Chile, officially known as the Republic of Chile, is a country located in the western part of South America. The country takes up more than half of the west coast of the continent and borders countries like Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. When it comes to gambling, Chile boasts one of the most well-regulated land-based gambling industries in the world. That said, the country is yet to legalize online gambling and properly regulate that form of entertainment.
Gambling has been a part of Chile’s history for many years, with some forms of gambling being legalized back in 1852. Nowadays, gambling is properly regulated in the country, with operators being able to apply for a license if they wish to conduct gaming or betting activities at land-based gambling facilities in Chile. As mentioned before, currently, the country has not fully legalized online gambling but the Chilean government is considering launching legal online gambling very soon.
While the law governing gambling still has not changed towards a fully regulated and legal online gambling market, Chile has taken steps towards online gambling in 2008. Thanks to the amendments introduced back then, Chileans are allowed to enjoy online lottery games and even some forms of online sports betting. If new regulations are to be introduced soon, the gambling industry in Chile is expected to further grow and allow Chileans to freely enjoy all forms of gambling.
History of Gambling in Chile
One could trace back legal gambling in Chile to the mid-19th century, with the first land-based casino in the country being launched in 1852. Despite this, the years while the country was ruled by General Pinochet were not the most fruitful time for gambling in Chile. During that time, Law No. 1,528 from 1902 was passed, legalizing horse race betting. Under that law, however, Chileans were not allowed to take part in any type of gambling except for placing bets on horse races.
Fortunately, throughout the years, the country has amended its gambling laws several times. This is the reason for the land-based gambling industry in Chile being well-regulated, with Chileans having the opportunity to enjoy a variety of gambling options. In 2005, Law No. 19,995 was implemented, regulating land-based casino operations in Chile.
In 2008, a limited number of gambling activities were allowed to operate online through Decree No. 1,411. Thanks to this piece of legislation, Chileans can currently play online lotteries and even place bets on some sporting events. Both forms of gambling, however, are state-owned monopolies.
In 2021, the Chilean government announced its plans for a change in the online gambling scene in the country. Lawmakers ensured they will put all of their efforts into proposing a bill that will legalize and regulate online gambling in Chile. At the time of writing this article, the bill still has not been proposed and iGaming is yet to be legally allowed in the Latin American country.
Gambling Regulations in Chile
As already mentioned, the history of legal gambling in Chile began in 1852, with the first land-based casino launching its operation in the country. In the following years, the gambling industry in Chile continued to transform, as other laws were also enacted, with some of them still regulating gambling in the Latin American country in present days.
While the first brick-and-mortar casino in the country was launched in 1852, in 1902 Law No. 1,528 was passed, permitting only bets on horse races. This form of gambling was the first one to be properly regulated and legalized in Chile. Under that law, horse racing betting became a state monopoly and for several years, this was the only legal gambling activity that Chileans could enjoy.
In 1986, the country also passed a law regulating the lottery which became a state monopoly. Later on, sports betting was also monopolized, with both lotteries and sports betting still being organized by the state-owned companies La Lotería de Concepción and Polla Chilena. In 2008, through Decree No. 1,411, the two companies were also allowed to offer lottery tickets, instant games, and sports betting online.
Land-based casinos in Chile started getting regulated in 2005, with the enactment of Law No. 19,995. Under this law, operators that wish to run a brick-and-mortar casino will need to require a license from the Superintendencia de Casinos de Juego (Superintendency of Gaming Casinos). According to the laws regulating gambling in the country, the legal age for Chileans to participate in gambling is at least 18 years.
Online Gambling in Chile
While Chile boasts a well-regulated land-based gambling scene, when it comes to online gambling, the country is still way behind others. The current legislative framework of the Latin American country lacks definitions of online gambling and the way it must be conducted. While it has been specified by the law that land-based casino operators are required to obtain a license from the Superintendency of Gaming Casinos in Chile, online casinos are currently unregulated in the country.
The few forms of online gambling that have been legalized in a very restrictive form include lottery games and sports betting. Thanks to the enactment of Decree No. 1,411, lottery games and sports betting offered by state-owned La Lotería de Concepción and Polla Chilena were made available online. Despite that, online casinos continued to be unregulated, with no online casino licensing process being introduced.
While the state-owned sportsbook does provide some betting options on sports popular in Chile, there are still numerous Chileans that prefer betting on foreign unlicensed websites. In fact, offshore gaming and betting are widely spread among punters and casino fans in Chile.
While online gambling has not been legalized in the Latin American country, many take advantage of the fact that this sector is not regulated in Chile. With the government taking no measures to restrict access to foreign online sportsbooks and casinos, many Chileans resort to offshore websites for their virtual betting and gaming experiences. Since there are no legal consequences imposed by the law for those participating in online gambling on foreign websites, this form is getting increasingly popular in the country.
With the constantly growing online gambling activity among Chileans, the local government has recognized the need for a new law legalizing the iGaming sector in Chile. At the beginning of 2021, the Chilean Ministry of Finance promised to put in intense work towards the proposal of a new bill that will legalize online gambling in Chile. The bill is expected to regulate online casino games, online sports betting as well as other forms of interactive betting.
If a new bill is passed, a regulated online gambling market would mean that Chile will be able to generate higher tax income. In addition to that, the new law would enable better regulation of licensed operators.
While a new bill regulating online gambling in Chile sounds great, at the moment of writing this article, the bill still has not been proposed for approval.
Gambling Regulator and Licensing Process in Chile
The authority responsible for the regulation of the gambling industry in Chile is the Superintendency of Gaming Casinos. It was established with the implementation of Law No.19,995, under which operators that wish to run casino establishments or other land-based gambling facilities in Chile are required to obtain a license from the said authority.
Those who wish to learn more about the licensing process in Chile can also take a look at Law No. 20,856, which amended Law No. 19,995. One could also head to the official website of the regulatory body and look up the details about acquiring an operational license from the Superintendency of Gaming Casinos. It should be noted, however, that the website of the licensing authority is available only in Spanish so those who are not fluent in the language might need some help understanding the licensing process.
The Superintendency of Gaming Casinos deals with the licensing process of land-based casinos in Chile. Meanwhile, lottery licenses can also be issued to private companies in Chile. This type of license, however, can be obtained by the La Lotería de Concepción. Unfortunately, the website of this licensing body is also available only in Spanish.
The casino licensing process includes several steps
The licensing process begins with granting of an opening resolution by the Superintendence. On the website of the regulator, operators can fill out a form that will enable them to download Technical Bases and Application System documents.
2Requests for Clarifications
After the operator acquires the Technical Bases and Application System document, there is a period during which applicants can request clarification on the licensing process. Applicants have up to 10 days to send any queries and the regulator has to respond within the period of 15 business days.
3Submitting Technical and Economic Offers
Applicants interested in acquiring a casino license will have to prepare and present their Technical and Economic Offers at the official hearing, the date of which will be announced on the official website of the Superintendence.
After the Hearing process, the projects of applicants will be revised within a period of 120 days. The regulatory body evaluates whether applicants meet the requirements for operating a land-based casino and if they are compliant with the rules set up by the law.
5Ratification, Revision, or Putting an End to the Evaluation
The evaluation of the Technical Offers presented by applicants is proposed to the Resolution Council. The said body either ratifies, reviews, or puts an end to the evaluation process. Once the Resolution Council has made its decision, the Superintendence will act on it and will announce the applicants who have obtained a score high enough to qualify for the Economic Offer Hearing.
6Economic Offer Hearing
Applicants with a score of at least 60%, will have five days after the publication of the scores to prepare for the Economic Offer Hearing. The Economic Offers represent the sum the companies applying for a license are offering and will be paid annually to the municipality where they will operate.
7Final Decision of the Resolution Council
Following the Economic Offer Hearing, the Superintendency will publish the final decision of the Resolution Council about the applicants who have participated in the previous stage of the licensing process. The final results are published within five business days after the Economic Offer Hearing process.
Gambling Taxes in Chile
Players who generate winnings from gambling in Chile are not required to pay any taxes but there is an entry into casinos tax of 0.07 Monthly Tax Units (UTMs). However, casinos and other land-based gambling facilities that operate in the country need to pay gambling taxes.
Brick-and-mortar casinos are required to pay a tax of 20% on the gross income of the gaming facility. They are also required to pay net of VAT and make Provisional Monthly Payments (PPMs).
Chile is known for having one of the best gambling regulation systems in the world. With the legislative framework in the country being amended several times throughout the years, currently, land-based casino operations are legal, provided operators obtain a license from the local regulatory body. Lotteries, sports betting, and horse race betting have also been legalized in Chile.
Unfortunately, Chile has only legalized land-based gambling while online gambling remains unregulated in the Latin American country. Despite that, the lack of any legal restrictions and penalties for those participating in online gambling allows many Chileans to resort to playing on offshore online casinos.
As the Chilean government realizes the potential benefits of legalizing online gambling, lawmakers are working towards the implementation of a new bill that would introduce legal online casinos and sportsbooks in Chile. That said, as of now, online gambling still remains an unregulated industry in the Latin American country.