The Chilean Ministry of Finance has asked for a 30-day delay in processing a bill to regulate online gambling.
On Tuesday, (August 2), the Economic Commission of Chile’s Chamber of Deputies heard from finance undersecretary Claudia Sanhueza Riveros, who asked for the extension.
She explained that the bill, a project of the last presidential administration, would be better served when considered holistically with the new administration's larger tax reform plan.
The bill, which was introduced in March of this year, establishes that gambling will be under the authority of the Superintendency of Casinos Betting and Games of Chance (SCJ), with a tax rate of 20 percent on gross income for operators and 15 percent for players.
During her presentation, Sanhueza expressed a desire for the improvement of a number of points pertaining to the bill’s regulation.
Among them, the ministry would like to consider increased incentives for online gambling registration and advertising rules that would “seek to avoid conduct contrary to responsible gaming”.
It also wishes to address the matter of no minimum capital requirements and making application procedures stricter as the formal aspects are “easy to circumvent”.
“What this bill does is regulate and tax an activity that has negative effects on society. That is how we have defined it, which is why casinos are also heavily regulated. Therefore our idea is to pause the processing of this bill to discuss it together with the other corrective tax packages that will probably be in several packages already,” Sanhueza told the commission.
She also pointed out that international operators were at an advantage in the currently unregulated market, and do not contribute to taxes unlike the country’s long established casinos: “Remember that currently the income generated by the operation of the casinos has a local destination.”
Vivien Villagrán, the superintendent of gambling and casinos, who was also present, added: “The configuration of the crime or illegality is given by the user, who ultimately agrees to a bet. But not necessarily to the page, which is not oriented to the Chilean market and that, basically, within the framework of access to that platform, the game can be allowed.”
According to legal sources, it is not entirely correct to say that it is a crime to access an online betting site.
If an operator is not based in Chile, but is licensed by a jurisdiction to be operating, it is not technically illegal for a player to access the site, as Chile by law protects the freedom of its citizens to access international sites.
Although the final decision is to put the discussion on hold for 30 days, locals familiar with the matter say it will probably be on hold until after Chile’s holiday weekend on September 19.