Chile’s Casino Industry Rebounds with 35 Percent Year-On-Year Growth

Posted on: June 13, 2023, 07:17h. 

Last updated on: June 13, 2023, 12:34h.

Since the end of the global COVID-19 crisis that had casino activity everywhere on hold, the sector is fully alive once again. This is also true for Chile, where the numbers are closer each year to what they were in 2020.

The entrance to the Casino Enjoy in Pucon, Chile at night
The entrance to the Casino Enjoy in Pucon, Chile at night. Chile’s casino industry is coming back to life following. (Image: TripAdvisor)

The Superintendence of Gaming Casinos (SCJ, for its Spanish acronym) has revealed the figures pertaining to physical casino traffic and revenue. Their high numbers, in comparison to last year’s figures, are synonymous with a recovery in the sector.

Since the casino industry in Chile began to operate under special laws in 2005, more than 25 physical casinos have been installed nationwide. There are now 22 private and three state-run casinos. All helped Chile gain economic ground in the first quarter of the year.

Chilean Casinos Back on Track

In Q1, the casinos have been highly receptive to local and foreign tourists. For January, the 25 casinos welcomed 695,646 people, which represents a growth of 35% compared to the same month in 2022.

As a result, the land-based casino market reported an average expense per visit of CLP69,368 (US$85.95), a figure that translates into a decrease in real terms of 33% compared to January 2022. Tax collection from the amount was CLP17,468 million (US$21,642).

In February, the figures were even more encouraging, as the SCJ registered 709,405 visits in the 22 authorized casinos. This represents 42% more than February 2022, though revenue per visit decreased by 34% compared to February 2022. Still, it’s an indicator that represents an economic improvement compared to the months prior to the health crisis.

For the third month of the quarter, casino visits decreased to 618,452. However, that figure is a massive increase of 431% over March 2022. But it is also substantially lower compared to January and February. The average spend per visit was the best of the months at CLP73,442 (US$91) per visit.

In terms of taxes, March was a good month for the casino industry as the state took in CLP16,309 million (US$20,206). This corresponds to a recent law reform that extends the term of tax debts, which has encouraged large companies in the gaming sector to comply more quickly with their tax obligations.

Online Casino Activity is Growing

Although online casinos aren’t yet as popular as physical casinos, mostly because regulations are still in the works, they have gained an important space among Chilean players. iGaming platforms are consistently becoming more attractive because of their “pay and play” option, which has benefits such as speed, security, and fast and transparent withdrawals.

The numbers of visitors to the online platforms aren’t yet official. But according to the most recent statistics, the penetration of online casino applications in Chile has increased by 30% in the last two years.

The annual report on the use of mobile applications in Chile, published by the Association of Mobile Application Developers of Chile, reveals that more than 70% of mobile device users in Chile have downloaded at least one online casino application on their devices.

Data from the Chilean Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications shows that 95% of Chileans have internet access, and more than 85% of them use the internet through mobile devices. These figures reflect a highly connected society, making it easy to use online casino applications from anywhere and at any time.

In addition, access to high-speed mobile networks has improved dramatically in recent years. More than 80% of the Chilean population has access to 4G networks, and 5G deployment is expected to continue expanding throughout the country. As it does, online casinos will likely continue to find greater support.