The economy and sports commissions of Chile's Chamber of Deputies heard from relevant parties this week on contrasting online gambling bills, making progress on what has been a long and arduous process to regulate the online industry.
On Monday (January 16), the Sports Commission debated bill 14892-29, which would outlaw partnerships and sponsorships between Chilean sports teams and online gambling platforms.
During the session, many amendments to the bill were proposed but only two were approved.
Lawmakers agreed, with a narrow margin, that women’s sports teams should be given 36 months to wind up existing contracts with online gambling platforms should the bill be signed into law, in contrast with the 12 months to be given to men’s teams.
Deputy Érika Olivera's comments broadly represented the feelings towards the amendment, namely that women’s football has little support compared with men’s football in both funding and infrastructure and should be given a longer grace period to find alternative revenue sources.
The advertising bill was first proposed by deputy Marco Antonio Sulantay in April 2022 and was passed on the floor of the Chamber of Deputies in November.
Rather than a policy proposal in its own right, it has been suspected that the bill was drafted to speed up the progress of a more comprehensive online gambling bill, 14838-03.
That bill, first proposed last March to establish a licensing regime for online betting and casino games, was also on the docket on Tuesday (January 17) in the Chamber of Deputies' Economy Commission, which heard from gambling lawyer Carlos Baeza.
Baeza, who is a lawyer for Coolbet, Latamwin, Betsson and Betano, laid out the benefits to society of regulation, with tax revenue and player protection chief among them.
He reminded the commission members that Polla Beneficencia de Chile, which has a duopoly on the federal lottery market in the country and advised against regulation before the commission last week, has been given special dispensation for sports betting.
Namely, the lottery has been allowed to operate online sports betting without a licence for eight years, and can begin to do so before a licensing process begins, and therefore asked that the rest of the industry be treated with similar generosity.
Baeza also proposed the elimination of the “winnings tax” included in the bill, which he said incentivised illegal gambling on sites where such taxation does not exist.
The Subsecretariat of Telecommunications (SUBTEL), which regulates telecommunication providers and licensees in Chile, was present at the meeting but delayed its prepared remarks until next week.
SUBTEL secretary Claudio Araya San Martín noted in his submitted presentation that SUBTEL does not regulate internet content as an organisation, only that which falls under the purview of net neutrality.
Araya recommended how to set up a streamlined system for online operators from a technology perspective, but clearly stated that “the Superintendent of Casinos is the entity that can determine which gaming house is legal and which is illegal”.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Betsson announced a contract with the Chilean National Association of Professional Football (ANFP) to rename the league’s championship tournament the Betsson Championship, for a reported price of $2.5m.