tax on gross income from bets for authorized platforms, with proceeds benefiting the National Sports Institute. Distribution of the funds includes sports federations, the Olympic Committee, and the Paralympic Committee.

This is in addition to another increase in the tax rate of 1%. The legislation added this boost in order to cover the costs associated with the creation and maintenance of Chile’s responsible gambling initiatives.

The Chamber of Deputies pushed through the legislation quickly, an indication of the urgency with which Chile wants to advance the project. As the bill heads to the Senate, however, its progress may slow down, particularly because of the holiday period.