Chilean gaming lawyer questions blocking proposal: “It makes no sense to attack operators who are part of the market”

Lawyer Carlos Baeza, representative in Chile of the operators Betsson, Betano, Coolbet, Latamwin, BetWarrior, and 1xBet, questioned that the bill that seeks to regulate online gambling in the country proposes a block for brands that have operated in the 12 months before its entry into force.

During an interview with Yogonet, Baeza commented on his recent visit to the Senate’s Economy Committee and welcomed the fact that lawmakers have chosen to “include the industry among the most important players for the analysis of the bill”.

Regarding his presentation, he stated that both the proposed blocking and the obligation to pay retroactive taxes, included in two articles of the bill, “are absolutely unconstitutional” and “should not pass the filter of the Constitutional Court,” since it is a text that, “by its nature, has mandatory preventive control” by said instance.

“We pointed out that these two articles lack any practical sense because the objective of this regulatory project is that the majority of operators move from the unregulated market to the regulated market. It makes no sense to affect or attack all those who already participate in the market,” he said.

On the contrary, the interest is for them to be integrated into the market and to start paying taxes to the Chilean treasury as soon as possible. It makes no sense to postpone it with the blocking period and it makes even less sense to postpone it with the retroactive punishment in relation to taxes,” he added.

Chilean Senate

Likewise, the lawyer referred to the tax burden proposed in the bill and stated that “it is absolutely disproportionate,” with a 37.8% rate that “contrasts very sharply with the 12% established by the regulation in Brazil, 12% in Peru, and 16.8% in Colombia.”

There is a structural error on the part of the Ministry of Finance in maintaining that the higher the rate, the greater the collection. Lower taxes not only benefit the operators but also the country, because if the tax burden is low, the channeling rate is high and the collection and the protected players increase,” he explained.

However, Baeza welcomed the presentation made to the senators of the Economy Committee and considered that the arguments presented by the industry regarding the major problems of the project “have the necessary convincing force to be corrected” and that he expects “this to be what happens in the coming months.”

Response to criticisms

The representative of online gambling sites also indicated that, in the session of the Economy Commission, he was able to address the “wrong assertions” made in the Superintendence of Gaming Casinos and the country’s state-owned lottery, Polla de Beneficencia’s presentations. 

We clarify that the statements in relation to illegality are completely unfounded, that there is no rule in our legislation that prohibits online betting, and that this is stated in all the reports that have been accompanied in the commission in the constitutional area,” he said.

It should be noted that, in her presentation, the Superintendent of Casinos, Vivien Villagrán, stated that “without express legal regulation, the commercial operation of games of chance in Chile is illegal and also constitutes a crime,” in reference to the iGaming platforms that operated in said jurisdiction.