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Supreme Court Rules Online Gambling as Illegal in Chile

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Online gambling has suffered a setback in Chile after the Supreme Court ordered the government to block access to all online gambling websites operating in the jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court declared the judgment after ruling in favor of a legal challenge presented by the state-owned lottery and pools operator, Polla Chilena de Beneficencia, seeking to classify "online gambling as an unlawful activity."

With a unanimous vote of 5-to-0 in favor of Polla Chilena, the judges have instructed the government to block access to websites that should be regarded as "illegal until a regulatory framework for online gambling is established."

According to the Supreme Court, the presence of unlicensed online gambling websites negatively impacts the Chilean government's ongoing efforts to establish a regulated online marketplace.

"Online gambling is prohibited in our legal system, categorizing debts incurred in such games of chance as illicit and subject to criminal sanctions for both facilitators and participants." The court emphasized.

Related: Chile one Step Closer to Banning Sports Betting Ads and Deals

Polla Chilena Concerns

Polla Chilena explained that it resorted to bringing its concerns about "unfair online competition" to the Supreme Court due to the absence of specific laws governing online gambling in Chile.

While the South American country has a gambling regulator, its powers only cover municipal casinos and national lotteries. As such, many online gambling sites have been accepting bets from individuals in the jurisdiction without getting a proper license from the Chilean government.

Some of them include Betway, Betano, Coolbet, 1xbet, Rivalo, Betsson, bet365, Rojabet, BetWarrior, BetSala, Micasino, Latamwin, Estelarbet, KTO and several others. However, with the new Supreme Court ruling, these sites are determined to be in breach of Chile’s existing laws and are mandated to stop targeting bettors in Chile.

Online Gambling Legalization

Before the Supreme Court’s decision, Chile had been advancing toward the launch of a regulated online gambling market slated in 2023.

In March, the Chilean government authorized and tasked various departments with crafting the necessary legislation and policy guidelines outlined in Bill 035/2022, essential for implementing Chile's foundational framework for online gambling.

Recently, the government accepted resolutions proposed by the Economic Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, solidifying the legal groundwork for online gambling businesses to operate within Chile.

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