Chile’s online gambling bill on ice after ‘visible flaws’ in tax framework

Chile's online gambling bill halted
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Movement towards the finalisation of an online gambling bill in Chile this year appears to have slowed down over tax-related concerns.

At the beginning of 2022, Chile’s Ministry of Finance had agreed to finalise a gambling bill that would be voted on by the end of the year, ahead of the launch of a federally regulated online gambling regime by 2023.

The Ministry had alerted government agencies to update and formalise further legislation on compliance duties, advertising and welfare to support the gambling bill’s ascension into law, policy requirements needed to safeguard Chile’s soon-to-be reformed gambling marketplace.

This was supported by Chile’s National Congress with the Ministry targeting an annual collection of $55m in taxes, shutting down a black market of 900 unlicensed websites.

But while optimism was starting to grow following a promising start to the year, events this week have halted that momentum and confidence.

An Economic Commission for Chile’s Chamber of Deputies has affirmed that a review is necessary on proposed taxes, with concerns emanating from policy stakeholders; Superintendent of Gambling Casinos Vivien Villagrán, the Undersecretary of Finance Claudia Sanhueza and the Head of the Policy Unit Rodrigo Ajenjo.

The Ministry was adjudged to have presented an insufficient tax framework for Chile to launch its online gambling marketplace, with criticism over its failure to explain how the country’s local and commercial taxes would be applied to international operators, who should be subject to equal tax terms as domestic incumbents.

Policy stakeholder Sanhueza underlined her support for the gambling bill but stated that a diagnosis of the tax framework had demonstrated “visible flaws.”