Chile's Casinos Win Court Request To Reopen Online Investigation

May 17, 2024
Back
Another criminal case has been opened against online betting platforms active in Chile, this time with a list of high-profile witnesses and defendants who are being called upon to testify.
Body

Another criminal case has been opened against online betting platforms active in Chile, this time with a list of high-profile witnesses and defendants who are being called upon to testify.

The Fourth Administrative Court of Santiago accepted the request filed by the Polla Chilena public lottery, as well as casino operators Marina del Sol and San Francisco Investment, parent company of the Sun Monticello casino.

The plaintiffs based their complaint on the assertion that online operators have committed illegal acts by offering bets to Chileans without a licence.

That claim is, in turn, based on a Supreme Court decision of September 2023 that ordered leading Chilean internet service providers to block 23 gambling websites that judges declared to be hosting illegal activity. 

It is a decision that has since been cited many times by incumbent land-based casinos in Chile in their quest to make online operators active in the country face legal repercussions.  

The case has summoned heavyweight sports agent Fernando Felicevich, who represents famed footballers Charles Aránguiz and Alexis Sánchez, to face questions about his relationship with betting operators. 

Prominent sports journalists have also been summoned, along with former players including Mauricio Pinilla, Jean Beausejour, Jorge Valdivia, Nicolás Peric, Patricio Yáñez, Rafael Olarra, Dante Poli and Diego Rivarola.

Lawyers for Marina del Sol told Chilean news agency BioBio: “We hope that, with this ruling, added to the pronouncement of the Supreme Court on online gambling, the denunciations of the Superintendence of Casino Gaming and the Internal Revenue Service, the Prosecutor's Office will speed up this investigation and prosecute the authors of these criminal acts.”

In February, online operator Latamwin filed a lawsuit against the Superintendence of Casino Gaming (SCJ) and the telecomms regulatory body Subtel for, per the filing, imposing legal restrictions that they did not have the authority to enforce in reaction to the September Supreme Court ruling.  

Carlos Baeza, a gaming lawyer who works with Latamwin but was not involved in that lawsuit, told Vixio GamblingCompliance at the time that the intention “is to generate a little more protection and to try to get both the SCJ and Subtel to maintain a more neutral position and not so much of an attack”.

“The idea is a little bit to prevent them from continuing to exceed their powers and making decisions, or developing or executing acts that go against the online gaming industry without having those powers,” Baeza said.

That message evidently was not received by the casinos that filed the latest complaint in court.

The litigation comes as the Chilean government's proposed bill to regulate online gambling is currently sitting in the Senate waiting to be discussed by the finance committee. The legislation was approved by the lower house or Congress late last year.

In its current form, operators would have faced a 12-month cooling-off period and be required to pay back taxes to qualify for a licence.  

Our premium content is available to users of our services.

To view articles, please Log-in to your account, or sign up today for full access:

Opt in to hear about webinars, events, industry and product news

To find out more about Vixio, contact us today
No items found.