International edition
June 24, 2021

Sebastian Salazar and Francisco Leiva sit down with Yogonet

“Popular slots generate income for more than 200k people in Chile"

(Chile, exclusive Yogonet.com).- The regulation of the so-called popular slot machines, which operate at various points of sale and stores, is an issue of debate in Chile. Yogonet scored an interview with Sebastian Salazar, VP of the Trade Association of Operators, Manufacturers and Importers of Electronic Entertainment (FIDEN), and Francisco Leiva, former Casino Superintendent (2005 – 2012) and current board member on FIDEN. Through a series of articles, we will analyze the highlights of the proposal that has been brought to the table with aims to regulate the sector.

I

s it possible to promote a law to regulate the activity of popular slots if casinos are against the proposal?

 Sebastian Salazar: FIDEN has the specific goal of socializing the need and convenience of a regulation for the sector of gaming machines that are not located in casinos, created by various laws and specifically by law 19.995. We understand that casinos might be against regulation for the sector because there would be customers that could eventually share both markets.

However, so-called popular slot machines generate income for more than 200,000 people in the country, so I feel there is a better understanding from the political point of view with regards to the fact that it is not possible to deny people that currently operate recreational machines with programmed prizes the opportunity to continue. There are also different rulings from public institutions that have enabled their development.

It is quite another thing to allow the activity to continue in the way it operates today; What I mean is, without  unique regulation at a national level. You must have a national perspective and understand the importance  from the point of view of the public economic order, players' protection and empowerment of the regulator, among others.

Therefore, we believe firmly in the possibility of regulating this industry on a differentiated basis for casinos. This difference would be reflected in smaller-scale casinos, in which machines that are technically different than those used in casinos, and without the possibility to operate table games (poker, roulette, black jack, etc.) which are precisely game found in a casino, unlike gambling halls, which we seek to regulate.

 

The private casino sector opposes the measure. What are their main arguments?

FL: They consider it as a form of unfair competition. They argue that street machines are games-of-chance machines and consider that, according to the Law of Casinos, games-of-chance machines are just allowed to be operated in casinos.

We believe that the social economic situation must be acknowledged. These machines operate throughout the whole country, and many of them operate under the protection of local legislation. As a trade union association, FIDEN is in favor of the interests of this industry and seeks to regulate the market.

I personally think that this sector must be regulated, considering the best practices and international experiences, as well as the current situation in Chile. Casino regulation was delayed here. . The law in 2005 lined up with the best international practices, but, in my view, the country is still lagging behind online gambling and street machines.

The proposal I made for FIDEN is a regulatory proposal. That means that it involves a bill that seek to regulates street machines, both in gambling halls, at points of sale and in stores, in a complementary manner to the operation of casinos. I assume that a customer of that type of machines has a different profile that a casino player.

 

In future articles we will talk about the differences between this type of machine and those which operate in casinos, and we will also analyze  the role of the Casino Superintendent.

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