ast weekend, in a statement to the local press titled ‘Don’t Play around with the Law’, Chilean Casino Association authorities said the Superintendencia de Casinos de Juego (SCJ) —Chile's gambling regulator— is implementing a renewal process for existing gambling licenses that "violates the law, does not comply with the regulatory framework in force and unilaterally changes the terms that had been already agreed on."
"Over a decade ago, we received a bona fide invitation from the government of Chile to invest in the local casino industry. We accepted that challenge and decided to invest in the sector, and our decision has had a positive impact on the growth rate of a country with a long-lasting tradition of enforcing the law," the trade association pointed out in the statement.
"What truly sealed the deal for us was that the bidding conditions granted a license term of fifteen years, with a true option to extend such term for another 15-year period provided that high impact projects were developed and significant investments were made across the country," the statement said.
"As a response to that invitation, we invested USD 1,400 million in major developments that included not only casino properties but also hotels, restaurants, and tourist infrastructure. These investments represented a unique boost to the economic growth of the different communities where we established our businesses."
"We are very proud of what our industry has accomplished during these years. That said, we do not comprehend why, in a puzzling and damaging move, the SCJ is implementing a license renewal process that violates the law, does not comply with the regulatory framework in force, and unilaterally changes the terms that had been already agreed on," the association said.
"The regulations at the time the licenses were granted and pursuant to which we decided to invest, establish the renewal conditions for the gambling licenses. In fact, the wording of the law is as follows: "The gambling licenses issued prior to the amendments to the former law shall abide by the terms and conditions in force at the time such licenses were granted [...]"
"The wording of the law is clear and leaves no room for misinterpretations. The decision by the SCJ not only violates the regulations in force but also impinges on the operators’ rights. Moreover, it raises doubts over the country's long-lasting tradition of seriousness and credibility towards local and foreign investors”, the industry association highlighted.
"We believe in Chile, and its people and institutions. That is why we are requesting the authorities act responsibly and understand the negative impact that these changes in the rules would have on our industry and the country," the statement concluded.