Chile Regulator Slams TV Stations for Airing Online Gambling Ads

February 17, 2023
Chile’s casino authority has sent letters to four local TV stations demanding they withdraw online gambling advertisements from their programing.


Chile’s casino authority has sent letters to four local TV stations demanding they withdraw online gambling advertisements from their programing.

The Casino Gaming Superintendence (SCJ) sent letters in December to local TV stations Canal 13, TV Chile, Mega and Chilevisión, according to reports this week in the Spanish-language outlet Diario Financiero.

The letters stated, in part: “In our country, games of chance constitute a regulated economic activity, in principle of an illegal nature, which only exceptionally by virtue of a law created for such purpose is authorised to be developed and commercially exploited, as is the case of the games of chance administered by Polla Chilena de Beneficencia S.A., Lotería de Concepción S.A., the racetracks and the gaming casinos.”

The regulator went on to state that other than the named state monopoly lotteries, others “cannot develop online games of chance, since they do not have a specific legal standing that enables them to do so”.

It remains unclear whether or not it is within the SCJ’s remit to demand the removal of online gambling advertising, however.

Carlos Baeza, a Chilean lawyer for Coolbet, Latamwin and other gaming operators stated: “It makes no sense, they do not have the authority.”

The state lottery operator, Polla Chilena, is locked in a lobbying battle with online operators to retain its monopoly over online sports betting.

Current drafts of a pending online gambling bill, which is sitting in the Economy Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, would give Polla Chilena a chance to operate online games without having to apply for a licence or adhere to any of the same restrictions as private operators.

Baeza said he suspects that the SCJ is bending to pressure from land-based casinos as negotiations around the final text of the bill continue.

“It's totally against the law. They [the SCJ] have no rights to make any statements in another industry like the media. Their jurisdiction is only the land-based casinos.”

The Ministry of Justice in Brazil tried a similar move in August of last year, when its consumer protection brand Senacon launched a surprise investigation into the nature of contracts between Brazilian football tournaments, teams, and media outlets with online betting operators.

Senacon requested that those partners turn over relevant documentation, but many either did not or submitted redacted versions. Legal insiders said that the reason was that Senacon had no legal authority to make such demands.

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