Chile’s Casino Dreams Can’t Stop Gambling Hall Growth in the Country

Casino operator Casino Dreams believes that it should have almost total autonomy over the gambling infrastructure in Chile. It has recently begun lobbying municipalities not to issue licenses to companies that want to open gambling halls, but where there’s money to be made, there are governments ready to collect.

A man waves Chile's flag in public
A man waves Chile's flag in public
A man waves Chile’s flag in public. The country’s largest casino operator, Casino Dreams, wants to prevent new land-based and online gaming operators from launching operations, but the government might not listen. (Image: Getty Images)

Chile is one of the South American countries that is working to boost the industry of the online and physical gambling sectors. Although they are not yet at the level of countries like Colombia or Peru, the growth has been significant and is reflected in the numbers.

Regulators and legislators in Chile have made progress in terms of regularization, and more regions are ready to embrace new casinos. Consistently, local authorities are approving new licenses so that both international and national operators can offer their products legally.

Can’t Stop Progress

The legislation for online gambling in Chile is still under debate, although the terms of regulation have advanced by leaps and bounds. At the same time, the growth in revenue from physical casinos is an incentive to accelerate the legalization of the online sector.

Chile is showing progress in the expansion of its physical casino expansion, despite Casino Dreams’ efforts. The government recently granted new permits for municipalities such as San Antonio and La Rinconada to offer gambling halls in their territory. As a result, San Antonio, starting next year, will be able to grant permits to casinos for 15 years, as will La Rinconada.

Mainland casinos contribute millions of dollars to the state, and gambling halls and online gambling will bring more. The latter stands out because it is booming worldwide and is responsible for generating millions of dollars in income for countries that have already regulated the sector.

Chilean casinos contributed a total of CLP46.44 billion (US$57.87 million) to the economy during July, August and September of last year, according to the Superintendence of Casinos of Chile. CLP17.49 billion (US$21.8 million) of that was through VAT on gambling, and municipalities and governments received CLP17.25 billion (US$21.5 million) through other taxes.

The fees paid just to enter the casinos were a significant contributor, as well. This provided CLP5.5 billion (US$6.9 million) to various government entities.

As a result, as long as the gambling industry continues to grow, the government has little reason to limit it. Casino Dreams might not like it but, on the other side, gaming companies, including Betano, Betsson and LatamWin, and sports clubs are lobbying for continued expansion. They’re responding to Casino Dreams with a loud, collective voice.

Online Regulations In The Wings

Although online gambling has been a hot topic for a number of years, Chile is now trying to catch up. Still, every day, thousands of Chilean players gamble in online casinos or place wagers on online sportsbooks.

Contrary to what some casino operators want people to think, there is no law that prohibits Chileans from gambling or betting online. However, “buyer beware,” as the lack of regulations also means there’s a lack of control over operators.

This means that players can gamble without fear of sanctions or reprisals. At the same time, though, it also means that they are not protected by the country’s authorities in case a problem arises.

Chile will soon follow in the footsteps of other Latin American markets, such as Colombia, but it’s impossible to know exactly when. The change is coming, though, despite attempts to prevent it.

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