Chile’s Supreme Court Orders Block of 23 Sports Betting Websites Amid Legal Uncertainty
Chile’s Supreme Court has taken a significant step by ordering the blocking of access to 23 online sports betting websites, even in the absence of comprehensive regulations governing online gambling in the country.
This decision is poised to impact the financial interests of the Chilean football professional league.
The Court’s Ruling
On September 12, the Chilean Supreme Court ruled in favor of Polla Chilena de Beneficencia, a state-owned company authorized to operate games of chance. Polla Chilena had submitted a protection appeal in 2022 against Mundo Pacífico, a telecommunications company, requesting the blockage and cessation of promotion of online betting sites.
The Supreme Court’s decision was rooted in the assertion that “online sports betting is prohibited in our legal system.” However, it’s important to note that online betting remains unregulated by law in Chile. The Court’s rationale was based on existing laws pertaining to brick-and-mortar casinos, deeming websites without licenses for games of chance as illegal.
Superintendency of Gaming Casinos Stance
This ruling aligns with the stance of the Superintendency of Gaming Casinos, which supervises the operation of Chile’s casinos. The Superintendency maintains that the only authorized online betting services in Chile are those provided by Lotería de Concepción, Polla Chilena de Beneficencia, and Teletrak, companies involved in lotteries and horse betting.
In June, the undersecretary of the Treasury, Heidi Berner, introduced a bill aimed at regulating online betting platforms. The bill does not seek to ban online sports betting but rather intends to establish a regulatory framework, including operating licenses and other requirements.
Impact on Football Sponsorship
Recently, the Ministry of Justice gave the Chilean football federation, Asociación Nacional de Fútbol Profesional (ANFP), a 30-day ultimatum to terminate contracts with sports betting websites. This move affects not only Chile’s top football leagues but also numerous professional clubs sponsored by foreign betting companies.
In response, the ANFP has chosen to challenge the government with a protection appeal, arguing that the authorities lack the legal power to dictate contract terminations. However, the recent decision by the Supreme Court appears to go against the ANFP’s position.
It’s worth noting that in 2022, the Chamber of Deputies voted in favor of a bill prohibiting betting house advertising in all Chilean football activities. This legislation is currently under processing, adding to the evolving regulatory landscape surrounding sports betting in Chile.