Chile Casino Tenders in the Spotlight at Public Hearing This Week

Come the middle of next year, Chile may begin to see a change in its casino landscape. There are 12 casinos licenses for which operators are involved in a new tender process, and an upcoming hearing will help determine what happens next.

Casino Dreams in Punta Arenas, Chile
Casino Dreams in Punta Arenas, Chile
Casino Dreams in Punta Arenas, Chile. The country’s casinos are undergoing a tender review ahead of the issuance of new licenses next year. (Image: Flickr)

The Superintendency of Gaming Casinos (SCJ, for its Spanish acronym) will hold a public hearing on August 5 to discuss the future of the new casino licenses. 11 municipal governments and a handful of casino operators are working feverishly to determine the next steps.

The upcoming hearing will, in part, help the SCJ understand local sentiment for the proposal, as well as operator profiles. Then, depending on the feedback, some of the licenses could be in place starting in July 2023.

Advancing the Casino Industry

In a statement, the regulatory body reported that in the session on July 18, Chile’s Resolution Council unanimously ratified the technical evaluation proposals presented by the SCJ regarding new licensing procedures. The regulator then determined the technical evaluation score of the projects applying for an operating permit in the communities of Calama, Copiapó, Mostazal, Santa Cruz, Talca, Talcahuano, Los Angeles, Temuco, Valdivia, Osorno and Punta Arenas.

This Friday, the SCJ will hold its hearing at the office of the Ministry of Finance. Leading all of the casino projects are existing gaming companies, including Marina del Sol, Dreams, Enjoy, Luckia, Corporación Meier and Grupo Cardoen.

In most cases, the existing casino operators are focusing only on their established businesses. However, one tried to branch out before realizing that it might not have the necessary resources to expand.

In a meeting on July 18, the Resolution Council decided to end the evaluation of a proposal presented by Marina del Sol Talca S.A. The casino operator was going to apply for a new operating permit in Copiapó, where Luckia currently holds the cards.

Marina del Sol determined that trying to win a license in Copiapó wasn’t economically viable and it asked to withdraw. The SCJ accepted the request, adding that Marina del Sol couldn’t prove that it would have uninterrupted access to the property it presented during the 15-year licensing period. In addition, there were concerns over the viability of the company to deliver milestones on time in accordance with regulations.

Intense Scrutiny of Operators

The regulatory body highlighted that, once it completes the technical evaluation stage of the operators, what defines the award of the permit to operate a gambling casino is the highest economic offer. This, according to gaming legislation, corresponds to the amount of money gaming companies have offered for a permit to operate or renew a casino license. It also factors in how much money the Treasury Service collects from the operations.

In order to obtain an operating permit, proposals must reach at least 60% of the total of the weighted scores of the technical and economic offers. Next, consideration is given to the highest economic offer. In the event of a tie score, the SCJ will create a separate scoring system to select the winner.

For 2021, Chile’s 20 casinos recorded gross gaming revenues of CLP294.25 million (US$356.2 million). In addition, they contributed a total of CLP89.67 million (US$108.5 million) in taxes.

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