Conservative politicians in Chile’s sports commission have lambasted a pending online gambling bill, in what is likely a preview of the wider debate in the Chamber of Deputies ahead of a pivotal vote later this year.
Following approval of the legislation by the Chamber's economy commission, the sports commission was given just one session to debate the bill that would establish a licensing system for both sports betting and online casino games.
The sports commission is dominated by conservative politicians, who questioned why online gambling was being regulated at all.
Deputy Cristian Tapia Ramos said during the session that “not only have we not talked, we have not had evidence, we have not followed up on how harmful and how bad this type of online gambling is for our society”.
“I believe that the only thing we are going to achieve by legalising this gambling house is that they pay taxes,” he added. “I believe that we are not even going to know who the owners are. We have said here that we do not know if drug trafficking is behind it.”
He went on to say that online betting operators were also responsible for the ills of match-fixing that have plagued Latin America and Chile of late.
The commission was not permitted to vote on the bill, but these objections are expected to be repeated as the bill progresses.
Carlos Baeza, a Chilean lawyer who works with Latamwin, Coolbet, Betano and Betsson and speaks for them publicly, said this opposition is a preview of the debate the bill will face when it goes before the full Chamber of Deputies, most likely in December.
“Opinions were very divided. There are several who do not agree with the project, they are not interested, regardless of whether it is a technically good or bad project, they are not interested in regulating this. And others are. So I believe that it is like a preview of what may eventually happen in the plenary of the Chamber of Deputies, when this is voted on.”
The bill will next go to the Chamber of Deputies' finance commission, which will not be debating the content of the bill but simply making sure that the accounting measures up in terms of taxation and fees. It will then be passed on to the Chamber of Deputies for debate.
Baeza told Vixio GamblingCompliance that he believes that the bill at this point has a 50/50 chance of passing through the larger chamber. If approved on the floor of the Chamber of Deputies, the measure would then still have to be vetted and approved by Chile's Senate before it could be signed into law.