Chile’s Supreme Court orders government to block online gambling sites

The Chilean government has been working on online gambling regulations.
The Chilean government has been working on online gambling regulations.

The court has upheld a challenge brought by the state-owned lottery and pools operator.

Chile.- The Supreme Court of Chile has upheld a legal challenge against the presence of online gambling in the country. The case was brought by Polla Chilena de Beneficencia, Chile’s state-owned lottery and pools operator, which had called for the court to rule that online gambling was an illegal activity.

The court voted 5-0 in favour of the state operator, finding that the existing presence of unregulated online gambling conflicted with the government’s plans to introduce a regulated market. It has ordered the government to block access to online gambling websites, which it said must be “considered illegal until the government finds a regulatory status for online gambling”.

Websites found to have breached Chilean law include Betano, Betway, Betcris, Coolbet, JuegaenLinea, 1xbet, Rivalo, Betsson, Rojabet, BetWarrior, BetSala, Micasino, Latamwin, Estelarbet, KTO, bet365, Betfair, Sportingbet, bwin, Marathonbet, Betplay, Bodog and Rushbet.

The court’s statement read: “Online gambling is prohibited by our legal system, which treats debts contracted in games of chance as an illicit object and criminally sanctions those who enable the activity and who participate in it.”

Polla Chilena made its complaint due to concerns about unfair competition from unregulated online gambling operations targeting Chilean customers. For now there are still no specific laws governing the online sector as the casino regulator, the SCJ, can only take action against municipal casinos and national lotteries.

Chile is currently working on proposals to regulate online gambling by the end of this year. Last week, the government accepted resolutions proposed by the Chamber of Deputies Economic Commission, comprising 15 new articles that define the online gambling activities to be licensed and those to be prohibited.

Drafted by economic undersecretary Heidi Berner with the assistance of Vivien Villagrán, the superintendent of Gaming Casinos Chile (SCJ), the articles are part of the legislative framework for Bill 035/2022, which will legalise online gambling and sports betting.

Since the bill was authorised in March, government departments have been working on policy provisions. The new articles set out the context for the prosecution of criminal activity connected to online gambling, introducing criminal penalties for the violation of online gambling regulations.

Last month, the National Congress announced the creation of a commission to review Chile’s rules on sports betting advertising. The commission, led by sports minister Jaime Pizarro, will review the relationships between football clubs and both international and domestic gambling companies. It will also probe a disagreement between the National Association of Professional Football (ANFP) and the Ministry of Justice about betting sponsorship.

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