Dreams convened meetings within the O’Higgins regions to address the issue of clandestine casinos being monitored by the municipalities in the area.
In Chile, various municipalities are implementing strategies to eliminate illegal gambling from their territories. This week, a recent operation uncovered and shut down two clandestine casinos in the Municipality of Rancagua, the capital of the Cachapoal province in the O’Higgins region, bringing the issue back into focus.
Dreams S.A., represented by corporate attorney and corporate affairs manager Carlos Silva, addressed the issue of illegal gambling in O’Higgins in an interview with local newspaper El Tipógrafo.
Silva highlighted the ongoing national discussion surrounding gaming machines in Chile. Initially installed in neighborhood stores throughout the country and later in dedicated rooms, these establishments now operate like miniature casinos, proliferating in various cities, including Rancagua. Silva raised questions about their legality, operation, and the type of municipal licenses they hold.
The lawyer mentioned that some of these questions were addressed by the Rancagua Court of Appeals, which rejected appeals filed by businessmen operating premises with gaming machines in the O’Higgins region’s capital. The court upheld the municipality’s decision to close these premises, stating that it aligned with the law, although practical implementation had not been verified.
Rancagua Mayor Juan Ramón Godoy affirmed that the municipality was enforcing regulations by closing two non-compliant establishments violating the Income Law. The mayor emphasized the joint operation carried out by the Municipal Secretary, Income Management Directorate officials, Municipal Public Security Directorate personnel, and Carabineros (Chilean national police) in tackling this issue.
The court rulings revealed that the appellants did not provide evidence, as required by law, that their machines were skill-based, which necessitates certification from the Superintendency of Casinos. This raises concerns about whether the numerous stores in Rancagua have obtained this certification.
Silva explained the technological advancements that have led to the availability of cheaper physical slot machines, essentially computers with game programs downloaded from the internet. These machines lack international standards in terms of intellectual property and security, in stark contrast to legal casino machines worth thousands of dollars. The representative from Dreams described the situation as a way to circumvent the law and protect a profitable business.
Silva stated that it is now time for criminal law to address the issue, presenting a challenge for the Public Ministry.
The Comptroller General of the Republic and the Superintendency of Games and Casinos have determined that obtaining or renewing a patent for operating premises with allegedly skill-based machines requires certification from the Superintendency, verifying their nature as skill-based rather than random.
Legislative efforts are underway to establish a legal framework for this situation, but progress in the Chilean Congress has been limited thus far.